The harmonic sisters of Sweden’s First Aid Kit started their early 2018 American tour in impressive fashion at the ornate Fox Theater in Oakland, California, on January 24. In front of a plethora of varying video backdrops, the show was filled with lush layers of dreampop mixed with elements of alt-country/folk/rock.
Touring in support of their brand-new release, “Ruins,” their fourth full-length project, the band proved that it was way more multidimensional than the casual listener might think judging from a couple of hits such as “My Silver Lining” and the famous video of them singing “Emmylou” with country-music queen Emmylou Harris in the audience. Rightfully so, the women and their supporting players received a heartfelt, unified – and sometimes giddy – reaction to each song during their 90-minute performance. Unbeknownst to most, they also performed a four-song midday set at midday for a lucky few at KFOG-FM’s Levi’s Lounge in San Francisco.
The Stockholm-area born and raised duo, and who now have logged more than 10 years in the business, is led by Klara Söderberg, 25, who provided lead vocals and acoustic guitar on most songs, and Johanna Söderberg, who held down her duties on the bass in awesome fashion, sang supporting vocals to most songs, and provided lead vocals on a few other numbers.
The band performed five of the ten tracks from “Ruins,” and tore the roof off with a screaming, rocked-out version of Heart’s “Crazy on You.” The sisters also spoke in support of the “Me Too” movement, before launching into “You Are the Problem Here,” with its biting lyrics,
“I am so sick and tired of this world;
All these women with their dreams shattered;
From some man's sweaty, desperate touch;
God damn it, I've had enough.
When did you come to think refusal was sexy?
Can't you see the tears in her eyes?
How did you ever think you had the right to
Put your entitled hands up her thighs?”
The band’s standout supporting musicians provided awesome deep and wide accompaniments, enhancing the band’s overall dynamics and vitality. Drummer Scott Simpson was spot on, while Steve Moore played the unusual combo of trombone and keyboards, and Melvin Duffy alternated between traditional lead guitar and pedal steel.
Up and coming singer-songwriter/guitarist Van William opened the show with a pleasing set of tunes and then joined First Aid Kit on part of their encore. One such song was William’s “Revolution,” a song in which First Aid Kit appear in the song’s music video.
Setlist: Postcard, Stay Gold, The Lion's Roar, You Are the Problem Here, To Live a Life, Ruins, Wolf, Crazy on You, Fireworks, Emmylou, Nothing Has to Be True. Encore: Hem of Her Dress, Revolution, Master Pretender, My Silver Lining