They say that some things only get better with time, and for the sake of argument let’s just assume that it’s true. The thing about time though is that…it’s takes TIME. So how does one explain the rapid ascent, now complete domination of First Aid Kit? Not four years ago, the sisterly duo of Johanna and Klara Söderberg were sending adorable love letters to America’s Fleet foxes via YouTube. Judging by their gleefully “over the top” performance this past Tuesday it’s hard to believe that these days they couldn’t command a crowd 100 times that of the sold out Sixth and I Synagogue.
That they are simply better now is no surprise. Over the course of two albums, and EP and a few years of touring, the two have honed their craft to perfection. Earlier this year they delivered a stellar show here in DC at the Black Cat, and if there was anything to nitpick, anything at all, it seemed that while they had the singing down in spades, the performance side of things slightly - but only slightly - short.
Jump forward to this week and a performance replete with sing-a-longs, head banging and at times, stadium worthy lighting effects that left everyone in the room with a grin on their face that said “Where the hell did these kids even come from?” Through older songs like “In The Morning,” “Hard Believer” and a foot stomping take on The Big Black And The Blue’s “Sailor Song,” the sisters, along with drummer Mattias Bergqvist, gave the audience a sense of just how the group got to where they are today, but it was the material off of their latest release, The Lion’s Roar that sent the evening soaring.
Did we mention that First Aid Kit were freaking FANTASTISK?!Tracks like “New Years Eve” or “To A Poet” with its melancholic but ultimately uplifting refrain of “Oh, there’s nothing more to it / I just get through it” provided chill bump inducing moments of peace, while title track “The Lion’s Roar” and “King of The World” provided a positively head banging (moreso from First Aid Kit than the actual audience) end to both the set and the encore respectively.
As they returned to the stage for that encore – to a standing ovation no less – the sisters explained how they had been picked to perform at the Polar Music Prize Ceremonies for Paul Simon (“a very sweet man actually”) and how they idolized his work and what he accomplished along with his partner Garfunkel. It was what they strove for in everything, musically speaking, that they do. Then they launched into a version of “America” that easily surpassed those whose work they were honoring. It was moment that if, on so many levels, practically move you to tears, then you simply weren’t paying attention - that and you have a heart of sten.
And that’s the whole point. People are moved by First Aid Kit’s music because they are genuinely moved by their music, and one would wager music in general. There’s a joy to all of this music, and it could be argued that the best music is made when that joy manifests itself as real. And only five years into their career, that’s exactly what First Aid Kit is doing which means besides looking forward to a very bright future for the duo, there’s really only thing left to do:
Throw some devil horns and say sparka röv ladies! Sparka röv!