Tag Archives: First Aid Kit

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Joseph Entertain Music Hall of Williamsburg with New Music

September 18th, 2017

Joseph – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 15, 2017


Sisterly vocals aren’t exactly a new thing. In fact, there’s already the Andrew Sisters, the Secret Sisters, First Aid Kit, the Staves, Haim and plenty more. So what’s another band of sisters to add to the ever-growing group? The sisters Closner—Natalie, Allison and Meegan—formed a trio when then solo Natalie (now Schepman) recruited her twin sisters to join her on the new project that birthed Joseph. Hailing from Portland, Ore., their namesake also comes from the band’s home state and the town where their grandfather lived. The sisters swung into Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night after a recent release of their Stay Awake EP earlier this month.

Against a backdrop featuring the band’s name, the siblings charged the stage with “All,” off the latest release, followed by the soaring harmonies of “Lifted Away.” The EP was played in its entirety, as well as several tracks from their sophomore full-length album, last year’s I’m Alone, No You’re Not. Whether intentional or not, the sisters dressed differently, perhaps to reveal their unique personalities: Allison in an oversized white button down and lined pants; Meegan in all black cropped top and high-waisted pants; and Natalie in a flowing blouse and ripped jeans. This mesh of fashion could be translated in their music from the dance-pop “SOS (Overboard)” to the bittersweet ballad “I Don’t Mind,” sung to aching perfection by Meegan. Natalie shined on protest-worthy “White Flag,” emphatically stamping her feet to the chanting chorus.

Newer material like “50, 60, 80” was welcomed, while two covers especially enraptured the crowd. A rendition of Tears for Fears“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” was in response to our current state of affairs. Natalie explained in an interview to NPR: “In all honesty, it feels like the house is falling down around us, but the lyric ‘holding hands while the walls come tumbling down’ resounds in our minds. We hope that our music can be a force of togetherness when it seems like everything’s trying to divide us.” The sisters added their own lyrics to the ’80s hit to bring positivity to our embattled nation: “Make the most of freedom and pleasure/ All I know is take care of each other/ An open door, a seat at the table, there’s enough to go around.” After opening the show, Bailen returned to the stage for a closing cover of the Rolling Stones“Moonlight Mile,” and the sisters put the night to bed with an encore of “Sweet Dreams.” —Sharlene Chiu

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Dawes and First Aid Kit Play SummerStage on Monday Night

July 24th, 2015

Since forming in Southern California six years ago, the guys in Dawes—Taylor Goldsmith (vocals and guitar), Wylie Gelber (bass), Griffin Goldsmith (drums) and Tay Strathairn (keys)—have won over fans across the land with their high-energy live shows and four albums—including this year’s All Your Favorite Bands (stream it below), which Rolling Stone called “their best LP” and American Songwriter labeled “an inspired record full of space, swagger and warm, analog glow”—filled with tightly written songs, quality harmonies and some good old-fashioned guitar love. But one of the most interesting things about Dawes (above, doing “Things Happen” on Late Show with David Letterman) is the vast array of bands and musicians with whom they’ve been associated. They’ve been compared to the Band, for their lyrics, and Crosby, Stills & Nash, for their harmonies. They’ve crisscrossed the country and teamed up with their musical brothers-in-arms, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit. And in the band’s infancy, they took part in jam sessions at Jonathan Wilson’s house with the likes of Chris Robinson, Benmont Tench and Conor Oberst. But after finding success, Dawes went on to back some of the biggest names in rock royalty, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne and John Fogerty.

Sisters Johanna Söderberg (vocals and synth) and Klara Söderberg (vocals and guitar) launched their harmonies-laden acoustic-folk band, First Aid Kit, eight years ago in Sweden, earning comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom in the process. Now rounded out by Melvin Duffy (pedal-steel guitar) and Scott Simpson (drums), First Aid Kit (below, performing “Stay Gold” on Conan) put out their third studio album, Stay Gold (stream it below), which the New Yorker calls their “most mature and opulent work to date,” in 2014. They also provided backing vocals on Conor Oberst’s sixth solo album, Upside Down Mountain, last year, while Dawes backed Oberst when he performed the new material live. And now Dawes and First Aid Kit team up as a terrific double bill to play SummerStage in Central Park on Monday night.

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First Aid Kit – Webster Hall – June 11, 2014

June 12th, 2014

First Aid Kit - Webster Hall - June 11, 2014

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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First Aid Kit Transports

March 29th, 2012

First Aid Kit – Webster Hall – March 28, 2012

(Photo: Alexis Maindrault)

Every once in a while you hear a voice that transports and transforms, takes your surroundings and makes them something else. Last night there were two such voices onstage at Webster Hall, filling the room like a hot air balloon that lifted the audience out of the East Village to worlds unknown. The voices belonged to Johanna and Klara Söderberg, who, backed by a drummer, make up First Aid Kit. The ladies professed nervousness to playing this big sold-out New York City show, but they showed no sign of unease as they floated the audience across dusty roads, wind-swept plains, campfires and whiskey toasts.

Despite being from Sweden, their music is pure Americana, the folk of the coffee shops of yore and the old school country of cowboy bars. The sisters worked through much of their terrific new release, The Lion’s Roar. In early highlight “Emmylou,” names like Emmylou, Johnny and Graham were mythic metaphors powering the music. For “Ghost Town” they tried a “little experiment,” stepping away from the microphones and amplifiers and singing directly to the crowd, which dropped to absolute silence. Without a single dissenting voice in the audience, the effect was as if time had stopped—one of many goose-bumps moments during the set. Indeed, the crowd’s silence throughout the night was deafening: The respect and awe of raucous applause and hollering contained in absolutely no sound at all.

While you’d expect covers from a band like First Aid Kit to include the typical hallowed country canon, they delivered some pleasant surprises. First a shout-out to fellow countrymen and early supporters the Knife (actually Fever Ray) with “When I Grow Up,” which was ethereal and magical under the sisters’ spell. For the encore, they paid tribute to Patti Smith, calling her the “coolest fucking woman on Earth” before a great version of “Dancing Barefoot.” Still, it was the best-in-genre originals that kept the audience floating above the fray. The set proper ended with the aptly titled “The Lion’s Roar,” and the night concluding, like the album, with a raucous “King of the World,” claps, guitars and two sublime voices. —A. Stein

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First Aid Kit – Mercury Lounge – November 16, 2011

November 17th, 2011


Photos courtesy of Alexis Maindrault | rockinpix.com

(First Aid Kit opens for Lykke Li tonight at The Wellmont Theatre and plays Webster Hall on 3/28.)