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Bjorn in the USA: Peter, Bjorn and John Play The Roxy

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New wave/Swedish pop cuties Peter, Bjorn and John played a sold out show at the Roxy last Thursday to an attractive crowd of hip haircuts and industry contacts.

The lights blinked perfectly mod (like big, candy buttons) and dotted a pattern of emerald with fuchsia and robin’s egg blue with burnt orange. A buzzy, space-age cue ushered them to the stage, and they greeted us with a shy hello.

This was their first performance in Los Angeles, and they seemed genuinely surprised, almost embarrassed, that so many people knew about them and were in attendance. Amazingly, the humility did not read as pandering, and they delivered a confident, easy set of upbeat pop, embellished with whistling, smiling and good intros.

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Peter Morén sang with earnest fervor, and bounced around the stage like a little kid in a Chuck E. Cheese ballpit -- that is, to say, with glee, not swagger. Resembling a cleft-chinned, Nordic Travolta, Björn Yttling held up stage right and meted out sweet harmonies and bop-worthy bass lines. His solo vocal efforts were a bit unfrozen-caveman-lawyer, but still charming, even during a bout of forgotten lyrics.

I heard a rumor that an impostor John Eriksson was playing drums that evening, but no real evidence has surfaced to substantiate the claim. An obstructed view (and lack of mental picture for the real John Eriksson) made it difficult to confirm on my own.

Cutiepie pixie Victoria Bergsman (and her adorable hair) joined them onstage for a crowd pleasing version of “Young Folks,” complete with an Ashlee Simpson whistle-track. It was flirty and Human League-ish but without the backtalk. Peter did well to keep up with the lip syncing until the inevitable WHISTLEGATE, at which time he was bested by the track as it played atop his vocals.

Perhaps an excess of American Idol has lowered my standard for acceptable performance, but still, I have to disagree with the disagreers who say the PB&J sound does not hold up live. I thought the music is much warmer in person.

PB&J in LA @ The Roxy
Video “Let’s Call It Off” (via YouTube)
Video “Young Folks” (via YouTube)

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Download "Young Folks" (courtesy of Pitchfork)

Photo by tammylo via Flickr