with special guest Samantha Crain
In the past six years, much has changed for the Swedish duo First Aid Kit. Sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg had been earning a stellar reputation recording and performing as a teenaged duo in Sweden when their 2008 cover of Fleet Foxes' "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" started turning heads around the world, racking up millions of views on YouTube and earning them big-name fans in far off lands. In 2010, they released their debut LP, 'The Big Black & The Blue,' which prompted critical raves and dates with everyone from Patti Smith and Jack White to Lykke Li and Bright Eyes.
But not all change is good. Heartbreak, loneliness, and homesickness can ride the coattails of happiness and success. Sometimes we wish for change, for an escape, but it never comes. It's with an aching beauty and a wisdom well beyond their years (Johanna is 23, Klara 21) that First Aid Kit crystallizes those feelings on 'Stay Gold,' the most mature and ambitious record of their career.
The album opens with a dusty, spaghetti-western string line from local Omaha string players, who appear throughout the record with cinematic arrangements from Nate Walcott (Broken Bells, Rilo Kiley). That first song, "My Silver Lining," gallops through an existential crisis and sets the stage for an album that finds the moments of hope and light in darkness and anxiety. "Master Pretender" is a lush meditation on growing up and learning from mistakes, while "Stay Gold" laments loss and the uncertainty of the future. "What if our hard work ends in despair, what if the road won't take me there?" they sing in beautifully intertwined harmonies. "What if to love and be loved's not enough, what if I fall and can't bear to get up? / Oh I wish for once we could stay gold."
The lyrics are far more intimate than previous First Aid Kit releases. "On our other records, we wrote a lot about nature and fairytale-ish stuff," Johanna says, referencing their early music, which blended aspects of American folk music and Swedish folklore and storytelling. "But if you listen to the lyrics on this one, you can tell it's much more about us, more personal."
"Cedar Lane" waltzes through heartbreak, repeating the line "Something good will come out of this" as a mantra, while "Shattered & Hollow" asserts in no uncertain terms an unshakeable need to escape. On "Waitress Song," Klara fantasizes about dropping everything and assuming a new life. "I could move to a small town and become a waitress," she sings. "Say my name was Stacy / and I was figuring things out."
"It's about dreaming of other lives you could lead," she says of the song, which was written during soundcheck while on tour with Jack White and inspired by listening to Neko Case. "I think everyone has this sort of a secret wish that they could just run away and start a new life somewhere. Not really wanting to actually do it, but having a little fantasy about that."
For two sisters from the suburbs of Stockholm who now share a label with idols like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and regularly tour and record with some of the biggest names in modern folk and indie, real life may seem like a bit of a fantasy at the moment, but it's been a long, steady climb that's brought them here. The future may always hold uncertainty, but for now, things are gold for First Aid Kit, and as they prepare to release the finest album of their career, tomorrow's only looking brighter.
Here is the schedule for the night of the show:
- 4:30 p.m. — Will call opens in the lobby of the Bradley Theatre (see the map below). If you asked that your tickets be held at Will Call, you can pick them up beginning at 4:30 p.m.
- 5 p.m. — Fans can start lining up inside the theatre lobby
- 6:45 p.m. — Theatre doors open
- 7:30 p.m. — Show begins
Samantha Crain is touring in support of First Aid Kit and she will open the show.
Click here to view a map of Lakeland's campus. The Bradley Theatre is #22 on the map. There is plenty of free parking in lots H, G and F.
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for sale beginning at 5 p.m. in the theatre lobby and they can be taken in the theatre and . There are no food sales in the theatre and no food will be allowed in the theatre. Fans are welcome to purchase/eat dinner in the Lakeland cafeteria, which is located at the south end of the Campus Center (building #13 on the campus map). Dinner is $8.50 per person and is an all-you-can-eat buffet. Dinner hours are from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Per Wisconsin state law, smoking is not allowed inside the Bradley Theatre.
Merchandise sold by the band will be available in the Bradley Theatre lobby. It is possible that it might be cash sales only, so please plan accordingly. Lakeland does have an ATM machine located in the lower level of the Campus Center.