First Aid Kit @ Bush Hall, London
First Aid Kit are two young women, sisters, from Stockholm, Sweden. So why, again and again in tonight’s set are the girls are reminded of Johnny Cash and June Carter? Surely the Soderberg sisters, as much as they are known for having lyrical prescience beyond their years, do not have the particular plaintive spirit of American country running through their veins? First Aid Kit themselves provide the answer two thirds of the way through their transfixing set. They cite direct influences from these, along with Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons. The sisters argue briefly over whether a bird that followed them on their recent video shoot was the spirit of Gram Parsons, before unveiling a new song, ‘Emmylou’.
The set contains cadences of a dance energy and mournful introspection. The sisters sing ‘Ghost Town’ without their microphones at the front of the stage and their voices are remarkably clear and confident. They segue from the clarity of that song into a loud, brash version of ‘Our Own Pretty Ways’.
This could be a five star gig for a different band, but First Aid Kit have so much more to offer and there are glimpses of what they will become in their performance this evening. They have a latent potency. When they headbang to current single, and upcoming album title track, ‘The Lion’s Roar’ their vibrancy bursts out from their otherwise stringent country style. This band’s passion for music pushes out from them, infecting the audience, embracing the audience. As songwriters they are growing and gaining momentum, as live performers they are continually developing. They may never achieve their ideal performance because they are continually pushing themselves to get better, which is no bad thing. They are a train gathering speed through folk, through country. The girls are are on that train, and cling on, fascinated, excited to see where First Aid Kit take us next.