As their second show back after a five-year hiatus from touring, Swedish rockers Peter, Bjorn, and John returned to NYC with a first date at Greenpoint’s Rough Trade NYC, before playing Bushwick venue Baby’s All Right.
The show opened with a solo performance by singer-songwriter Okay Kaya, a New Yorker by way of Norway. Strumming through sensual patterns of seventh chords, drifting softly beneath her soulful voice, reminiscent of Nina Simone. The crowd, perceptive to the more intimate environment of her songs were fully immersed in the minimalist soundscapes created by Kaya and her guitar. While at some moments she was apologetic, sensing the tension as being a much more mellow act, before the indie pop bombast of the night’s headliners. She maintained her composure and made the tracks feel less like a coffeehouse and more like a calm before the storm.
Opening with “May Seem Macabre” off their 2011 release “Gimme Some,” Peter, Bjorn, and John tore through the second night of their Brooklyn run. With the majority of their set off their upcoming release “Breakin’ Point” the band has given glimpses of the new album with singles like the title track and its B-side “Dominos.” In comparison to their previous releases, it sounds more like an act on the precipice of playing arenas with a more massive sound with the appeal of their indie pop contemporaries like Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot. However, where the band is uncompromising is the core trio, with the new edition of Claes Björklund on keys and Jennie Abrahamson, a member of Peter Gabriel’s backing band. While as a talented multi-instrumentalist covering percussion and acoustic guitar, her vocals truly go to shine in their encore of “Young Folks.” As a live act, the band has thoroughly developed since their last NYC show at Bowery Ballroom, with singer Peter Morén commanding the stage and leaping throughout the intimate venue in a very classic rock, theatrical manner, often times making eye contact with the photographers and true showmanship.
Peter, Bjorn, & John