Peter, Bjorn & John energize Miami
September 23, 2011
Bardot, Miami, FL
Written by Brennan Forsyth
The concert season in South Florida is more often than not a feast-or-famine affair and Stockholm, Sweden’s Peter, Bjorn and John may be the harbinger of what could be the most amazing series of live touring acts we’ve seen here in quite some time.
There was nearly a full-on crunch at the intimate Bardot in Miami’s Design District with dozens of 20- and 30-somethings dressed in everything from skinny jeans and Converse shoes to designer shirts and black dresses crammed in between the bar and floor space allocated for the band, trying desperately to hold on to the precious few inches of space they staked out and not lose it to someone who was just trying to get to the door.
Though movement was at the very least treacherous the upscale venue, which is more like the tastefully decorated, 1960s-era living room of an art enthusiast than a club, proved to have amazing acoustics and was the perfect setting for PB&J’s brand of indie rock.
They took the stage just after 10:40, walking onto the floor to the disjointed, synthed-out strains of Also Sprach Zarathustra against a Swedish flag projected on the wall behind them. With little candor Peter, Bjorn and John started the set with the deliberate, percussive “Tomorrow Has To Wait” off of 2011’sGimme Some as the projector flipped through pictures of football matches and expressionist photography. The projector would serve as an outlet for their wry and ironic humor throughout the evening, displaying a message between songs reading “This is the default ‘between song’ screen. While they talk and say funny stuff.”
It can take a lot to warm up a Miami crowd but Peter, Bjorn and John pressed on past the initially tepid response and launched into the second song of the night, the garage-tinged “Eyes” from the new album before going into “Let’s Call It Off” from Writer’s Block. Footage of police chases, tennis matches and the film Animal House flickered on the screen as Peter, Bjorn and John worked every bit of the postage stamp sized area that was their stage as though they were in a venue four times as large.
“Okay, that was only half the room,” Peter Morén teased as he coached the crowd on the harmony to “Dig A Little Deeper” and the call and response of their theme to the evening: “Loud! Enthusiastic! Slightly Drunk!” The crowd now fully engaged, Peter stepped out into the throng to play a down and dirty harmonica accompaniment on a brooding version of “Nothing To Worry About.”
They owned the crowd and every square foot of the ‘stage’ for the remainder of their 12-song set, later delivering a stripped-down version of their 2006 song “Young Folks,” a song that has been remixed a dozen different ways but is just as compelling and righteous on its own. The highlight of the set was the soaring “Objects of My Affection” where Peter again ventured into the crowd during a pounding, tribal breakdown from John Eriksson’s drums before wrapping up the 1 hour and 7 minute set with a furious rendering of “Down Like Me.”
As the feedback from the final chord rang and screeched through the applause and cheers in the intimate venue PB&J thanked the crowd before walking briskly to the exit and to their waiting bus. The projection screen then faded from the Swedish flag to a black screen with white text reading ‘Not Bad. Nice one, Miami, Florida.’ Likewise, fellas.