First Aid Kit Heals Boston’s Winter Blues With Sold Out Show
February 11, 2018 | By Sophie Cannon
Photos by Sophie Cannon
The hail and rain pelting the streets of Boston seemed like a distant memory during the invitingly warm show First Aid Kit put on for a sold-out House of Blues on Feb. 7. The Swedish sister-duo, comprised of Klara and Johanna Söderber, recently debuted their fourth studio album, “Ruins.” They have been on the road since the beginning of this year, with plans to hop back to their home continent for a European tour on the 24th and come back to the US for a quick Coachella visit in April.
The Söderber’s left little time for chit-chat as they effortlessly transitioned from one song to another, usually with a girl-power-filled instrumental break rounding out most of their songs.
First Aid Kit is loosely defined as a folk group, but the band has been known to incorporate country twang into many of their songs, as noted by Johanna Söderberg before launching into “Postcard” off of the new album. “It’s our most country-inspired song yet,” she said.
Another trademark of the group is their whimsical vibe, flowy dresses, trippy kaleidoscope backgrounds and the choice to feature a trombone and a mandolin in a few of their songs, most notably “Stay Gold.”
While the majority of the night was a sweet-versed, audience-swaying event, there was a section devoted to more serious (and timely) matters. After the song “You are the Problem Here,” Klara Söderber spoke about the meaning behind the sharper lyrics.
“We wrote it out of anger and fear and being really f*cking sick of being afraid,” she said. “We want to ask the perpetrators of these crime what they were thinking, insteading of asking the victim, ‘What were you wearing?’ and ‘Were you drinking?’ We need to keep talking about this. Ladies, we have your backs, and we’re with you.”
After a roar of applause and affirmation from the audience, the night maintained its somber mood, losing some of the energy it had near the beginning. Following “You are the Problem Here” came three more slow songs, including the namesake of the album and tour, “Ruins,” which came as a slight disappointment as it did not feature as much of the duo’s fresh-faced and unique personality as one would have hoped.
The highlight of the night were all things that featured others. After the slower-paced section, the band tried to boost energy with a cover of another sister-duo, playing Heart’s “Crazy On You.” Following that was a classic of theirs, “Emmylou,” that honors music two-somes Emmylou Harris and Gram Parson and Johnny Cash and June Carter.
During the encore, the sisters brought the opener, Van William, back onto the stage, and performed his song, “Revolution,” in which First Aid Kit is featured. Van William, a contagiously energetic performer, was the breath of fresh air that the sisters needed to round out the night. In a plain gray tee and jeans, the blond boy-next-door matched the sisters in their short and sweet sentiments and long but ultimately necessary guitar solos.
Debuting his first ever album in January, William played nearly his entire discography from both “Countries” and his 2017 EP “The Revolution.”