First Aid Kit @ Lincoln Theatre - 2/9/2018

Swedish sisters Klara and Johana Söderberg formed First Aid Kit when they were just teenagers, releasing their first EP when Johana was 17 and Klara was 15. Ten years later, the duo is still going strong, having released their fourth album Ruins in January. The record shows them maturing even further in their songwriting, and more deeply exploring the country music influences which have flavored their previous releases. Their tour for the record brought them to the Lincoln Theatre on Friday, where they performed for a sold-out audience.

 First Aid Kit performing at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC on February 9th, 2018 (photo by Matt Condon /  @arcane93 )

First Aid Kit performing at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC on February 9th, 2018 (photo by Matt Condon / @arcane93)

The pair opened the show with the first two songs from the album, “Rebel Heart” and “It’s a Shame.” Though Klara takes the bulk of the solo lead vocals, it’s the harmony singing that they have most become known for, and it was there in abundance on Friday night. The backing band – made up of Steve Moore on keyboards and trombone, Scott Simpson on drums, and Melvin Duffy on guitar and pedal steel – stayed mostly back in the shadows but played an integral role in recreating the full sound of the songs. While the majority of the set was drawn from the new record, they also played a small selection of tracks from their second album, The Lion’s Roar (“King of the World,” “Emmylou,” and the title track), and the title track to their third, Stay Gold.

The strongest response of the night, though, came from a song that hasn’t appeared on any of the group’s albums. The sisters wrote “You Are the Problem Here” in response to a news story about a sexual assault and released it on International Women’s Day (March 8th) last year. While the song predated much of the fire of the #MeToo movement by about six months, it still managed to embody much of its spirit. A several-minute-long standing ovation which followed showed that it had managed to hit a nerve (in the right way) with many in the audience.

Later in the set, they covered a song by another sister duo, “Crazy On You” by Heart. It was the most rocking moment of the night, and as such a bit of divergence from their normal sound, but they pulled it off admirably. For the encore they played one more new song in an acoustic format, “Hem of Her Dress,” with the sisters and their band members circled around a central microphone. They were then joined by opener Van William to play one of his songs that the sisters had performed on, “Revolution.” They closed the night with two more tracks from Stay Gold, “Master Pretender” and “My Silver Lining.”

 

Photos by Matt Condon
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