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Peter, Bjorn & John
B2 Club 
By Erik Jansma
Strange, how a very good concert can leave one with a feeling that something just isn’t right. I’ve had it before, and, usually, it’s easy to pinpoint the cause: bad sound, venue too crowded or no-one showed up, gig too short, band can’t play or has become stale, bad atmosphere… But in the case of Peter, Bjorn and John’s performance in B2, it’s far more difficult to get to the root of that unsatisfying feeling. First of all: kudos. Peter, Bjorn and John is one of the best live bands at the moment. Their energy is incredible, their music is interesting and their performance sounds and looks good. So, let’s see what went wrong, because something did. The people I spoke with all liked it, but no-one seemed overly impressed by what was nothing short of an impressive concert. B2 was nicely crowded, meaning that it was a full house, but it was still possible to breathe and reach the bar without having to wrestle. As my “plus one” I took Konstantin. He’s a good friend of mine and has a rather outspoken taste in music. He likes hip-hop, elektro, ska, punk and rock, which more or less sums up the ingredients of what Peter, Bjorn and John present to their public. We met some more friends in the club, so, there were enough familiar faces to share the fun with, as well as to get some opinions from.

Belle & Sebastian was the band that came to mind when Peter, Bjorn and John performed their first song. It sounded far less electronic than its original, if it was indeed the same “It Don’t Move Me”. Konstantin and I nodded approvingly, this was ok. Konstantin wasn’t convinced yet. That changed during “Nothing To Worry About”, with beats and a sample that could have been created by Jay-Z. Now all four of us were moving along to the music. I think it was Peter, who introduced himself, Bjorn and John, and practiced his Russian. Spasibo, Nashe Zdarovye, Durak. With each following song, the Swedes obviously became more comfortable and loosened up further. Bits of Green Day and The Clash were added to menu. It added some edge, some spice, which was good. Then, the main dish was served: Young Folks. Catchy, was Konstantin’s dry comment. This song, finally, revealed the essence of Peter, Bjorn and John: they reinvent music the way they want to, mixing genres into a new, original combination. And, yes, they can sing, play and go crazy on stage. All perfect. Halfway into the set list, everyone in B2 was now hypnotized. And, of course, we, the crowd all wanted more as the lights dimmed for the first time. And more we got indeed.

Peter, Bjorn & JohnMore songs, more beer, more styles. Some friends and I exchanged band names, with every song that was played. Presidents of the USA, Lamb, Gus-Gus, Led Zeppelin, New Order. Oh, and Joy Division, naturally. The encore lasted forever. It was good, long, brilliantly performed, intense. More, more, more! It was too much. This was starting to become The Concert That Never Ended. And that’s where it went wrong. People started leaving, now that every song started to sound like the final one, but never was. My friends, Konstantin and I persisted and stayed. The concert did end at some point and Konstantin immediately left, having had more than enough of everything. I evaluated matter while have a last beer with some friends. If a Swedish Chef treats you with a rich variety of meals, all prepared in the best possible way, at some point you are going to give up. Either because you don’t want to Chicken in the Basket if you just had a Chocolate Mousse for dessert, or because you’re simply stuffed. Do you leave, or do you eat more? If you leave, you may end up with a slightly guilty feeling of upsetting the Chef, but you won’t have any problems with your stomach. Touchy choice. However, in real life, this situation rarely occurs, because both you and the Chef know what’s the balance between a good meal and a feeding frenzy.

It was a brilliant concert, all in all. Slightly too long, but still brilliant. Therefore only a small word of caution to the band: know when a great gig has been great and when stop it. It’s, after all, a thin line between brilliance and insanity.

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