By Daniela Garcia
Web Content Contributor
*KTSW consists of and respects varying opinions within its staff. Opinion articles do not reflect the opinion of KTSW as a whole.
July 16, 2015, was an incredible night on which I was fortunate enough to experience First Aid Kit live in concert at Austin’s Stubb’s BBQ. The musical group comprises of Swedish sisters, Johanna Söderberg on keyboard/backing vocals and Klara Söderberg on guitar/vocals and occasionally a drummer and second guitar/mandolin for loud performances such as last night’s. With influences such as Gram Parsons, The Louvin Brothers, Joanna Newsom, Anders F. Rönnblom, Elliot Smith, and Gary Numan, First Aid Kit delivers a true sense of folk in their music.
Johanna first recorded their first song “Our Own Pretty Ways” (one of my favorite songs played at last night’s show) on her laptop when she was 17 and her sister Klara was 15. In 2008 the sisters covered a famous song by Fleet Foxes titled “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” which resulted in more popularity almost immediately.
Their father was also musically involved in a Swedish rock pop band Lolita Pop while their mother taught cinematography. Klara received her first guitar at age 12 after being introduced to several country-folk artists that inspired her and her sister to begin singing covers of those songs together, followed by actually writing their own tunes. They continued making music and eventually fell into the hands of Rabid Records which allowed them to have total creative control of their music and album art. Since then, they have had an accomplished career that only seems to be growing. Most recently the duo released their Stay Gold album titled after their hit track “Stay Gold” which includes lyrics taken from the actual poem by Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”. It’s clear the sisters have caught up on all-things American with their country-folk sound and lyrics like:
I remember sleepless nights/I remember Chicago/I remember the music from the downstairs bar/Girls, they just want to have fun/And the rest of us hardly know who we are…
All the streets of New York City/Sure look pretty from way up here/And I was headed home, just felt more alone/The further I’d go…
The sisterly duo then surprised the audience with their own rendition of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”.
“The next song we’re about to play was actually the first song we wrote together and the first one we recorded. I actually recorded Klara with my laptop and we later uploaded that to Myspace,” Johanna laughs during the show.
“This is actually the first city we went to when we first visited America five years ago for SXSW and it was amazing,” Johanna explains as they set up in between songs.
“I asked myself, ‘Is this what all of America is like?’ Because it’s pretty bad***!” Klara chimes in before picking up on their next song.
First Aid Kit fell nothing short of amazing with crisp vocals from the two over Klara’s fingerpicking style on guitar and Johanna’s cool keyboard technique, not to mention their amazing musicians on drums and backing guitar. It was a spectacular show with genuine folky harmonies by the sisters and perfect sync with all instruments used on stage. They ended the show with a bow as fellow Austinites and First Aid Kit fans excitedly cheered for their performance.
First Aid Kit delivered an awesome show and I’m thankful they chose Austin as their 2015 American Tour kick-off, visiting us all the way from Sweden.
Stay Gold, First Aid Kit, Stay Gold.