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Peter Bjorn and John: Three Swedish darlings who know how to kick things up a notch
Peter Bjorn and John: Three Swedish darlings who know how to kick things up a notch
by Jessica Browning - SGN A&E Writer

Peter Bjorn and John: w/ The Clientele
@ The Showbox
Thursday, September 20


Hoping to rid my mind once and for all of the sound of whistling, I was determined not to miss Peter Bjorn and John's appearance at The Showbox last week. I already regretted missing their two sold out shows at Neumo's last May, and couldn't bear to whistle "Young Folks" again until I had a chance to see them for myself. I'd heard lots of things about them live, good and bad-they seem to be quite polarizing. Either you dig the whistling, or you just can't stand it. Either way, everyone has heard them by this point and Thursday's performance at The Showbox was once again, a sell out.

The little trio from Stockholm, Sweden has seen amazing success on the strength of 2006's Writer's Block; although it is in fact, their third full album. "Young Folks" (the sexy duet with ex-Concretes chanteuse Victoria Bergsman) is the trademark track, both breezy and sizzling at the same time. What is it that makes slightly bored-sounding accented vocals sound so hot? It's about time a band from Sweden other than The Hives got so much recognition- at least Peter Bjorn and John are worthy of the praise. In the last year songs from Writer's Block have been sprinkled over radio, MTV, Pontiac and Levis commercials, even a spin on Grey's Anatomy. All of this has helped to propel the breakthrough album into even more widespread popularity. Not to mention last summer Kanye West asked the group to play as his backing band for a performance at Gothenburg, Sweden's Way Out West Festival. All in all, it's been a pretty action-packed year for these three.

The Showbox was filled to the rafters in anticipation of PB&J's return to Seattle. Although opener The Clientele won the all ages crowd over, it was mostly the 21+ Gay boys in attendance that fully appreciated the Belle & Sebastian-esque melodies. Finally, a large rock style banner dropped for Peter Bjorn and John, and the sitar version of "Young Folks" began. The trio literally ran on stage and main vocalist/guitarist Peter Moren began pogo-ing and jumping in time to opener "Let's Call It Off". Looking dapper in a grey-blue jacket and dress shirt, Peter was boyish and charming even while rock star posturing. I had to laugh when between songs, he chatted about their last trip to Seattle and told the audience that they had been "pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good"- a bizarre pop culture reference to hit show Curb Your Enthusiasm.

What struck me most was the difference between the very slick, stylized polish of the recording, and the much more straightforward and boisterous live anthems it all translated to. Peter's intense energy combined with bassist Bjorn Yttling's Liam Gallagher-esque looks, it definitely felt like a rock show, and it was. The fans were ecstatic, and never stopped dancing even during the intensity of "Start to Melt", a highlight of the set with vocals by drummer John Eriksson. "Ancient Curse" was a nice surprise from the Writer's Block bonus disc. Other highlights were "Amsterdam", and finally the very gratifying whistling of "Young Folks". These three Swedish darlings really know how to kick things up a notch and I can hardly wait to see what album number four will bring.
Autumn Insert

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