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First Aid Kit Rocked Webster Hall [photos]

Posted on the 30 March 2012 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie

fak1 1 FIRST AID KIT ROCKED WEBSTER HALL [PHOTOS]

Photo Credit: Karp

Funny how playing a gig at Webster Hall turns you into a rockstar. I don’t necessarily mean that it brings fame and fortune (although if you look at the roster of musicians who debuted there throughout the venue’s 125 year history, that seems to be a valid point), but bands like to rock at Webster Hall — they like to blast the room with sound, turning every performance into some semblance of a blazing rock concert. The fact that most fans are crammed in there without much hope of a quick exit only enhances the frenzy of the room.

A prime example of this came Wednesday night, when the endearing Swedish duo, First Aid Kit (@firstaidkitband), kicked off their US Tour by playing to their first sold-out crowd in the Ballroom. Sure, there are already shades of rock music to their sound (Patti Smith is one of their primary influences, after all), but their music is really more rooted in classic folk (additional influences from the likes of Emmy Lou Harris and Johnny Cash seem to instruct every lyric and chord change). Those sound engineers at Webster Hall, though, increased the volume and turned up the rock, and while the band effortlessly filled the immense space, the subtleties to their sound became less pronounced.

The opening act, London band Peggy Sue (@peggysueband), also rocked the space, inspiring girls behind me to gush, “I want to be in a band!” The two front-women may have come across as sweet and unassuming between songs, but once everyone saw the way they handled their electric guitars and heard their searing vocal harmonies, it was obvious that they were kind of, well, rockstars. The ingenious and varied rhythms in any given song (thanks to the very deft drummer) helped to shape the journey of the music and kept the audience on their toes. The trio displayed an impressive range in their 40-minute set, contrasting their heavier rock songs with their version of a “country song”, crooning vocals backed by sparse electric guitar, as well as a cover of the Motown classic “Heatwave”.

First Aid Kit’s repertoire is a little more homogenous — they’re not reinventing any wheels on the folk-rock spectrum, but everything they’re doing, they’re doing well. Really well. The excitable audience (with lots of young faces at the foot of the stage) demonstrated an unconditional love for the two Swedish sisters, Johanna & Klara Söderberg. Clad in silver sequined shawls and backed by a single drummer, they played through the majority of the songs on their new album, The Lion’s Roar.   They saved the title song for last, creating incredible fanfare during the opening chords and thrashing their long hair during the conclusion. They managed to top even that moment, though, with the encore “Dancing Barefoot”, a tribute song to Patti Smith, whom they had the privilege to play for in person last year.

Halfway through the set, the ballad “New Year’s Eve” prompted the first (and only) change in configuration, as the guitars were dropped and the drummer left the stage. On the following song, the sisters announced that they were going to conduct an experiment; they were skeptical that it would work. They proceeded to ask everyone to be as quiet as possible, and to their (and my) surprise, the crowd obliged. They stepped forward away from their microphones and invited anyone who knew the words to “Ghost town” to sing along. Few those minutes, it was no longer a rock concert, but one of those singularly moving musical experiences that you happen to share with a thousand close strangers.

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