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First Aid Kit: Folk Heals On A Chilly Night | December 2011

written by Olaya Barr
photography by Annabelle Maroney

First Aid Kit

Taking the New Jersey Transit train out of Manhattan towards Montclair, New Jersey, I wonder whether the Swedish sisters that make up folk band First Aid Kit would feel at home in this winter chill. Their harmonies are conducive to forest bonfires, mittens, and wilderness; but would the brown and orange leaves of woodsy suburbia remind the duo of their native Stockholm suburbs? Probably not. But indeed the show at the Wellmont Theatre proved that the East Coast hip can understand and appreciate the Swedish and romantic hip. We can all bond over dreamy songwriting.

The ambiance at the Wellmont is buzzing and relaxed: well-dressed young couples dominate with their vintage eyeglasses, thick scarves, copious glasses of red wine, and groups of friends in their 20s and 30s as well as a couple of older and cheerful academic types.

The performing sisters are surprisingly young. Klara, merely 18, can belt out chilling high notes with superb control, and Johanna, 21, dreamily plays the autoharp and keyboard as if she's been doing live shows for years. In both style and physique, the two create a charming ying and yang.

Klara interacts with the audience with down to earth chitchat; her pale blond sister, Johanna meanders dreamily, with electronic, funky vibrations on keyboard. Klara exudes a strong guitar-girl vibe; she's serious yet accessible, dressed all in black, and her straight-across bangs seemed to connote "I take this seriously".

First Aid Kit

Johanna envelops herself in the music, a real stoned hippie-child sense of concentration, a nymph-like fairy absorbed, in tune, body waiving back and forth. The spell is her long velvet dress and astonishingly long blond hair flowing in unison. Like an Addams family distant relative; a whimsical combination of Morticia and Cousin Itt, Johanna behaves in a much airier, romance eminence than her grounded sister.

The duo peppers in shout-outs to New Jersey and New York between playing hits from The Big Black and the Blue and new songs from their album coming out in late January, The Lion's Roar. The crowd, peaceful beneath the floral detailed dome of the old theatre, engages in no jumping or raucous yelling of lyrics. There is nothing but content appreciation.

The last tune introduces their new single; a triumphant beat, the performance of "Lion's Roar" thumps with the drummer's passionate bounce. During the chorus the pair thrash around, waving their own luscious manes, locks of hair cutting through the air with each pounding chord and the crowd’s eyes open: the porcelain and delicate Nordic facade of First Aid Kit contains a fiery and passionate pulse within.


0 # Maria Donapetry 2011-12-07 11:04
After reading the review, I definitely wish I were there.
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