Live: Austra, The Village Underground, London


The Toronto based synth pop band fronted by the tantalising vocals of classically trained Katie Stelmanis are currently in the midst of their world tour in support of their newly released album ‘Future Politics’. Playing to a sold out energetic crowd, and framed by an expanse of worn down brickwork, glass panelled ceilings and considered beams of colourful lighting in the dramatic Victorian warehouse atrium space that is the Village Underground, Astra were housed by the perfect visual backdrop for their dreamy electronic sound.

Opening the show with a colossal build up of atmospheric electronic pads and rumble, the space quickly filled with thick fulsome synth sounds and emotive vocal asAustra chaperoned the audience through’We Were Alive’ from their recent release.‘Future politics’ quickly followed, the album title track with its breaking, sharp, dance hall percussion and tropical sounding rhythms.

The music was upbeat and buoyant yet the band maintained a subdued and static performance until Beat and Pulse’ chimed through the room. After being initially questionable, the mix became wholly levelled to create a sonic massage of noise. The crowd started to stir as the band become more mobile, Stelmanis especially lunging around the stage with her presence becoming graceful and mesmerising while uplifting the audience by playing into ‘Lose It‘, another appropriately named crowd favourite full of euphoric and exhilaration.Something about the concept of album based on politics and science fiction seems very fitting to the night’s performance and aesthetically the band did not disappoint. Stelmanis wore a long mustard dress with her white blond locks and bright turquoise eye shadow looking somehow synthetic. Keyboardist Ryan Wonsiak wore a theatrical pink ruff top with extremely(!) short shorts adding another conceptual twist.

The show played out with an encore consisted of songs Habitat’, ‘Painful Like’ and ‘Hurt Me Now’, which seemed somewhat odd choices, with fan favourites already covered earlier in the set. Nevertheless the band held it together consistently.

Austra continue their European tour to largely sold out shows through March and April. If you can get a ticket I would highly recommend it.

Watch the video for single “I Love You More Than You Love yourself” below.

Gemma Jewell-Kirby.