Concert Review: First Aid Kit at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN – November 20, 2014

Published by Joe Stadele, 11/23/2014.  Photography courtesy Joe Stadele Photography.

“All of these ghost towns I keep travelling through, All these traffic signs and lonesome bars blind the view…but there are things that line my path I just have to do.”

First Aid Kit ©JoeStadelePhotography (11)As bass came booming through the walls, the Sisters Söderberg had the audience in complete silence as they stood center stage in First Avenue’s Mainroom.  Singing “Ghost Town” unplugged under a spotlight, the crowd slowly joined in singing, “but I’ll come back to you, to you, to you, to you…some day.” It was in this moment First Aid Kit demonstrated you don’t have to be the loudest to deliver the most impact.

The temperature has dropped 60°F since First Aid Kit last played Minneapolis on June 3rd, 2014 (three days prior to the release of their third album, Stay Gold.) and while singer/guitarist Klara Söderberg claimed she wished she could live somewhere warm year-round, she joked that she felt almost hypocritical making such complaints after writing the lyric “I was born to endure this kind of weather.” And while the temperature was much colder in Minneapolis than their native Sweden, there was no disputing many in the sold out audience sympathized.  But together, First Aid Kit delivered a rousing set that would end with winter-themed “Emmylou.”

Beyond an obvious knack for hooks, the Söderberg sisters biggest weapon is their ability to compliment each others vocals harmonies.  From “Shallow & Hollow” to “Ghost Town” to “Master Pretender,” Johanna perfectly wraps her vocals around Klara’s distinctive vocals.  They showed a nice balance between all three albums but the new tracks off Stay Gold now had a familiarity and confidence behind them.  “Waitress Song” felt empowered.  “My Silver Lining” and “Stay Gold” bordered anthemic.  “Ghost Town” was an emotional singalong.  They even played the unreleased “Love Like That Again,” which Klara said she was unsure why it never made the album but remains a favorite.

First Aid Kit ©JoeStadelePhotography (7)While First Avenue has a notorious history with Prince, it was Jack White that had the sister’s filled with delight.  After reminiscing White’s invitation to record at his Nashville studio, Third Man Records, Johanna busted into “Seven Nation Army” and the band followed, playing the first verse of the song.  Klara jokingly admitted they’d play the entire song if she could remember the lyrics.  With that, the sisters moved into a cover of White’s “Love Interruption;” which made entirely their own with tight harmonies and evolved into a slight jam session, in which Klara joined the steel guitarist and drummer on the riser.

Samantha Crain had a strong opening set filled with poignant acoustic storytelling, a fun sense of self-deprecating humor and a gorgeous voice to match.  The real standout of her set was the emotionally touching “For The Miner,” a song she had written for her own musical hero, Jason Molina; a singer-songwriter who passed in March of 2013.  While he never heard the song, the song serves as a tribute to the Molina, whom Crain claims to be her inspiration for not only writing songs, but also going out on stage.

First Aid Kit concluded their 2014 US Tour in Chicago on 11/22, but many dates abroad are still to come.  Click here for more information.

 

Setlist
The Lion’s Road
Stay Gold
Blue
King of the WorldFirst Aid Kit ©JoeStadelePhotography (24)
In The Hearts of Men
Waitress Song
Shattered & Hollow
Ghost Town
My Silver Lining
Seven Nation Army [Tease – The White Stripes Cover]
Love Interruption [Jack White Cover]
Heaven Knows
Wolf
Encore
Love Like That Again [Unreleased]
Master Pretender
Emmylou

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