Peter Bjorn and John, or “PB&J,” as fans lovingly nicknamed them, thoroughly charmed their audience Friday night at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Though the show began with several false starts — caused by sound system problems — the bearded Swedish trio laughed it off, joking with their audience to set an intimate and low-key vibe that lasted the rest of the night. As the set continued, guitarist/vocalist Peter Moren further broke down the audience-band barrier, climbing off the stage to sing and dance amongst his adoring fans.
The band played three sets, unusual for an indie rock band of this era, but it seemed like they were just having too much fun to stop. The set opened with May Seem Macabre, a song off their popular new album Gimme Some, which was the focus of the set. The band took a few songs to warm up, but once they settled into their groove, there was no stopping them. Songs like Dig a Little Deeper and Let’s Call It Off had the audience singing along excitedly while the band showed off goofy dance moves on stage.
The second set began with just Moren and his harmonica — a beautiful acoustic number that took the audience by surprise. But he was soon rejoined by drummer Eriksson and bassist Yttling for more upbeat numbers off their newest album, interspersed with older tracks.
Most impressive was the band’s live version of Objects of My Affection, which featured a sudden breakdown to acapella vocal harmonies, followed by a bold build up that showed off the band’s more intense side. Dramatic pauses and breaks in Down Like Me, which Moren joked was written as therapeutic “shrink music” when he was depressed, further proved the band’s experience and musical ability, keeping the audience on their toes and ready for more.
The trio made their audience wait til the bitter end for the famous Young Folks, which showcased impressive whistling from Moren and intricate percussion from drummer John Eriksson. Moren then clambered down into the audience for the second time to serenade his audience from within.
Maybe it was just their charming Swedish accents, but PB&J knew how to befriend their audience. And the music? Well, I suppose that wasn’t too terrible either.
Check out a review of their new album, Gimme Some, here.