Monday, September 20, 2010

first aid kit, the toff in town, melbourne, sept 5th

Two weeks ago I went to see First Aid Kit with my friend Zoe. We were on the door because my friend Gemma's husband manages Daisy M. Tully (from Bridezilla) who was supporting that night. Daisy sang really beautiful and mournful songs although I thought that she looped her violin too loudly and it was a bit forceful as opposed to the melancholic she was going for. She performs really intensely too and precursed songs with stories like "I wrote this when my grandfather died. I'm singing it tonight for my grandmother, who we are burying tomorrow". While this was happening, two girls were kissing very passionately in my periphery.

Understandably, Zoe and I needed a break and went to eat some Thai food after Daisy's set. The cups we drank from were embossed aluminum. There was a lot of fussing around with coat checking that evening.

Sisters Klara & Johanna Söderberg had just come onstage when we returned from our meal. I was instantly struck by how beautiful they both were, in aesthetic terms as well as musical. They opened with Sailor Song which made me realise the true meaning of 'rollicking' and maintained that level of stunning throughout the whole night. I noticed that Johanna had a particularly compelling way of delivering her harmonies: she tended to open her eyes wide and shake her head to deliver the message of the lyrics. I felt very akin to her, because my face tends to get away from me most of the time. Klara seemed to be the leader and I wonder if she's older than Johanna, because even if she isn't, she seemed like it. They had a weird chemistry onstage and it made me feel a bit uncomfortable because even though the crowd laughed and I along with them, I felt like we weren't sure whether it was truly funny and we were just laughing to help them out. I also feel we may have been a bit afraid of them because they sang so beautifully and in some ways would have done anything for them.

They sang Ghost Town acapella to chilling effect and sang Tiger Mountain Peasant Song like everybody hoped they would. I looked up the lyrics to that song because I didn't know how the chorus started and it goes "dear shadow alive and well, how can the body die". Then I looked up the Fleet Foxes website and found out that the lead singer was only 22 years old earlier this year. While I was at First Aid Kit I thought to myself they reminded me a bit of Neko Case and I really wished I hadn't missed her concert in Australia earlier this year. I also thought they had really long hair and I was worried it would get caught in their guitars. During the encore they stood in the crowd and we all sat on the ground around them. They said they were going to play one of their favourite songs that I can't remember the name of and somebody in the crowd said "is that the one Neko Case covers?" and they didn't know. Which made it even more awkward. I think it was so terrible when they were speaking just because they weren't singing and I never wanted them to stop. I also thought to myself that I wanted to start a band with my sister.

Afterwards they were signing stuff at the merch table and me and Zoe weren't going to wait in line for them until Zoe saw one of their posters and decided she needed one for her room. A girl was wearing a woolen jumper with an arctic scene on it and I told her I liked it. It's nice to compliment strangers. We were at the end of the line and the posters were gone by that time, so we just said to them that we wanted to start a band even though we weren't sisters. Johanna said you don't have to be sisters! And I hope she knew we were just being cute.

Harmony has always been one of my favourite things in the whole world. Seeing First Aid Kit reminded me of how much and awakened me to how truly country my music taste has become. I think I even said something sweeping to Zoe like "this was my ideal concert". Afterwards we went to the Hoyts level of Melbourne Central to see if there were any First Aid Kit posters on the bollards still. There weren't. I had to wait 25 minutes for a train home.


  1. "I also thought they had really long hair and I was worried it would get caught in their guitars." So good!

  2. love it. and love the imagery in your writing. and love those girls, and neko case, and all the harmonies that go along with them. i met neko case, as i have a lot of amazing musical friends, and she's quite the impressive down-to-earth person her music would imply. her hair is also quite long and potentially endangering. you should see her play live. i'm immensely jealous of your first aid kit experience. i hope to have one sometime soon. but thanks for taking me there in absentia.