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Opera North - The Little Greats

LIVE: Aja

17 January 14 words: Alyss Bowen
Along with Blessing Magore, Matt Hensaw and Esther Van Leuven at Pepper Rocks
Aja Pepper Rocks

Aja live at Pepper Rocks - Photo by Steve Fisher

Pepper Rock’s ‘Unplugged Send-off Party’ unquestionably went down a storm with its attendee’s. To say the place was packed would be an understatement; the room was full to the brim with supporters, friends and club-goers. The closeness of the crowd and the dimly candle lit room gave a very personal, intimate ambience; the perfect set-up for what felt like a very inclusive party.

Blessing Magore kicked off an exciting night of live music, giving the audience a taste of combined musical styles with guitars and bongos, followed by Matt Henshaw who soothed us into a tranquil state. An evident firm favourite with the audience was Esther Van Leuven, who wouldn’t start until she had the audience’s complete attention. Her husky, whimsical voice was the perfect contrasting build up to what happened next.

In-between each set we got a glimpse of Aja and her DJing skills – as she set up her stage area it felt like we were waiting for a theatrical performance. A handmade banner and string of colourful fairy lights were placed around her performing space. Her outfit reflected her character, wild and carefree. Her personalised stage made it HER night and HER vision.

She kicked off her set by telling the audience to stand up; “we need some energy in here” she slammed from the microphone. The familiar slow starting beat of Raw begins, opening her set on a quieter note.

She knows what she’s doing and exactly how to get a crowd excited, building up the suspense of her music, waiting to erupt and let all loose. The production of her music is impressive; her creative flare for the construction of her tracks is undeniably obvious. It’s clear her passion lies in producing her own, individual sound from her unpredictable performance.

Kill Killer rattles out of the speakers, a clear favourite with much of the crowd who instantly start to actively dance and pick up. Her enthusiasm didn’t go unnoticed and geared the audience up with one person banging along loudly on the table. The private party feel to Pepper Rocks infused with her electronic eerie voice works perfectly, there’s no denying her fans adore her.

Aja’s stage presence is unblemished, her interaction with her audience lifts the ambience instantly, toying and playing with them as she sings into their eyes. At one point she crawled into the crowd, lying on the floor as she spun her lyrics, she is there to give an energetic, dynamic performance and that’s exactly what she does best.

Aja, Blessing Magore, Matt Henshaw and Esther Van Leuven played at Pepper Rocks on Tuesday 14 January 2014.

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