Too short of a set: That, really, is all one need know about First Aid Kit’s turn at WXPN’s annual XPoNential Music Festival at Wiggins Park in Camden, N.J. Oh, and Johanna had a sore throat, which was evident on several songs; and experienced a wardrobe malfunction with her flowing white dress. Klara, for her part, was in fine voice; and, best that I could tell, her dress stayed put.
My original plan was to get up-close-and-personal, but as the crowd gathered at the foot of the stage – as you can see in my videos – I decided to remain in the bleachers. It was too hot a day to be smashed amongst bodies; and, too, the view was impressive – the full stage, Delaware River and Philadelphia skyline.
Plus, there was a breeze.
“The Lion’s Roar,” which opened the set, roared; and “Stay Gold,” which followed, further roused the crowd. “Master Pretender” was accented by a giant ship being towed in the background – one can only imagine what went through Klara’s mind when she turned and saw it. The piece de resistance, however, came with the Simon & Garfunkel cover, “America.”
To compare the show to last year’s Union Transfer concert would be unfair, of course. A festival setting guarantees a fair number of folks could care less about who’s on stage at any point in time; distractions are many; and the sets are shorter than the norm. Still, it was a good performance. Mind you, it would have been better if they’d included their cool (and wild) cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” which they played three days earlier (in Columbus)…
…or even a few more of their own songs – “Ghost Town,” “Blue,” “Our Own Pretty Ways” or “Cedar Lane,” for instance.
The only real downside, aside from the heat and too-short set: the XPoNential Festival’s scheduling of the meet-and-greet. I checked in at the XPN “members only” area upon arriving, saw First Aid Kit were scheduled for 1pm, then left to take in the first band on the main River Stage, Philadelphia’s own Hop Along. (They reminded me a bit of Belly and the Breeders.) After they finished, I headed back to the “members only” area, getting there no later than 1:15 – but was refused entry to meet-and-greet because, in the words of the yellow-shirted clown guarding the tent, “the line ends with me” – which meant there was less than a 15-minute window that fans could actually get in line. Really?! Very uncool on someone’s part.
The set: The Lion’s Roar/Stay Gold/Master Pretender/Waitress Song/America/My Silver Lining/Heaven Knows/Wolf/King of the World/Emmylou