Peter Bjorn and John + Fujiya and Miyagi at Neumo’s | 13 May 2007
Peter Bjorn and John brought their three man Swedish pop juggernaut to Seattle on Sunday night for back to back shows, same night same place. These guys are workhorses, when the first show sold out, a second earlier show was added to the same night. I had tickets to the late show, but the old man in me was kinda wishing I had gone to the early one. I arrived at Neumo’s to find a line of people snaking down the block. When you see a line that goes for entire city block, you wonder how all those people are going to fit into the place, kinda like when you’re at the gate at the airport with a ton of people and you wonder how they’re all gonna fit in that plane.
Openers Fujiya and Miyagi came out and did a short 30 minute set of their dancy Neu!-Can-Lab sound. I really like their album, but these guys should really think about getting a drummer. Their set just didn’t pop, it was good but a drummer could have made it so much better. Singer and guitarist David Best has these weird vocal sounds he makes with his mouth, that are kinda funny, and at times sounds a lot like Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays. By the end of their set they had a lot people movin’ and gettin’ down, which really is the purpose of an opening band.
PB&J (sorry) came out totally fresh, you never would have known that they did the same show a few hours ago. They started the set with a feedback and noise drenched Roll the Credits with Peter and Bjorn decked out in modish suites and John in a cool Charlie Brown sweater. With their haircuts and clothes, I felt like I was stepping back in time to Hamburg in the early 60’s. Their sparse sound on record is much fuller and dynamic in the live setting, where the albums are very percussive, live they are all about the guitar and bass freak-out crescendoing again and again. Drummer, John more than holds his own though, with dramatic bashing and water spitting. Bjorn reminded me of a young Peter Hook with his half beard and the way he let his bass hang really low.
Really, every song was a so good, but the krautrock version of The Chills was a real highlight, taking the song in totally different direction than on record. It could have been Fujiya and Miyagi (with a live drummer) doing a cover of it. Up Against the Wall was another one of my favorites from the set, and another cacophonous freakout which closed the main set.
There was no Victoria Bergsman, or anyone for that matter to come up and duet for Young Folks, only a myspace fan who came up and played bongos and did her best imitation of Bez. Victoria did show up indirectly when they did their cover of the Concretes’ Teen Love. They said goodbye with mellow Collect, Select, Reflect from their first self-titled album. I was wondering how many people would leave after they did Young Folks midway through the set. Nobody moved, because these guys are anything but one hit wonders.