Gig Review: First Aid Kit At The Wiltern Theatre

Photo by Joyce Lee

Photo by Joyce Lee

There must be something in that Stockholm water.

The generation before us had Simon and Garfunkel, but ours has an answer to that: First Aid Kit. On Thursday night, the Stockholm sisters showed Los Angeles that they are much more than just two talented songwriters. The duo introduced fall vibes to the sweater clad audience, many of whom were dancing and singing along to the songs for most of the night.

Playing in support of “Stay Gold,” their latest record, Klara and Joanna Soderburg kicked off the show with “The Lion’s Roar.” The title of the opener parallels the crowd reception following the jam session that closed the first track of the night.

Following that, the duo played “Stay Gold,” the title track of the album that was inspired by Robert Frost’s legendary poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” With beautifully existential lyrics and sublime melodies, “Stay Gold” evoked themes of nostalgia and saudade that could soundtrack Holden Caufield’s life. Following that, the duo moved into a slower (but still sad) song, “Blue” before telling the audience about their wonderful experiences recording the latest album in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Stockholm siblings picked up the mood a bit with “Waitress Song,” a beautiful track about starting a new life somewhere, uninhibited by things that plague one’s past. The track that followed “Waitress Song” was “Cedar Lane,” a song that sounds like a cozy, fall tune one would hear in a European cafe.

Photo by Joyce Lee

Photo by Joyce Lee

Though the mood for the evening was generally heavy because of the inward looking themes of First Aid Kit’s music, the duo balanced the night with healthy silbing banter. Just as Klara was introducing the next song, Johanna interrupted her to thank a fan for complimenting her new haircut. Klara playfully scolded her before moving into the next tune, “Ghost Town.” The duo performed this tune unplugged, and it was simply incredible. Without any backing musicians or PA systems, the harmonies which catapulted First Aid Kit to stardom were most evident.

Riding on that highlight, Klara and Johanna seamlessly moved into “My Silver Lining,” one of the brilliant singles off “Stay Gold” that was received with loud applause. Adding variety to the set, First Aid Kit played one and a half Jack White songs, including “Love Interruption,” and showed off their heavy rock potential if the siblings ever decided to experiment with heavier sounds (one and a half because they jokingly jammed out to half of a severely heavy track).

The humor of hearing two ripping Jack White covers in the middle of the set continued when Klara introduced “Long Time Ago,” stating “This song is pretty sad. Well, all our songs are pretty sad, but this one has no hope.”

The perfect fall night ended with “Master Pretender” and “EmmyLou,” which are easily some of the duo’s best tracks to date. Before jumping into the last verse, the Stockholm duet led the crowd in a heartwarming sing along to “Emmylou”: “I’ll be your EmmyLou, and I’ll be your June. If you’ll be my Graham, and my Johnny too…”

First Aid Kit are just one of those bands you have to see live to experience every part of the immense talent that each of the sisters possesses. Playing sold out shows and festivals all over the world, the duo can undoubtedly sustain a long and successful career with their 80s vibes and ABBA-esque dresses. All they’ll have to do is follow advice from “My Silver Lining”: “Just got to keep on, keepin’ on.”

Originally posted here.

– J