“That was a song ‘You Are The Problem Here’, and we wrote that song out of anger and frustration of being afraid. We wanted to ask the perpetrators of those crimes questions like ‘What were you thinking?’ instead of asking the victims ‘What were you wearing?’ and ‘Were you drinking?’” First Aid Kit made a statement Wednesday night by tackling the issue of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry head-on. Shining a spotlight on the mistreatment of women across the globe through their song “You Are The Problem Here”, Klara Söderberg’s passionate speech while holding her cream Stratocaster showcased continued support for campaigns like the Me Too Movement. It earned roaring applause from the audience.
The Swedish folk duo, comprised of Klara and Johanna Söderberg, are currently on the US leg of their international tour. They gained international recognition in 2008 for their YouTube cover of the Fleet Foxes’s song “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”. Since then, they’ve released four albums, the latest titled Ruins. Showing up to the House of Blues on a cold, rainy, Wednesday night at 7:00 pm, I was greeted with a line snaking down the street. As part of press, we’re able to skip the hassle and enter the venue straight away. The length of that line, however, signifies First Aid Kit’s international popularity and the sense of loyalty and dedication fans feel towards the band. By 7:30 pm the venue was packed, though the concert started 30 minutes later.
The night began with LA-based singer/songwriter Van William, who recently released his debut LP Countries. Before his set on Wednesday, I found William at a table, selling merchandise and signing CDs. We discussed his upcoming performance and his new song “Revolution”, featuring the women of First Aid Kit. His trio commanded the stage. Kera spent the night jamming on bass and Brian Andrew Marquez was ever-present with the pounding drums. Folk as a genre is often perceived as simple, quiet and relaxing. Singers stand still, strumming their instrument of choice, but Van William was electric. He and Kera brought movement back into the folk/rock, hopping and dancing around the stage to songs such as “Never Had Enough of You” and Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl.” He’s a huge fan of Neil Young, signing his CDs with the quote, “Keep on rockin’ in the free world.”
Van William ended. We the photographers and journalists were left waiting on the side for the main event as the crew came forward to set up the stage. During this time, numerous fans came forward attempting to come into our segregated press area. The night was not easy for security. Eventually, after two or three fake outs First Aid Kit took the stage.
Klara was clad in a high-low red dress with ruffles, while Johanna took the stage in a shorter leopard print dress. Both were wearing black boots. They looked phenomenal. The music started and I was left more than pleasantly surprised. With all the vocal editing that can be accomplished in the studio, it’s rare to find artists that sound exactly the same as their recorded tracks during live concerts. First Aid Kit is one of these rarities. Klara and Johanna are even more impressive when considering the fact that they’re singing harmonies throughout the majority of their songs. That’s twice the likelihood of experiencing a hiccup. As someone with singing and duet experience, my ears were ready to pick up the slightest falter. Nothing. My eyes were also ready to watch two women stand in place, singing at me for an hour and a half as both girls played various instruments. Wrong again. First Aid Kit, like Van William, was electric. Bouncing around to jams like “The Lion’s Roar”, it was easy to dance in the crowd as Klara and Johanna danced on stage. To close the show there was even a sing-along. The two women quieted the audience before standing around a single mic with their backup band, ending with an encore made up of fan favorites. The concert was amazing and everyone in the audience was left folked up.