Peter Bjorn & John
Henry Fonda Theater, July 31
By Carlie Armstrong
To kick off their North American tour, Swedish indie-poppers Peter Bjorn and John started at The Henry Fonda. And, to start the night off right, they indulged in the longest sound check in the history of time, making incredibly strange noises and sounding quite like the spaniels that adorned their tour shirts.
After the concert officially began, however, besides the absence of John, everything seemed to be in order. Peter and Bjorn pranced and sprung with pizazz and incited a gracious amount of clapping from the very diverse audience, which consisted of roughly half mid-twenties hipsters and half pre-teens with their open minded chaperones. In any case, the entirety of the audience was delighted with the opening song, “Let’s Call it Off,” which was made even more exciting with an addition from the makeshift drummer, who decided to spew a grand mixture of water and Stella Artois over the stage at the peak of the song.
Photos by Carlie Armstrong
Peter, Bjorn, and spewing drummer continued to delight the audience with songs from their newest album, Writer’s Block, such as “Start to Melt,” “Chills,” “Amsterdam,” and “Paris 2004.” And, of course, there was “Young Folks;” Peter Bjorn and John’s ubiquitous tune and the song that has enabled them not only to appear on every teen myspace and indie radio station that exists, but to also be the backing band for Kanye West (should they choose to accept his offer). As far as the crowd was concerned, it was definitely the highlight of the show. This was probably anticipated by the band, as they prepared a congo player and brought Gena Olivier from the L.A. based band, Midnight Movies to sing the part of Victoria Bergman, of The Concretes. Peter began with the catchy whistling of the song, and, surprisingly, sounded precisely like the radio station version. Later this was proven to be too good to be true, when Peter forgot to mime the whistling which began again towards the end, and sheepishly sang over those parts to cover up the mistake.
All lip-syncing bloopers aside, the entire concert can be aptly described in one word: nice. Peter and Bjorn were the vision of nice in their sharp but cutesy suits, and even their set list was nicely labeled, after certain songs there were spaces deemed “Peter talks” or “Bjorn talks” enabling the respective Swede to give a pre-ordained shred of insight in a nice accent. Even the fans participated in the theme of nice, holding up signs that read “Have A Nice Night!” and giving a rapturous amount of clapping after the last song, “Objects of my Affection” to demand for an encore, which Peter and Bjorn (and spewing drummer) of course gave in to.
They played a two-song encore, of “Up Against the Wall” and “Poor Cow” (also new songs from Writer’s Block) and, before dashing offstage, Peter thanked the audience, and L.A. itself for being “so nice.”
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All photos by Carlie Armstrong