Music review: Snoh Aalegra, RISING Festival, The Forum

Snoh Aalegra brought all the feels to the Forum Melbourne for RISING.
A woman in a silver top and trousers is standing in front of a drummer and his drum kit.

Snoh Aalegra showed what it means to command a stage when she appeared as part of Melbourne’s RISING Festival during her 2024 Asia/Australia tour.

She opened with ‘Whoa’ from her 2019 album Ugh, Those Feels Again – the crowd’s energy was immediate and didn’t falter throughout the 70-minute set. Aalegra kept active, moving freely across the stage to keep the packed theatre engaged and creating seamless synergy with the audience. 

Aalegra masterfully guided the crowd through an emotional rollercoaster in her set, rolling through love and hope to loss and solitude. Despite her raw vulnerability, she took total command of the stage and worked seamlessly with the lighting and effects – even timing flicks of her wrist with lighting changes – without ever seeming over-rehearsed or rigid.

‘Nothing to Me’ and ‘Situationship’ were catchy standouts, with the audience effortlessly chanting Aalegra’s lyrics back to her. Her elegant yet woozy vocal work shone in ‘Do 4 Love’ and ‘Toronto’, complemented by a smoky haze and strobing red lights. 

Fifteen orbs suspended from above lit the space with different lighting patterns throughout the set. Whether a reference to RISING’s moon iconography or the full journey Aalegra’s set took us on, the design was hypnotic and flawlessly executed, with lighting changes perfectly timed with the beat and mood shifts.

Curiously, Aalegra didn’t feature many tracks from her latest album Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies, yet the set still felt well rounded and didn’t disappoint.

Read: Dance Review: Nocturnal, Subiaco Arts Centre

Aalegra displayed her knack for effective crowd interactions with genuine displays of vulnerability and humility. Towards the end of the set, the Swedish-born singer shared that, given her Iranian heritage and current home base in Los Angeles, she only truly feels at home on the stage, and reflected on the importance of following her dreams to get there. Not to get too sentimental, she threw in a few musings on the challenges of modern dating and continued to get the audience on side.

She wrapped with ‘I Want You Around’ amid desperate pleas for an encore; one can only hope Aalegra will return to Australia for future tours.

Snoh Aalegra
The Forum, Melbourne
5-6 June 2024 as part of RISING Festival

Savannah Indigo is a researcher and copywriter, trained in publishing, dance, literature and law. Passionate about gender issues and promoting equity through tech design, she has researched Indigenous Data Sovereignty for the Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector and is developing a paper about harassment in the Metaverse. She has written for Brow Books, Books+Publishing magazine, The Journal of Supernatural Literature (Deakin University) and the Science and Technology Law Association, and is a 2022 Hot Desk Fellow at The Wheeler Centre.