First Aid Kit
Elegance, Grace and Rock n’ Roll
Article By: Allison Richards/ Photos By: Kenneth Coles
Swedish folk duo, First Aid Kit, took the stage at Portland’s State Theater, the first stop on their North American tour, to a packed crowd was nothing short of a spectacularly sparkling performance (literally). Klara appeared on stage wearing a glittery mini dress that caught every disco ball and light on their performance stage which was paired with a short pair of white booties. Johanna rocked a magnificent light blue, retro 60s dress with bell sleeves and black and white cowboys boots. Their outfits, along with their head banging, foot stomping, and constant movement around stage all combined to create a truly engaging stage presence that was equal parts beautiful and musically complex.
Upon watching them perform together, it is evident that this dynamic duo of sisters has been playing together long before they ever started touring around the world. Their harmonies and mixing are so deeply embedded in their songwriting and performance, they feel almost biological. Their voices compliment one another in such a authentic way, it is easy to forget the complexity of each of their individual voices. In addition, their musicality, both respectively with different instruments and abilities, feels so natural, it truly sounds and feels effortless.
The sisters played many new songs off of their latest album which was released in early 2018. Announcing they would release an additional EP on September 14, the audience was treated to several early tracks off of next week’s release. Audience favorites included the old classics “Lion’s Roar,” “Stay Gold,” “King of the World” and of course, “Emmylou” with special audience chorus participation. The sisters tour with three other musicians who add percussion, trombone, keyboards, mandolin, electric guitar, and pedal steel guitar to their vocals. The combination of all five provided the audience with an array of musical genres including upbeat rock and country, instrumental folk, and even a slow ballad about unrequited love. It is evident through their diverse set that their now eleven year musical career has been shaped by decades of powerful musical, artistic, and stylistic influences.
Portland was the first stop in their month-long North American tour and judging by the sisters’ evident passion playing together while on stage, audience engagement and enthusiasm for the pair, and the red lobster perched on the edge of their keyboard (purchased as a souvenir from a local Portland gift shop), First Aid Kit will certainly be back in Portland again with more corny Maine jokes, more sparkling mini dresses, and of course more sisterly stage presence and music for us all to enjoy.