Posted in music | pictures on March 25, 2009

photos by Tim Griffin, words by Andrew Frisicano

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John had some problems at their Wednesday SXSW debut, as reported by the Associated Press and a few others:

The start was delayed and, when they finally started playing, equipment problems caused long interruptions and ruined the set. The unsympathetic crowd heckled and booed.

"It was an awful show," said Peter Moren, the band's lead singer, able to smile painfully about it in an interview Friday. "But it's also good that stuff like that happens occasionally. Otherwise you become bigheaded.

To be fair, that was just one of the band's three official SXSW shows - and they had no such problems at their planned-to-a-T W Hotel gig in New York on Tuesday (3/17), which served to show off material from the group's new record Living Thing (out March 31st on Almost Gold Recordings/StarTime International).

The night started out with free pink martinis and wine, as media and industry folk (many running around with cameras) hobnobbed with VIPs and guests at the formal event, part of the W NY Hotel's Wanderlust luxury music event series. The crowd settled into place just in time for the angelic, mid-paced opening song "Just the Past," which announced the atmosphere-heavy mood of the band's new album.

Probably my favorite tune of the night came with "It Don't Move Me," a Faint-esque electro mash-up with claves, snapping synth drums, and locomotive bass. Its lyrics seemed to highlight the band's departure from melody-driven "Young Folks"-style songs with lines like "History is done...I can run much faster when nothing weighs me down." In that uptempo vein, the band suceeded - the propulsive dance chorus of "Lay It Down," for example ("Hey, shut the fuck up, boy," it goes) worked even in the cold, cavernous room.

The creepy children's-voice sample of single "Nothing to Worry About," however, didn't do anything to breach the gap created by the echo-heavy vocals and already distant atmosphere of the event (though the massive, resounding PA sounded great soaking into the sound-proofed walls).

But the band works best on crowd-centered energy, built upon songs like "Young Folks," the night's of-course encore. The guys jumped through the hit accompanied by Heather D'Angelo from Au Revoir Simone and someone named Chris, who furiously pounded out the song's usually subdued bongo part.

It was the energy of that track that broke through the mingling suits and clanking martini glasses, reaffirming the power of the single - a reaction I'm sure the band hopes to recreate with new-album songs at its many scheduled dates this summer.

Coming up, Peter Bjorn and John return to Europe, then set out on a US tour with Chairlift, visiting NYC for two basically-sold-out NYC shows at the end of April (MHOW and Webster Hall).

Afterward, PB & J travel with Depeche Mode, playing two NYC gigs at Madison Square Garden. Tickets are on sale for the August 3rd and the recently added August 4th shows.

More pics from the W New York hotel show, below...

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

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Comments (10)

Full setlist anyone?

Posted by Anonymous | March 25, 2009 7:30 AM

That guy playing bongos is named Kris Englehartden Eeikenhorpt, he's a swedish percussionist that also happens to be an heir to the Eeikenhorpt Salted Fish empire. I met him in the Kmart bathroom at astor place once. Nice guy. a little creepy, but come on, he's swedish.

Posted by Joe | March 25, 2009 9:54 AM

here's a version of "It Don't Move Me" recorded live in-studio.

http://thealternateside.org/news/2009/mar/18/video--studio-peter-bjorn-and-john-pt-2/

Posted by Anonymous | March 25, 2009 10:06 AM

I'm pretty sure that dude Chris works at Uva Wines.

Posted by Anonymous | March 25, 2009 11:07 AM

ha! I'm the Chris who played the bongos, and yes I work at Uva Wines. I play with Adam Green and a band called Spacecamp. I'm not Sweedish unfortunately, just a dude from Brooklyn who's never been in the bathroom at Kmart.

Posted by chris egan | March 25, 2009 1:03 PM

chris, if you want to deny the magical few hours we spent at the kmart bathroom at astor place, then go ahead. but it lives on in my mind as one of the only times I have ever truly connected with another human being at such a base level. and I've met Danny Glover, yes, that's right, Capt.Sam Cahill himself of Operation Dumbo Drop.

you son of a bitch.

Posted by joe | June 2, 2009 12:01 AM

ok ok, let's sort this all out. I am an heir to the Eeikenhorpt Salted Fish empire, I did meet joe in the bathroom of Kmart, but it was just to borrow some toilet paper and maybe hold hands. I was also an extra in Major League II! Also, I was in Shine A light with the Rolling Stones! I played Ron Wood's guitar tech. I will be signing copies of my Rolodex at the farmers market in union square next tues at 7pm. If anyone has Tal Wilkenfeld's email, please send it to me via these comments asap.

Posted by chris egan | June 2, 2009 1:27 AM

Although the building is amazing, I must ask if we feel we need to be building such over sized buildings when there are so many unoccupied and in need of repair. In the age of conservative behavior and approach this does not appear suitable.

Posted by دردشة | November 16, 2010 9:04 PM

Although the building is amazing, I must ask if we feel we need to be building such over sized buildings when there are so many unoccupied and in need of repair. In the age of conservative behavior and approach this does not appear suitable.

Posted by شات | November 16, 2010 9:04 PM

Although the building is amazing, I must ask if we feel we need to be building such over sized buildings when there are so many unoccupied and in need of repair. In the age of conservative behavior and approach this does not appear suitable.

Posted by شات كتابي | November 16, 2010 9:05 PM

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