First Aid Kit in Toronto (Again – September 25 2012)

October 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Bit late with this one, but better than never…

Huh. This is the third time I’ve seen Swedish singing sisters First Aid Kit in the past year. First opening for Lykke Li at the Sound Academy, then headlining at the Great Hall and now here at the Danforth Music Hall.  So to say I’m a fan is an understatement.

But first a complaint about Danforth Music Hall. Now admittedly I haven’t been to the Music Hall in a while, but the last time I was there, there were seats downstairs.  Not this time. OK, so we went up to the balcony where an usher (!) told us we could stand downstairs or we could sit up here. But…you might be asked to leave if someone claims “their” seats. Huh? Couldn’t get an answer as to whether the seats were reserved or not. We sat, and while everyone around us was moved, somehow we were not. So what am I complaining about? And I should say, the sound at the venue was fantastic.

Anyway, Dylan LeBlanc was the opener: A folky country solo performer who had some interesting songs and an unusual vocal style. However, Dylan, you really have to work on your between-song banter. Introducing a song about a failed relationship, he announced apropos he had never hit her. Why would you say that? It plants all sorts of doubts in my head. A few songs later, LeBlanc delivered a long rambling implausible anecdote about a black co-worker going “gangsta.” Music, good; chatter, trying too hard.

If I say that a lot of First Aid Kit ‘s material sounds the same, it shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a criticism. The material has a definitive “sound” reflected across their two albums, both of which were well represented this  evening.The two sisters play a catchy country-folk style with terrific harmonies and an earnestness that is attractive. All the favourite were there including “Sailor Song”, “Emmylou” and “Hard Believer” (dedicated to Richard Dawkins; another song was dedicated to Pussy Riot.)

However, inevitably when you see an act several times in a short period of time, there’s a certain overlap, especially when the band is not showcasing new material (I’ve misplaced my notes, so please correct me if in fact they did perform new songs) . So, it had an overly familiar feel to it, even down to the stepping away from the mikes to perform “Ghost Town” for example.

For the encores, the band performed a quite lovely version of Paul Simon’s “America” and ended with “King of the World.” (My wife’s favourite FAK song) Great show, but perhaps next time, I’ll wait until they have some new material to promote.


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