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- Posted on Jun 17th 2010 10:30AM by Kenneth Partridge
Johanna, who generally hangs in the background, playing keyboards and singing ethereal, enchanted-forest harmonies, was the first to crack. As she and Klara neared the end of 'Ghost Town,' a tune they sang from the front of the stage, without microphones or the accompaniment of their drummer, Mattias, her eyes turned to pink glass. She tried to hide it with a smile, but everyone saw.
There's a line in the song the sisters usually change to fit whatever town they're playing, but in the original recorded version, from First Aid Kit's debut, 'The Big Black & the Blue,' they reference New York. Maybe that's what got to Johanna: the realization of how far they'd come, from suburban Stockholm to Manhattan, where Karen O and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were among those in attendance. It may also have also had to do with whatever (or whomever) inspired the lyrics. Johanna's tears came as she joined Klara in singing the tune's closing promise: "I'll come back to you someday."
Slow and simple, radiating old-soul sadness, 'Ghost Town' was in keeping with about half the night's material. The Soderbergs also stomped through some fast tunes, showing their love for hip-slap, clickety-clack country. Klara propelled opener 'Sailor Song' with a mighty hayride guitar strum. Johanna followed along on auto harp, while Mattias supplied the choo-choo-train rhythm.
Later, as the sisters posed for a picture with the audience, Mattias broke Klara's defenses. All night, the more gregarious Soderberg had stifled her sadness by joking with fans, and for a while, it seemed her wit would stave off the waterworks. Then Mattias stopped trying to frame the shot, put down the camera and picked up a guitar. He serenaded the girls in Swedish, his words likely amounting to "thank you" and "goodbye."
Flustered and flattered, Klara called Mattias' surprise performance "the greatest thing ever." As she and Joanna backed opener Samantha Crain on the night's final tune, 'Dam Song,' she buried her face in her hands. "The salt is mixing/ behind my eyes you're fixing," Crain sang, as if she'd written the song for that very moment. "See the dam break."