First Aid Kit w/ Samantha Crain – Concert Review

First Aid Kit w/ Samantha Crain
Roseland Theater

IMG_2723Despite a sold out show, the line up for First Aid Kit didn’t really get started until at most an hour before. This could have been due to the freezing temperatures Portland has been facing as of late. However, I was willing to face them.

I’m sure First Aid Kit themselves, Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg, were not taken aback at all by the weather. As they sing in their song, “Emmylou”, “Stockholm’s cold, but I’ve been told I was born to endure this kind of weather.”

The Roseland Theater housed this Scandinavian folk band for the night, along with a packed crowd ready to be warmed up by the music’s golden vibes. The night began with Oklahoma native singer-songwriter Samantha Crain. First Aid Kit themselves have praised her songwriting skills before, and it seemed to hold true by her set.

Samantha was unaccompanied on stage, just her and her guitar, as she spoke to us, and sang to us, about different events in her life. It was like listening to an old friend over coffee and some acoustic music. Not only was her ability to keep us captivated by the lyrics hitting the mark, but her guitar work itself was something to watch. She could take things slower, but also give a speedier and more upbeat vibe when it called for it.

Tracks that stood out to me from her set were a few new ones, especially a song called “Devils in Boston”. Though the song is about New York City, she told us, she sings about Boston because… well, there’s less syllables in Boston. The song itself is more upbeat that others, and has a mood to it that made it stand out from the others.

First Aid Kit themselves came on for their headline set with a strong track, “The Lion’s Roar”. It’s really a magical thing when the warm folk washes over you. The whole night was filled with this majestic acoustic beauty. Everything about the set just drew you in, warmed you up, and kept you captivated.

Right after opening with the title track of The Lion’s Roar, the Söderberg sisters launched into the title track off their latest release, Stay Gold. There really seemed to be a connection to the crowd in their set, as everyone was drawn in, and singing the words despite if they knew them all or not. It was a very friendly and open vibe. A great way to stay warm on this cold night.

Some highlight’s from the set that everyone seemed to enjoy were the cover songs, only one of which seemed to be on the setlist. At one point, after Johanna mentioned it was a Friday night, Klara didn’t miss a beat launching into a quick cover of Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, which soon enough the whole band joined into.

At another point, before performing the actual planned cover, one of Jack White’s Blunderbuss track, “Love Interruption”, the whole of the live band ran through the first verse and chorus of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”. Despite not actually being on the bill, they did a pretty good job of it, and some audience members were even singing along.

However, the best part of the whole night for me was their song, “Ghost Town”.

“We’re gonna try something here,” Johanna told us. “We wanna do a song without the mics.”

The two sisters stepped away from the microphones, coming right out to front and center stage, and, accompanied only by Klara’s guitar, sung a beautiful acoustic rendition of their The Big Black and the Blue track. Many were singing along, and it was just a beautiful thing to watch.

After their set, going out into the cold of the Portland night didn’t seem so bad. Our inside’s had been warmed by the magic of music.


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