First Aid Kit
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Just before First Aid Kit take to the stage, my sister and I are having a 'wazz'. When I exit the Ladies, I see Johanna and Klara wrestling with some keys, unable to get into their own dressing room. They are giggling and muttering to each other in Swedish and I am making smartarse (but not very original) Spinal Tap asides in my head, when my sister exits with an ‘Oooh, excuse me,’ and shuffles past. DO NOT TALK TO THE ARTIST, DO NOT TOUCH THE ARTIST is what I long to say, but instead it is my sister who speaks. ‘They wish it was the Seventies, don’t they?’ she says when we are on the stairs, having noticed the floor-length peasant skirt and blouse Johanna is looking particularly lovely in. ‘But they weren’t even born then!’
First Aid Kit’s winsome, born-under-a-tree youthiness is, of course, all part of their appeal. And it’s why, when Klara opens wide and delivers the first lines of ‘Sailor Song’ with those delirious chops of hers, that the Arts Centre falls to a hush. ‘Hard Believer’ comes next, and is raced through with little thought for those of us in the audience who had planned to have a good old cry when they played it. Though I can cry on demand, I can’t Speed Cry, so instead I focus on its essential melancholy beauty - and remember what a brilliant sticking plaster of a song it is. Especially if you are very, very tired and are trying to wake yourself up with one or two local ales.
After that, First Aid Kit want to talk to us. They talk a lot tonight, the common theme being Alan Rickman - who, it appears, Klara has a bit of a pash on. At one point there are funny little shout-outs; one for the man himself (polite giggles), another for Fleet Foxes (beardy approval), Lady Gaga (I cannot help myself, I do a whoop) and naturally, for First Aid Kit themselves. ‘We’re First Aid Kit and we’re here to play some music!’ shouts Klara, but she also falters a bit, because then she adds ‘But if you want, we can do something else.’ This is when the requisite comedian in the audience yells ‘Hamlet! Do Hamlet!’ and we learn how Klara once played the ghost. And then they play ‘Tangerine,’ quickly.
Joined on stage by a drummer, ‘You’re Not Coming Home Tonight’ sounds pluckier than it might on record, and is dedicated to ‘All the housewives in the audience.’ It is dispatched – like most songs tonight - everso fast. Afterwards, both sisters put their hands over their faces – a brief glimpse that for all the stage banter (‘We went to a wood near our house and recorded a Fleet Foxes song! We sat on a rock and played it! And the rest is HISTORY!’), they are slightly embarrassed by all the attention. This, for me, is mirrored by the young girl standing in front of me, who doesn’t seem to know where to put herself when explicitly mournful songs are played. ‘AIIIEEE, adult emotion!’ is what her brain is saying, and she’s all fumbly; making silly faces to her friends.
‘I Met Up With A King’ and ‘Winter Is All Over You’ both sound sublime - but its when FAK abandon their mics altogether that things get most impressive. ‘Ghost Town’ has them leave their positions and stand together while they change the lyrics from ‘Paris & New York’ to ‘Paris and Norwich’ (gamely, Norwich laughs; it has had to get used to laughing at itself). Then - as is folk Gig Law these days – Johanna and Klara come down to us, to perform ‘Waltz For Richard.’ And with the audience forming a neat circle, up very close to their disarming charm, I start to feel a little embarrassed myself. All prickly, like.
Wendy is on Twitter, here
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