Two years ago, Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg played a fine set in the middle of the afternoon at Austin City Limits Festival, but a lot has changed since then. Earlier this year, they appeared as guest vocalists on about half the songs of Conor Oberst’s new solo album “Upside Down Mountain” and subsequently released their third full-length album as First Aid Kit entitled “Stay Gold.”
They started off their set with the title track to their previous record, “The Lion’s Roar.” As Johanna emerged from the shadows of the stage, it was clear that she was making the commitment to “stay gold” in a very shiny and sparkly gold jacket. On the keyboards, Klara thrashed her long blonde hair into oblivion while playing. Their music is mostly the exact opposite of head banging material, but somehow it worked.
With the kind of pure blended harmonies that can only come from siblings, they worked their way through a flawless set that included a fair amount of newer tracks like “Waitress Song” and “My Silver Lining.” One of the highlights of their performance was a cover of Jack White’s “Love Interruption.” The duo first performed the track live on Australia’s Triple J Radio and have subsequently started working it into their live sets. While it begins as a very faithful and somewhat stripped down affair, the arrangement quickly turned in to how I imagined it would be if the song was performed on ABC’s “Nashville.” They achieve just the right amount of twang into their work, creating an interesting folk/country/pop hybrid.
While I could slightly hear the beats from Nas’ set across the park gently wafting past my ears, the already packed crowd began to surge. Modest Mouse fans were pushing their way up before First Aid Kid even finished their set with their breakthrough single “Emmylou.” They encouraged the crowd to sing along with their ode to Ms. Harris, a fitting way to wrap up an Austin performance.