First Aid Kit – Brighton Dome – 30th October 2018

Photo by Jamie MacMillan

After three years away, First Aid Kit applied the perfect balm for any troubled souls on a gorgeous night at the Dome. This year’s Ruins was a heartbroken and heartbreaking record, as much about the dissolution of Klara Söderberg’s relationship as it was the sudden geographical distance between her and her sister, Johanna. Through all of the hurt, however, the record contained an ability to turn sadness into joy – a feeling that carried through tonight’s show. First though, a word on The Staves. The Dome is the perfect location for their beautiful harmonies, the room packed with adoring fans to an extent rarely seen for a supposed support act. Each track from the three sisters is met with wild acclaim, a cover of The Waterboys’ ‘Whole Of The Moon’ slotting in perfectly to a set that surely demands a return visit to this venue in their own right.

As the stage curtain falls to reveal First Aid Kit, the room is instantly transfixed. As the sisters skip and run around stage to ‘It’s A Shame’, their enthusiasm and energy are instantly infectious. Atmosphere is everything for them, smoke swirling across the stage during ‘The Lion’s Roar’ as their harmonies dig their claws into you. There is a surprisingly beefy sound from the band at points, the Söderbergs accompanied on tour, as always, by Brighton’s very own Melvin Duffy (guitars), Scott Simpson (drums) and Steve Moore (keyboards). The a cappella harmony at the song’s climax is delicious, before the decibels are turned up for the biting ‘You Are The Problem Here’. Written for last year’s International Women’s Day, its lyrics have lost none of their relevance (“All these women with their dreams shattered, from some man’s sweaty, desperate touch”), the heavy sound fitting the anger levels note for note.

The simple love of music shines through the entire night. As the duo gather around a single mic for ‘Hem Of Her Dress’ before what they describe as a, “Drunken choir singalongengulfs the entire room, they turn melancholia on its head with a riotous ‘King Of The World’ and a superb, galloping ‘Wolf’. Joined by The Staves for a beautiful, slightly electro version of Lykke Li’s ‘Hard Rain’, the evening is by now racing by. ‘Emmylou’ is, of course, gorgeous before ‘Nothing Has To Be True’ brings a perfect show to a finale – both Klara and Johanna joining the band at the back of the stage at times to simply bask in the pleasure of bringing these songs to life.

Coming back for the encore to pull on those heartstrings one last time with the devastating ‘Fireworks’, as well as glorious versions of ‘Rebel Heart’ and ‘My Silver Lining’, the night ends with a huge roar from the crowd. In the venue where their compatriots and heroes, ABBA, once won a famous prize, tonight was no less of a triumph. A night to cure any ailment.

Jamie MacMillan

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