First Aid Kit Have Love in the Air at the Beacon Theatre on TuesdayFebruary 14th, 2018
First Aid Kit – Beacon Theatre – February 13, 2018
It was the night before Valentine’s Day and love was certainly in the air inside the Beacon Theatre for First Aid Kit’s sold-out show. The sister duo of Klara and Johanna Söderberg took the stage to a heartbeat rhythm from their band and kicked off the set with “Rebel Heart,” the opening track off their just-released album, Ruins. On cue, the stage backdrop was immediately illuminated with floating animated hearts to match the icon on the bass drum as the sisters’ voices paired with pedal steel to fill the historic venue. Throughout the show the love came in all varieties, but first and foremost it was those two voices. Separate, they were quite lovely, but for much of the show, they came together, as if their own thinking entities, deeply enamored with each other, creating an explosive chemistry on new songs like the country-ish instant-classic “Postcard,” pastel imagery and blue sky lights enhancing the gorgeous soundscape, and “Ruins,” accompanied by kaleidoscopic animations to bring out the singing’s hallucinogenic effects.
The Söderbergs’ vocals also brought out love from the band. Pedal steel, keys and drums, with occasional bouts of trombone and electric guitar, all helped carry those harmonies into every corner of the room. But most of all, the full house was clearly, deeply enamored with the music being made. Whether spontaneously jumping out of their seats to move their bodies or impromptu mid-show standing ovations were the norm throughout the show. Random shouts in response to banter or requesting songs were done out of pure, can’t-help-myself affection, and when the sisters asked for clapping or, as on the older “Emmylou,” help singing along, there was not a hesitant man, woman or child in the audience.
Ironically, the songs were typically not of the loving variety, and a highlight stretch in the middle began with “Stay Gold,” moved through a gorgeous ambient segue into a snarling “Lion’s Roar” and ended downright angrily with “You Are the Problem Here,” followed by a passionate monologue on the current state of women speaking out and taking control … which the audience uniformly loved. Of course, Valentine’s Day means hearts, and what better than an actual Heart cover? The whole band rocking a perfect rendition of “Crazy on You,” about which there was little not to love. During the encore, they brought out opener and good friend Van William to play “Revolution,” which features First Aid Kit on his album and also, coincidentally or not (I vote not), opens with the lyric “Lost my Valentine.” They finished with “My Silver Lining,” a victory lap for those lovely voices and pedal steel, keys and drums: so much to love. —A. Stein | @Neddyo