HomeNewsInterviewsCD ReleasesCD ReviewsConcertsArtistsArchive

Swedish duo First Aid Kit show how American music is done

Hollywood Palladium, West Hollywood, Cal., May 16, 2023

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

It's sometimes a little embarrassing when those from foreign countries serve back American music better than a lot of the native Americans do it, but such was many times the case while watching and listening the Swedish duo First Aid Kit. With lovely vocal harmonies and strong songs, this skilled pair showed all the gathered yanks just how it's done -- and in front of a large crowd of adoring fans right in the heart of Hollywood.

In fact, one of the more memorable songs this night was "Wild Horses II," which details a discussion as to which version of "Wild Horses" is better: the Rolling Stones' take or Gram Parson's. Sadly, many Americans might not even know about the influence The Flying Burrito Brothers had on the Stones more country sounds.

The sibling act was appearing in support of its "Palomino" album, which was also the opening number. Some of these songs were just simply beautiful, especially the heartbreaking "Fireworks," which closed the out the set before a three-song encore. Consisting of sisters Johana and Klara Soderberg, it was hard not to hear these vocals as a sort of feminized Everly Brothers. Whether backed by a three-piece backing band nor just a couple of women with acoustic guitars, their singing never failed to thrill.

First Aid Kit was preceded by a short half-hour set from Hurray for the Riff Raff. Fronted by Alynda Mariposa Segarra, this group incorporated more rock into its sound, but Segarra displayed a robust singing voice in places. While enjoyable, a half-hour just seemed a little too short. We didn't really need a half-hour between acts.

You could say there was plenty of girl power presented this evening - the harder edges with Hurray and the softer tones from First Aid Kit. It was also heartening to see such a large crowd for these still slightly underground acts on a Tuesday night. The pre-show music, which included Lucinda Williams and Los Lobos, highlighted how this was a night especially created for fans of the ever-inclusive Americana scene. Even though neither group has made many inroads into mainstream country music, there are plenty of curious folks that found them out, even without the help of radio songs. For First Aid Kit, how Swede it is, but also oh how so sweet it is.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
AboutCopyrightNewsletterOur sister publication Standard Time
Subscribe to Country Music News Country News   Subscribe to Country Music CD Reviews CD Reviews   Follow us on Twitter  Instagram  Facebook  YouTube