Peter Bjorn and John party at the ‘dise

A review of Peter Bjorn and John at the Paradise Rock Club on May 5, 2011

, Contributing Writer

On Thursday night, Cinco de Mayo and lead-singer Peter Morén’s birthday, Peter Bjorn and John brought the party to Boston’s Paradise Rock Club.

Peter Bjorn and John took the stage after an intro song that saw the stage grow progressively brighter. Immediately they showed why they have engendered such enthusiasm and love from fans over the years; this is a band that really wants the audience to feel a part of the show. Before “Dig a little Deeper”, the band got the audience in to help out with the infectious “whoa-ohh” vocal hook and Morén leapt into the audience on two separate occasions, once during the middle of a particularly long and impressive harmonica solo. Later on, drummer John Eriksson even got the audience to sing happy birthday to Morén, who despite the name confusion, (“it’s Peter by the way, just to clear up the confusion”) seemed very flattered.

For a three-piece Peter Bjorn and John really bring the energy and each melody and rhythm is played emphatically, purposefully. Blasting into a set that early on featured mostly songs from their brand new Gimme Some, the band jumped gleefully around the stage with the kind of in-the-moment approach that fits with the theme of many of their new songs. They gave “Tomorrow has to Wait”, “Second Chances” and “Down like Me”, the kind of live treatment, full blown energy, extra tacked-on choruses and solos, that exemplifies their classic feel-good rock.

This isn’t to say that they a one-dimensional band. They can channel the prettiest dream-pop, harmonica-driven blues, Arctic Monkeys-styled Indie hard-rock and even some chugging punk. The last, found in songs like “Breaker Breaker” and “Black Book”, was thrown in between longer rock-workouts and functioned like brief interludes, blasts of noise instead of a moment of respite. As such, the first half of the set ran at such a pace that couldn’t be kept, and later on the incredible momentum of the beginning of the show was lost just a little.

The relatively short main set, which lasted less than an hour, was made up for by the fact that the band played a rare double encore, lasting a combined 45 minutes, making the whole show seem to fall into two parts. Part two featured a lot more the of the older, slower songs, and this made the show drag just a tad, especially as the audience became more and more restless for “Young Folks”. They did finally oblige a few songs into the second encore, although oddly they didn’t close the show with it, playing a couple more afterwards.

“Young Folks” like Peter Bjorn and John’s music in general, makes the most of a simple but effective hook. Whether it’s the cowbell in “Second Chances” built on syncopated rhythms, or the “whoa-ohhs” in a “Dig a Little Deeper”, the band assures that you’ll go home whistling more than “Young Folks”.

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