Sadly this gig will be remembered personally for the absolute tit rifle who was sat behind me who accused the glare from my phone of ‘ruining his experience’. “I’m reviewing”, I said, just about to add “I’ll adjust the brightness” before he pipes up in a po-faced, holier-than-thou attitude and retorts with “Can’t you go review it somewhere else?!” “Yeah mate, I’ll go home and make this shit up. Prick”, was my response. Anyway the band were good.
Date: January 21, 2015
Venue: Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
Stockholm sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg love all things American. Their Swedish accents have all but disappeared, replaced by a transatlantic inflection as their music veers across the Pond by virtue of steel pedals, mandolins and sweet alt.folk/Americana.
It was this Yanky-based talent which saw them named as a Brit nominee for Best International Group recently, largely due to last year’s sublime Stay Gold album.
And when they transfer their sweet melodies and lush harmonies to the live arena, it’s spine-tingling stuff.
The sisters are full of ebullience. Cute as kittens, Klara (lead vocals, guitar, brunette) is dressed in a short, tasseled skirt and sparkly jacket that might actually be rhinestones, while Johanna wafts her gorgeous golden locks gleefully over her keyboard as they display an air of Scandinavian debonair, tinged with Americana of course.
The Lion’s Roar begins proceedings in a crepuscular fashion, as they appear amongst a dark set permeated only by a purple hue. It soon explodes into their warm, golden backdrop and the tone is set.
Stay Gold is rich in hazy melodrama and sumptuous vibes while The Waitress Song pits them in true Americana mode. It’s a dusty, slide guitar-led escapism lament which would sound perfect on Thelma & Louise.
The highlight, though, is a song that is stripped to its bare bones. The girls eschew their mics and sing Ghost Town completely unplugged. Its searching vocal delivery is utterly captivating.
Elsewhere their cover of ‘buddy’ Jack White’s Love Interruption allows them to rock out on a blues-rock pedestal, they cover Simon & Garfunkel’s quintessential American anthem, America, and end with Emmylou, a song which sums them up succinctly – a Stateside-loving homage to acts mentioned in that very song: Emmylou Harris, June Carter, Gram Parsons and Johnny Cash. True American greats.
First Aid Kit aren’t American. But they are great.