Indie rock is all over the place these days and has really taken over Austin, be it local or national touring acts. There is so much of it being spoon fed to people through numerous indie blogs that it can be overwhelming for the average music lover seeking new music to follow. While a lot of this indie rock is good, most of it is forgettable, to say the least. Then there is the Swedish trio that named their band after their own names, Peter Bjorn and John (PB&J). While I wasn’t completely sold on PB&J for the past couple of years or so, I’m convinced after Wednesday night that they are the real deal and here to stay. In fact, I am now convinced that they are what a good indie band should sound like. The sold-out crowd at Antone’s can probably attest to that.
Opening the show Wednesday night was indie newcomers Oax. The project of Giorgio Angelini, who was once the bassist for The Rosebuds and Bishop Allen, Oax brings together indie with Americana. According to Angelini’s humorous banter in between songs, Wednesday night was also their first show ever. Performing original songs from their debut EP, This Distance, Oax kept it light and played a solid set. It wasn’t really a good fit to open for PB&J, especially in front of a crowd that mostly came to hear one commercially successful song, “Young Folks.” Some attendees enjoyed Oax, but most didn’t. In front of a more indie-folk audience, they would be well-received.
The Swedish headliners were received with a lot of enthusiasm right out of the gate. The crowd needed to wake up a little after Oax and that they did. Dawning their fitted suit jackets and slacks, PB&J’s look was as chic as their music. Much to my personal delight, most of the set was dominated by songs from their new album, Gimme Some. It made perfect sense, given that it’s the record they are touring to support, but also because it is their best record to date.
Things really pepped up when the trio pumped out their latest single four songs in, “Second Chance,” and they pretty much kept the high energy show going. Other great highlights included the audience singing along to “Dig A Little Deeper” and “I Know You Don’t Love Me.” For moment there I felt like I was in a time warp back to the late ‘60s when PB&J performed “Tomorrow Has To Wait.” It reminded me of something I would have found in my dad’s record collection from The Mommas and Papas or even The Turtles.
After their set, PB&J of course came out for not one but two encores. They had to after all because the crowd wanted them too and they had yet to play their biggest commercial hit, “Young Folks.” I thought for sure they’d close their show with it, even though I secretly hoped they wouldn’t play it. Much to my surprise, they didn’t close with “Young Folks” but rather a non-single off of Gimme Some, “Lies.” It was a great closer and a great end to one of the best shows of the year for me thus far. PB&J were even so gracious as to sign autographs and take photos with everyone who wanted to afterwards. That graciousness and their music further prove my previous statement; PB&J are the real deal and not just a passing indie fad.
(Peter, Bjorn and John performed at Antone’s on June 1, 2011)