Live Review: First Aid Kit – Manchester, 02 Apollo

First Aid Kit relished the pleasure of releasing a critically and commercially successful third album in 2014. On top of that, their current world tour gives the impression that the Söderberg sisters are going to have a happy 2015 as well. Rolling up at the 02 Apollo on a typically rainy Manchester Friday night, FAK brought Stay Gold to a crowd of happy-go-lucky weekenders. With support from the wonderful Kimberly Anne, FAK treated the city of Manchester to a vocal masterclass and a night of swaying rhythms.

Kimberly Anne’s set got the night underway. Armed with a guitar, a sampler and a couple of drums, Anne pieced together a set of melancholy melodies, and tightly strung whispers of love and affection. Having said that, all was done with a splash of charisma and a big smile on her face. With a refreshingly androgynous voice which draws strong comparisons to artists like Tracy Chapman, Anne’s sound was a breeze of pop music etched out at its finest.

“We fuckin’ love you too”, screamed Johanna, one half of First Aid Kit, as the heckles of excitement started to bellow from the crowd. Take my word for it, this was the case throughout the Swedish sisters’ set. Alongside the declarations of love, First Aid Kit managed to find time to treat the Manchester Apollo to an ensemble of classical folk melodies. Touring with their third album Stay Gold, FAK performed a rather generous set, including extended rendition and an outpouring of older material, like ‘Lion’s Roar’, ‘Wolf’, and an unplugged version of ‘Ghost Town’. A particular highlight came form the pairs’ homage towards blues giant Jack White, as the sisters firstly played with a rendition of the White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’, before lulling into White’s own ‘Love Interruption’. A touch of class from the Swedes.

It was a real grassroots performance, and a great testament to the pairs raw talent. Throwing the harmonies back and forth, the Söderberg sisters’ craft was a pleasure to witness. Gliding though newer songs, like singles ‘Master Pretender’ and ‘My Silver Lining’, Johanna and Klara’s immersive stage presence sured up exactly why First Aid Kit have become a main stage act over the past couple of years. Their personality on stage is as refined and mature as their sound, whilst their off stage persona is relatively shy. Rounding off the night with a stellar encore that consisted of fan favourites ‘Emmylou’, ‘Heaven Knows’ and a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘America’, First Aid Kit found more than a silver lining to show off as their world tour steam-rolled onwards and upwards.

Breathtakingly beautiful, monumentally melodic and frightfully talented, Klara and Johanna Söderberg’s headline show at the Manchester 02 Apollo was everything you’d expect it to be. More of the same please. Utmärkt sidor!

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