02 Academy 24/02
Following the release of their fourth album Ruins in January, Swedish band First Aid Kit kicked off the European leg of their tour with a sold-out show at the Glasgow O2 Academy. The venue suited the intimate atmosphere that sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg and The Rebel Hearts created, despite a packed crowd of 2,500 people.
The night started with LA-singer Van William, who coincidently released his album Countries the same day as First Aid Kit’s. Although his record has a country, acoustic twang, his songs were remixed featuring his electric guitar, bass guitarist and drummer to give a more rock feeling. The crowd wasn’t quite as lively and wild as William himself, but he put on a good show that got fans in the mood for the set that was to follow.
“As you know, this is a sad record, but then again so are all of our songs,” Klara said as she chugged back some Irn Bru before congratulating us Scots for the rugby win against England earlier that day, which was met with booming cheers from the audience. However, the energy and power in their singing would suggest anything but sadness. The setlist was songs primarily from Ruins, yet songs from albums The Lion’s Roar and Stay Gold were also revisited. They also performed a dynamic cover of 1970s band and fellow sister duo Heart’s ‘Crazy on You’.
One of the most memorable moments of the night was their enraged performance of ‘You are the Problem Here’, a single they released in March last year for International Women’s Day after hearing too many stories of women being subject to sexual assault while the perpetrators remained unprosecuted. Klara’s following passionate speech, asking everyone in the audience to support women and stand up for them, was met with huge support.
William was invited back onstage for the encore to perform his song ‘Revolution’ with First Aid Kit. To end the night, hits from Stay Gold were performed, with “Master Pretender” and “My Silver Lining” (famously known for featuring in the Renault Kadjar advert), featuring pedal steel instead of its iconic string quartet.
First Aid Kit’s accompanying band has added more grit and another dimension to their music, and their transition from country-folk to country-rock, without losing the personal nature and harmonies that come with their songs, has allowed them to produce both another stand-out album and a night I won’t forget.