Live Review

First Aid Kit, Bush Hall, London

The duo appear more comfortable and confident than ever.

As Bush Hall is steadily scattered with twee, excitement lightly buzzes around the venue and over the groups of cross-legged friends with bottles of wine. Supporting First Aid Kit for the second time is lovely Northern chap, Jo Rose. With just his charming voice and trusty guitar, Jo entertains the audience for a good 45 minutes. Jo Rose is the epitome of American country-folk goodness. So much so, that if it weren’t for his sweet chat politely declining requests of Avril Lavigne, one would naturally assume he was from across the pond. A talented songwriter, the unassuming young man shows real maturity in his work.

The room falls silent as sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg of First Aid Kit and Stokholm, Sweden take to the stage. Fresh from recording their new album ‘The Lion’s Roar’ (produced by Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes) in Nebraska, the girls are as perfect as ever, with an added touch of country.

Opening with ‘New Year’s Eve’, Johanna strums her autoharp and adds the essential First Aid Kit harmonies to her sister’s lead vocals. The addition of their skilled drummer Mattias Bergqvist brings a whole new element to their performance, a fun element that manages to sit effortlessly atop the girls’ delicate voices. Reverting back to tracks from their old album, it’s interesting to see how their performance has grown over the years, the duo appearing more comfortable and confident than ever. In the least creepy way possible, the Soderberg sisters have truly blossomed.

‘Ghost Town’ sees the girls move to the front of the stage, sans mics, and stand there all angelic-looking. Their sweet vocals make the sad song super-beautiful. The unplugged factor feels pretty special too, despite it holding a regular slot in their set. The drums on ‘Heavy Storm’ really make a difference, bringing life to both the track and the audience. The dancing is shortly followed by the brand new ‘Emmylou’, a fabulous homage to their country heroes and heroines.

Ending on ‘The Lions Roar’, their latest single, the girls properly rock out, flailing their long hair around and hitting their instruments like the rock stars they’re clearly hiding inside their little folksy hearts. It works. They came back for an encore with ‘Wolf’, and ‘I Met Up With The King’, before calling good old Jo Rose back to the stage for a lovely cover of Lucinda Williams’ ‘Sharp Cutting Wings’. The girls are magical, and I’m pretty sure they always will be.

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