Friday, June 3, 2011

5. Peter, Bjorn & John at the Granada, 6/2/11

5. Peter, Bjorn & John at the Granada.
Oh boy, Slobberbone's coming!

Tickets were $24 at the door.  It wasn't a sold-out crowd but both levels were pretty full.  The crowd was more or less evenly mixed gender-wise.  As usual, the Granada as a venue delivered the goods: great sound, flashy but not distracting lighting, plentiful bar service, etc.  It's almost unfair to compare a show at the Granada with a show at some other venues, because you're going to get bands at their best at the Granada.  And you won't be grumbling about the line at the bar, either.

Anyway.  Peter, Bjorn & John.  They started around 9:20.

Not pictured: infectious hooks, youthful energy.

Neither one of us was familiar with this band when we walked in.  But the Swedish power trio is apparently Big With the Kids --- they wowed a Dallas crowd at the Grenada last night, and it seems they were pleased in turn at the enthusiastic welcome they received.

Despite not knowing the band's music, we were immediately on board.  This was a show with lots of jumping about, infectious shouts of "whoaa-oh!" and the expected call-backs, the drummer twirling sticks over his head, frenetic step-dancing, leaps and stage slides and almost-splits, Pete Townshend-style windmilling. These guys are showmen.

And it's plain that they work hard to put a show together. All three are highly accomplished musicians who work well together, delivering an energetic show that never flagged.

What to call their sound?  Arena pop, maybe --- loud and crunchy.  They're somewhat evocative of the bands that blur the lines of genre and experiment with sound: Flaming Lips, Devo, Sufjan Stevens. But they also recall some of the peppier Brit-pop or even pop-punk: think Housemartins or Buzzcocks.

Want another viewpoint?  Granada owner Mike Schoder said they pleasantly surprised him by being more rock, Clash-like.  This isn't readily apparent, perhaps, but if you think about how the Clash branched out into other genres (most notably in Sandinista!), the comparison is intriguing. 

Sometimes the songs were stoney and sluggish, like a jam band.  Then there'd suddenly be a surf guitar.  Then a guitar would be making whale sounds.  Then we'd all be swaying to a ballad.  Oh, and there was some harmonica, too.

The crowd was loud and zealous, cheering when favorite songs were announced. We could see many people singing along to every word.  In the brief quiet moments between songs, the crowd clapped and stomped rhythmically, chanting "PB&J!" over and over --- not, as one might assume from the smell of doobie permeating the place, because they had the munchies and wanted a sandwich. No, they were chanting the initials of the band, of course.  Shame on you for even thinking that other thing.

No, it was a very nice, appreciative crowd.  Mostly young.  The pit was full of insanely attractive young people wearing very little.

A girl climbed to the stage and danced for a good thirty seconds before being led gently away by a crew member.  It was kind of a shame.  She wasn't a bad dancer.

We felt bad that we were, as our friend T noted, blogging instead of rocking.  This was the kind of show that hits the body more than the brain.

Apparently, they promised to play their hit naked if the Mavs won, but though the win came through, no naked playing came about.

Suddenly, R realized that he was, in fact, familiar with at least one of their songs: "Objects of My Affection."  It was still all new to N, who is more obdurately ignorant of the New Stuff These Days.

At the second encore, the group had a wardrobe change.  Not sure why.  They proclaimed, "We have only a box of CDs, no other merchandise, but we're happy to sign whatever you've got."  Nice people, these Swedes.

In sum:  PB&J are fun, loud, eminently danceable. They're full of energy and talented.  They work hard to put on a show for the kids, and come off as having fun themselves while they're doing it.  We'd see them again any time... but we didn't buy any albums.

Oh, and we figured a lot of dudes were going to be getting lucky afterwards.  So there's that.

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