If there’s one band I’d battle through rain, sleet and high winds to see live, it’s First Aid Kit. Unfortunately, those were exactly the weather conditions I faced this past Wednesday – thankfully the show was more than worth the treacherous journey! Arriving on stage promptly at 9pm, the duo walked on in pitch blackness. Opening track The Lion’s Roar, taken from the 2012 album of the same name, was moody and delivered with assurance. If it was the release of third album Stay Gold that had persuaded audience members to come along to the gig, there wasn’t long to wait – the title track from 2014’s hit album was up next.
The band stuck mostly with tracks from their second and third albums, and seemed relaxed and at ease on stage. It’s quite remarkable, when you consider that the two sisters are so young, and yet have been making beautiful, insightful music for a good few years. This Old Routine, a song about a couple who have drifted apart, was performed with the appropriate emotion and proves the Söderberg sisters to be lyricists mature beyond their young years.
The standout moment of the whole gig came about mid-way through the hour-and-a-bit set. Dismissing the drummer and additional guitarist, foregoing their microphones and hushing the audience the pair embarked on an absolutely stunning rendition of Ghost Town. The effect was mesmerising. The odd combination of sitting in the Forum, a 1930s art deco building and former cinema, listening to two Swedish sisters perform Joni Mitchell-esque folk numbers, it seemed as if all reality was suspended and only the music and your ears existed in that moment. Similarly, a cover of Jack White’s Love Interruption was a delight, and saw the band go completely the other way and reveal a Rockier edge, accompanied by a light show approaching Muse or Foo Fighters proportions.
The performance of closing track Wolf saw the duo lend some of the limelight to their deserving support musicians, and the band exited the stage in the dramatic fashion by which they entered – a flourish of drumbeats, twinkling of stage lights and then darkness. Rapturous applause and chanting saw First Aid Kit return for an encore. The audience was treated to a rather unexpected, but certainly enjoyable, cover of the Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset. The grand finale belonged to hit single Emmylou, and had everyone singing along. If you get the chance to see First Aid Kit live, then take it. They are great songwriters, fantastic performers and, as Wednesday’s gig proved, true professionals.