SXSW Review: Peter, Bjorn and John, March 18, Vice Lounge

Austin – Before going to Vice Lounge on Wednesday, I had associated the letters PBJ with all things pleasant – Peanut Butter and Jam and Peter Bjorn and John. However, as of Wednesday night, one of those things is no longer pleasant, and lemme tell you – it’s not the one you eat. Peter, Bjorn and John as you might know, is a Swedish indie pop band that exploded a few years ago with the whistling super pop hit ‘Young Folks‘. That song was everywhere, your grandma knew it. Since that time, they have been dormant ..until now.

With their fifth album “Living Thing” being released on March 31st, the Swedish trio went into SXSW to once again impress the hipsters with their blend of soft melodious indie pop. It was a great opportunity to remind the people just who they are. This is an ADD generation that forgets who jumps from one band to the next as quickly as bands jump from one groupie to the next. I talked to a few fellow SXSWers about PBJ before the festival and they didn’t seem that excited. You talk to the same person three years ago and they probably would have given their first born rabies to get into the show.

Luckily for PBJ, they were nicely set up on the first night – following rockers Von Blondie and leading up to the nights big show – Glasvegas (which Allison reviewed). This was the perfect opportunity to impress some folks (some…young folks muhaha). Like Matthew Fox, the opportunity was Lost (lame). SXSW runs on moderately tight time schedules, each band has about 40 minutes to play and 20 minutes to set up. PBJ took a long time to setup. A really long time, maybe 45 minutes. When something like this happens, people get a bit worked up – everyone goes on tight schedules here and when something goes off, well, this screws things up. After what seemed like an eternity, PBJ took the stage…and sucked.

How is it they sucked? First of all, they had sound problems thru out the whole show, disrupting any kind of flow they may have. Sing a bit, stop a bit, sing a bit..stop a bit. Bad for the crowd. Secondly, the music, for some reason, was dry and awkwardly paced. The band didn’t seem to know what they were doing and when you have to wait 45 minutes for a band to set up and then the band goes on stage and looks all confused, it results in a high level of suckitude. We also suspect the band had their fair of drinks before the show. At one point, they attempted to whistle (maybe to start off Young Folks?) however, they failed at that attempt and just went into another song. It didn’t help that when they did get everything working, the new material did not seem to hold up to the old stuff (especially the Justice influence children singing sampled filled single “Nothing to Worry About”. All these factors resulted in the crowd turning on the band halfway thru the set and well, lets just say, most people were glad when it was over.

Having said all that, they are playing two more shows at SXSW, I wonder how they were.

heres a song from happier PBJ times.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.