Peter Bjorn and John Kick Off Their Week in New York City

September 13th, 2011

Peter Bjorn and John – Brooklyn Bowl – September 12, 2011

The name Peter Bjorn and John is one that’s been in my ear for some time now. These guys are among a small pool of artists capable of selling out four New York City venues in a week’s span. With the Swedish gents kicking off their Big Apple stint at Brooklyn Bowl last night, I was determined to discover what sets them apart from the rest. Their appeal was obvious right away because these lively dudes were ready to rock. They’re not a passing fad adhering to what’s hot right now, instead they possess a timeless rock and roll feel.

Lead singer and guitarist Peter Morén, who also repped the harmonica, has some ’80s hair-metal persona in him—he even mustered impressively high hair-rock jumps during each song. Bassist and vocalist Björn Yttling also made his way around the stage and looked classically cool rockin’ his leather jacket, while John Erikkson, drummer and vocalist, got up and partied with his bandmates rather than just sitting behind the drums like so many others do.

PB&J play catchy, straightforward rock. “Tomorrow Has to Wait,” the first song off the 2011 album Gimme Some, incorporated a good old fashioned round, creating a lighthearted effect. “Dig a Little Deeper,” off the same disc, is an upbeat song with a smashing drum solo at its center, and all the fun oh-oh’s provided for a great sing-along bond between audience and band. The trio went a bit old school doing the moody and electronically influenced “It Don’t Move Me,” from 2009’s Living Thing. And of course they couldn’t finish the night without performing the 2006 hit “Young Folks” from Writer’s Block. The song, sort of a phenomenon, has been heard in various commercials, and PB&J played an extensive version, including bongos, whistling and an interpretive dance. —Kristen Ferreira