Having 2 years off attending Bluesfest on a 5 year streak isn't getting easier at all, so luckily many of the international acts on the massive Bluesfest lineup do sideshows, and First Aid Kit were one of them. With their new album 'Ruins' only just being released into the world they were ready to share their new music with the aussie crowds. The sister duo have always held a special place in my playlist curation and burning of cd's throughout year 10, just beautiful, heart melting music that truly gives you goosebumps. The Enmore Theatre was so very close to selling out, with the pair selling out two Melbourne shows the Sydney crowd were just not there yet. I was lucky enough to be given a prime seat in the mezzanine of the venue, and this was the perfect show for a seat like that. As the room filled up the beautiful Perth artist, Stella Donnelly took to the stage.
What a huge last 12 months for Stella. Wowing audiences all over the world with one of the most captivating and relatable storytelling that I have ever come across. This is the first time I’ve seen Stella in an intimate environment and man, she’s hilarious. Putting in little feelers and mid song quotes which really lightens the meaning behind most of her songs which are quite touching for a lot of people, especially young women. I love how Australian she is, and that she swears and talks about shit relatives at Christmas time. She’s an excellent story teller, performer, woman and role model for women all over. Musically of course, the simplicity of her and her guitar really captivates you as a punter. With one E.P 'Thrush Metal', she shared songs from the E.P and new single 'Talking' with Sydney audiences. And her biggest and relatable song for many women,'Boys Will Be Boys'. Stella addressed the audience explaining the meaning behind the song, sexual assault, and how we seem to be blaming the victim and not the perpetrator. The audience were extremely receptive to Stella and her relatable and beautifully crafted music. It also made me happy that Stella was a huge fan of First Aid Kit and got to support artists she's admired, gives you the warm fuzzies for sure.
A short intermission and the gorgeous Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit graced the stage, in their matching patterned outfits. Wow, firstly they're extremely beautiful and an amazing aura came over the theatre, a sense of inclusivity, was amazing. I had a good listen to their new album 'Ruins', their first album in 4 years, before the show and it is very diversified. A combination of Americana, Folk, Rock and more and live it was evident that the pair have explored lots of different musical avenues when writing and recording. Tracks like 'Rebel Heart', 'It's A Shame' and title track 'Ruins' were crowd favourites, seeing little girls with their parents singing along just gave me the biggest grin on my face.
We were lucky enough to hear old classic favourites like, 'The Lions Roar', 'Emmylou', 'King Of The World' and 'My Silving Lining' to just name a few. The band the girls had behind them were incredible, for starters they all had matching shirts on, they were all smiling so much and were all round excellent musicians from all corners of the world. The band and the girls have been together for quite some time and the chemistry on stage was amazing, they were so cute together, dancing around, high fiving and just having the absolute best time.
Between albums the pair did release one single, 'You Are The Problem', released in 2017 after the #metoo movement. Obviously the pair have been in the music industry world for quite some time now and have experienced some type of assault and/or discrimination in their working life as professional musicians, so they released a song for exactly that reason. Klara and Johanna shared their view on the issue and voiced it to the audience. Sharing that it was time to point out when male friends/partners or whoever they might be make even small comments that are inappropriate. To pin point this type of behaviour right at the start is the key to prevention. What a powerful song this is!
As the show came towards an end, the girls were ever so thankful to the Australian audience for welcoming them back with open arms. And of course the crowd roared for an encore as soon as they left the stage. And what do they return to the stage with, a ridiculously beautiful cover of Neil Young's, 'After The Gold Rush' , the harmonies were so beautiful, this was my favourite moment of the evening.
An absolutely incredible show, First Aid Kit are welcome back to Australia whenever they'd like I say!
Reviewer: Sarah McEwan
Photo Credit: Ashley Mar (The Brag)