First Aid Kit Vogue Theatre, Vancouver BC, January 27
Published Jan 29, 2018Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg of First Aid Kit possess an effortless talent that is at once enrapturing, haunting and charming. It was hard to take your eyes off them Saturday night at their soldout Vogue concert in Vancouver. Even though their new album, Ruins, dropped only a week ago, fans belted out the lyrics to openers "Rebel Heart" and "It's a Shame" as if they'd had the album on heavy rotation.
Klara began the evening in a heart-print pantsuit, and Johanna in a glittery red mini-skirt and '70s-inspired billowy white blouse. Not only are the sisters phenomenal harmonizers and the owners of some pretty mind-blowing voices, but they can sure dress themselves. The onstage screen showed images of wolves, murky forests, desert highways and old music video footage of the young musicians, projecting a witchy Thelma and Louise vibe.
First Aid Kit's "boys" added stellar instrumentals that paired perfectly with Klara's now-famous voice in particular. Keyboardist-trombonist Steve Moore was a star last night, with his infectious smile, long beard and hair earning chants of "Steve! Steve! Steve!" from the audience. Despite the notorious moodiness of their sad songs, Klara and Johanna were playful and giddy with both their band and the audience. It would have been difficult not to be, as the Vogue was particularly adoring, happily spewing the lyrics to "The Lion's Roar" as the sisters jumped around the stage with their guitars.
"To Live a Life" and "Emmylou" reminded the audience that the Stockholm sisters write country songs worthy of Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons. Even after four albums and increasing success, the Söderbergs haven't left their grass, witchy roots. And lord knows they never should. Their twang-paired poetry gives Klara's voice — a voice unlike any voice in the music business right now — deeper meaning.
First Aid Kit had a #MeToo moment with Ruin's "You Are the Problem Here" — a decidedly angrier song than their usual repertoire that calls out rape culture. The only part of the evening that was a slight miss was the intro to a cover of Vancouver sister band Heart's epic "Crazy on You." Those familiar with Nancy Wilson's acoustic guitar intro would notice some major hiccups and rushes on the part of Klara, who tried to replicate the legendary piece of music. But that was where the disappointment ended. The rest of the song was spot-on, hard rocking gold, and the sisters channelled Nancy and Ann perfectly. One can especially see the similarities between Ann Wilson and Klara, their voices pure forces to be reckoned with.
The encore was not encouraged, but rather demanded with near-desperate stomping. After a rousing acoustic sing-along of "Hem of Her Dress," the girls invited opener Van William back on stage for a harmonious rendition of his own "Revolution." The sisters brought it all home with Stay Gold's "My Silver Lining," proving that First Aid Kit are incapable of writing a bad song or losing any fan love.