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First Aid Kit, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

  • Published in Live

Having had the privilege of seeing First Aid Kit not so long ago at Maida Vale studios in London, performing to 100 people, I was keen to see if they could transfer their sound to a larger venue. And the answer is they can and impressively so.

It's been almost five years since First Aid Kit were in Edinburgh when they played Sneaky Pete's in the Cowgate. This time around the crowd was at least 20 times bigger and a far more spectacular venue too.

Arriving on stage to a rather ghostly scene of smoke and blue lights the Soderberg sisters, backing band of local boy Scott Simpson and Melvin Duffy, launched straight into 'Lion's Roar'. From then on in it was a hugely tight performance with plenty of crowd interaction that shows the sisters to be pretty down-to-earth people.

A trip to the newly opened cat cafe in Stockbridge was a highlight and may prompt a career move should Johanna and Klara become tired of making excellent, evocative music.

Continuing to play their most memorable hits 'Stay Gold' and 'Waitress Song' were interrupted by a version of 'Ghost Town' performed without microphones. I had long wondered whether the sisters could fill a hall with just their voices alone and this version proved it. They even managed to get the crowd singing along too, a rather spine chilling moment.

It seems that Jack White is held in high regard and a jokey version of ' Seven Nation Army' was attempted before being cut short for the real cover version, 'Love Interruption'.

Drawing it all to a close was an extended version of 'Wolf Mother' with a big guitar solo by Melvin Duffy and then a pounding drum solo brought huge applause from the crowd.

First Aid Kit delivered a wonderfully powerful gig, full of audio images of wagon trains, small-town diners and lonely souls and I half expected a bar brawl to break out at any moment.

Fingers crossed it won't be another five years before they return. And by their appreciation of Irn-Bru I'm sure it won't be.


First Aid Kit, Maida Vale Studios, London

  • Published in Live


Performing at the legendary BBC Maida Vale studios as part of the Live On 6Music sessions First Aid Kit took to the stage dressed in Abba-esque sparkly gold outfits, obviously in reference to their latest album title.

This theme was continued with opening track 'Stay Gold'. Whilst listening to First Aid Kit it's hard not to be transported to the vast plains of Mid-West America and the set designers added a touch of nostalgia with a couple of sunset orange spotlights.

Next up was perhaps the Soderberg sisters most famous track in 'Lion's Roar' which caught the crowd out with a rocking reprise that gave a hint of what was to come later on in the set.

As it was a live broadcast on 6Music there was then the inevitable interview section, which always seems like a pain for both interviewer and artist but the sisters handled the slightly awkward questions from the crowd - "When do you sleep?" - with reasonable skill. One interesting insight did come out though, that Klara's favourite animal is the sloth and it was suggested they took a trip to London Zoo to check out their collection.

Back to the music and we got 'Emmylou' and then a cover of Jack White's 'Love Interruption'. If the band decide to have a change of direction for the next album then this last example showed that they can easily rock-out with the best of them.

Much is made of the Maida Vale studios but the sound was crystal clear with every pounding drum beat and autoharp twang picked out perfectly. Sadly it was only a small gig as a full-length concert with clarity that puts most venues to shame would have been a real pleasure. Anyhow, it will live long in this reviewer's mind.

View the show on the BBC's iPlayer here.

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