Eric Schackne

First Aid Kit @ The Fonda – 10/16/2012

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Within the classic frame of an elegantly disheveled theatre, The Fonda sits on the outskirts of the surging heart of Hollywood.  One simple tour around the venue provides you with enough artful stimuli to charm you as you experience an intelligently lit live performance.  Here, in this majestic setting is where Swedish-powered First Aid Kit will unvail an hour of uncontested and expertly handled tune-age.

I’d say one of the biggest factors of whether or not I get into music is if it feels genuine.  Rap groups are guilty of it as much as cock rock bands.  First Aid Kit suffers not from that, nor any other flaws as far as I’m concerned.  The country folk deep within the souls of two gorgeous sirens(backed by two competent musicians) drive one of the most legit shows I’ve ever seen.

The Fonda has some of the best sound I’ve heard in LA, and their speakers do an immense amount of justice to these girls’ incessant harmony and vocal presence.  Johanna and Klara Soderberg could be soloists in their own right and the gentle squeak they keep available for belting is one of the few qualities these sisters have in common.  Klara’s voice has such a clear tone, which provides an excellent coating to her candid delivery.  At times she would fold her arms, holding herself for comfort, while in other parts of the show she would flail around, letting her wild hair dance in the silhuette of backstage lights.  Johanna, being bound to her keyboard, still found her dynamics.  She reaches these angelic moments standing perfectly still with a slight kink in her neck, and then will eventually head-bang as intensely as a true metal fan, bobbing and gyrating to thumping rhythms.

One highlight from the show occurred a third of the way into the set, when Klara and Johanna told the crowd they want to play a tune for us without microphones.  Teaming up on the edge of the stage, under a burnt gold-lit background, they patiently gifted the enthusiastic crowd to a true acoustic show-moment, sing-a-long and all.  The climax of that energy would be the song that got the warmest reception, “Lion’s Roar.”  Without a sound, they delivered the crowd into their flawless trance, only to be shaken awake by more tribal country beats.

My personal standout favorite performance of the evening would be “New Year’s Eve.”  The looping melody driving the lyrics, “That’s what’s going to save me” draw me in to their personal story.

“Talk about your problems, we’re a ‘first aid kit,’” says Klara as both Soderbergs joined in on the “air” “quotes.”  These sisters have a good sense of humor, and during select moments between larger chunks of songs, the banter was enjoyable and light.  They really put on a classy show.  I could have easily worn a tux and felt appropriately dressed, and may have felt equally comfortable in ripped jeans and a hoodie.  I was wearing an oxford blue shirt buttoned to the top with dark cuffed jeans…in case you were wondering.

Part of their class comes from their style.  Both girls sported flowy and earth-toned dresses.  Klara’s jet-straight brown hair was capped off with a tight bun at the top of her head, leaving the well-quafed straight bangs just missing her big eyes.  Johanna has a little more sex appeal as a blonde, and rocks a Farrah Fawcett hair style herself.

Not uncommon to most shows lately, there was an inevitable and rehearsed encore.  The crowd appropriately cheered for it though, and they didn’t make us wait too long.  FAK’s last gift to attendees at The Fonda was three songs.  The highlight of the encore for me was their delivery of another show-favorite, a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “America.”  There was not a peep in the whole audience for the entirity of that song, and they couldn’t have chosen a better cover.

The final song had opening act, Dylan LeBlanc coming back out to celebrate the end with both of the girls.  Dylan LeBlanc was cool, and you’d be interested in his music if you enjoy Bright Eyes or Damien Rice.  Also performed, was a stellar rendition of “In The Morning.”  These girls sing so many notes together, and the way they move around the melody lines is like two birds flying together; like two bees fighting for some pollen, they drop out and rejoin each other to make each song a piece all its own.

First Aid Kit is on the up and up, and if you want to be able to say you knew them when, you’d better hop on the bandwagon now.  They’re patient and charming and gorgeous and a perfect soundtrack for a whimsical and relaxed evening alike.

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