FIRST AID KIT KICK OFF EUROPEAN TOUR WITH SOLD OUT SHOW AT GLASGOW'S O2 ACADEMY
Klara and Johanna Sӧderberg are a powerful pair; as songwriters they have crafted some of the finest radio-friendly folk pop songs of the last decade, and as vocalists the force of their pitch-perfect familial harmonies is beyond comparison. Having sold out most of their 'Ruins' UK tour dates months in advance, the anticipation of this first show couldn't have been higher.
Having opened up for First Aid Kit on their North American dates, LA's wonderful Van William brought his warm up act to Europe playing a brief but jubilant set of delightfully honest, reflective, upbeat pop songs. The beautiful heart-on-sleeve lyricism of 'Cosmic Sign' and 'Never Had Enough Of You' are stand out moments for their simplicity and directness as much as for their catchy melodies and pleasant harmonies. It's a tidy sound; positive energy, without sounding saccharine. He's definitely one to watch.
Emerging onto a darkened stage lit only by an ominous red heartbeat projection, the band are welcomed with an intensity rarely felt in modern audiences. Warming into the environment with new songs 'Rebel Heart' and 'It's A Shame', the sisters endear themselves to their adoring Scottish fans by talking up their love of Irn Bru and congratulating the nation on its Calcutta Cup win mere hours before the show. Drawing one of the loudest receptions of the night from this, the band launches into a rousing 'King Of The World'.
It's a richly sensuous performance by the Swedes; visuals imbued with wanderlust, yearning, sentimentality and cosmic solitude accompany a set that pulls heavily on the heartstrings. Tender acoustic moments give way to fierce rock manoeuvres. At one point Johanna is down on bended knee thumping away at her bass, in another instant both Sӧderbergs are flanking the drum kit and thrashing tambourines.
Emotions swing from bitterness and anger as Klara addresses the recent global media attention shift to issues around sexual harassment, victim blaming and rape culture. The explosive delivery of 'You Are The Problem Here' may have a few people shifting uncomfortably in their seats but that's entirely the point. Johanna brings the focus back to the personal but no less universal struggles of "loneliness and desperation and how to live a life".
Tinted by overwhelming sadness at times, there is also great euphoria and release among these songs with the glorious crowd singalong on 'Emmylou' epitomising the joy that the song itself celebrates; a love of singing in harmony and a sometimes latent fondness for country music. The set closes, as the latest album does, with the flawless 'Nothing Has To Be True' as white noise washes over a spellbound crowd.
Within a few short minutes rapturous applause brings the sisters back on stage for a four-song encore which includes a collaboration with their tour support and "best friend" Van William on his song 'Revolution'. After an hour and forty minutes pouring their hearts out before two and half thousand people 'My Silver Lining' ends the show. First Aid Kit finally take their leave acknowledging a standing ovation in the balcony, blowing kisses, smiling, waving and bowing gracefully as they go.
First Aid Kit next play in Scotland at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Bandstand on August 1st and, unsurprisingly, that show is already sold out.
FIRST AID KIT SETLIST: O2 ACADEMY, GLASGOW - 24th February 2018
- Rebel Heart
- It's A Shame
- King of the World
- Stay Gold
- The Lion's Roar
- You Are the Problem Here
- To Live a Life
- Crazy on You (Heart cover)
- Nothing Has to Be True
- Hem of Her Dress
- Revolution (Van William cover, with Van William)
- Master Pretender
- My Silver Lining