On November 2nd at the Music Farm I went to see the First Aid Kt concert with musical act Samantha Crain and had an amazing experience. Crain, from Shawnee, Oklahoma, opened for the folk duo, and she reminded me of one of those singer-songwriters at an open-mic bar, showing off her talent to a passive and slightly intoxicated crowd. Her performance, by her first song, grabbed the slightly intoxicated crowd and nearly won their respect. It felt as if a good amount of people were just at the bar waiting for First Aid Kit to perform, seeing as one heckler shouted to Crain to “play your guitar already.” At that remark Crain said a couple of zingers that nearly everyone on the floor hooted in support, and she continued to perform though slightly unsettled by the nasty comment. There was no back-up band with her, just Samantha Crain and her guitar, which I liked because I feel it incorporated the bittersweet country theme that First Aid Kit’s music incorporates. Crain’s songs told stories about heartbreak, moving to New York, and the son of an oil field worker, among other topics. For nearly each song, she gave a little story for why she wrote said song or the story behind the lyrics, and these stories led me to the conclusion that Samantha Crain is a girl that you do want to talk to at the bar, because she will listen to your life story, should you choose to say it, and could possibly tell your story through a song of hers. I felt at ease with her performance – she had a strong and soothing twang to her alto voice and looked like a natural with her guitar. The set was very simple – six red spots shining behind her, maybe one or two spots shining on her, and minimal smoke that fired up near the end (possibly in preparation for the headlining act). The one problem with her performance is that, towards the end of her act, there were technical difficulties with the six red spots because they kept flashing in blue and other colors and swiveling during her songs. Aside from the minor distractions, I was pleased with Crain’s act.
The Music Farm was nearly packed full by the time First Aid Kit walked on stage, and as soon as Johanna and Klara Söderberg walked on the venue was hardly audible. The two sisters from Stockholm, Sweden opened with “The Lion’s Roar” and the title track of their new album, “Stay Gold,” and I was immediately hooked. I knew that I wanted to review them, because I heard of maybe one or two songs that I found catchy, but they looked, sounded, and were killer. The sister’s harmonies were on point, so on point that it was hard to tell which sister was singing which part. I loved how the duo incorporated a metallic gold touch to their costume and set. There were five golden triangles and a large golden drape of the same material, sort of resembling mountains, and the two wore shimmering golden blouses and black bottoms, and even Johanna’s keyboard was metallic gold. Despite what it may appear to be, the set was not overpowering, and it was a great way to put out their new album, and for me it hinted at themes of bygone halcyon days and bittersweet nostalgia found in their songs. At one point, the two asked the crowd to be silent for an unplugged performance of “Ghost Town,” which was simply ethereal. It may have been the most tender and unforgettable moment I had at the Music Farm, since being unplugged pretty much requires silence from the whole audience. First Aid Kit was very good about introducing their two back-up musicians and even about thanking Samantha Crain, who the sisters called “very talented” and went on to say that they were “very fortunate to have her on tour with us.” This concert was potentially the best concert that I have seen at the Music Farm, and it is necessary that I have First Aid Kit and Samantha Crain added to my playlist. If the two are ever in town, I would highly recommend going to see them.