Star rating - 7/10
First Aid Kit are infectiously charming and talented young Swedish sisters, Johanna and Klara Sonderberg. They last played in Manchester in February at the intimate Club Academy, and it's good to see that since then their popularity has risen, as this time the Ritz was packed to the rafters to hear them.
They ran through delicate delights like New Year's Eve, with its lovely stripped down vocals, and Ghost Town, which they again delivered in a microphone free sing-a-long style with the audience. Just like last time. They sung Marianne's Son, a beautiful, haunting song which wasn't on the original Lion's Roar album, but which now deservedly features on the new deluxe version.
It's good to see that First Aid Kit are not just about lovely melodies and harmonies, dedicating one song to freedom of speech and the jailed Russian group Pussy Riot; and another anthem to atheism to Richard Dawkins. But for me they are at their best with their brilliant pop songs that celebrate the joys of music, and life in general. Highlights tonight were the ever wonderful Emmylou - about the joy of singing; The Lion's Roar - despite a bit of keyboard trouble during it; and Wolf, with its wonderfully uplifting and romantic musical vision of the wilds.
They do still tend to love to throw their flowing hair around circa Yes in the 1970's a little too much for my liking, and their psychedelic clothes and garish lighting are more redolent of prog rock than I would wish. But they are lovely performers, they just need to develop their live performances a bit more than they seem to have done since they were last here. The set was broadly the same, although really enjoyable. It had the same rousing end in King of the World to send the happy crowd home. I just hope that they maintain their upward trajectory and bring a little more freshness with their talent and charm next time.