Travel Notes – Peter Bjorn and John on Cinco de Mayo

Peter Bjorn and John @ Paradise Rock Club
Boston, MA

Boston was once again the place to be for this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration. The weather was pretty, and everyone of age was having some tequila, toasting “¡salud!” to the end of another year at college. I was at Sunset Cantina with a few friends, drinking margaritas with blue salt on the rim, eating nachos and catching up before the main event at the Paradise Rock Club.

Peter Bjorn and John – the indie rock trio from Sweden that spiraled upward in fandom when they came to the states – was a much-anticipated event. We made every sacrifice to see them play a Cinco de Mayo show together. The last time they did this in Boston was back in 2007, right as they were getting national acclaim for their third major album, Writer’s Block. They were making waves in the indie scene with their single “Young Folks,” and I was promoting them through a local radio station that fostered their rise to fame.  This year, the trio returned to show us something new.

Photo Credit - Diana Wong, Brooklyn Vegan

On one of Boston’s most notorious drinking holidays of the year, the trio (guitarist Peter Morén, bass guitarist Björn Yttling, and drummer John Eriksson) took to the stage and immediately dove into my favorite song, “Up Against the Wall.” It was serendipitous; my friends and I had discussed our favorite songs by them earlier in the night. I was glad this wasn’t just a tour of their new album, Gimme Some, even though that would have been amazing. The tracks they did highlight embodied an optimistic enthusiasm for live performance. They played a variety that spanned over several albums, giving me a taste of everything new and old. They brought a great, frenetic energy to the stage. Their sound was powerful, poppy, new wave and enjoyable all around.

Photo Credit - Diana Wong
Photo Credit - Diana Wong

There were occasional jam sequences that blew my mind, and Peter would sometimes grind into his guitar and improvise solos that made my head bang uncontrollably. He even jumped into the stage a couple times to play his harmonica, and Bjorn would rock the bass in wild support. Even John had his moment, playing his heart out, standing over his drums, banging incessantly while P&B offered instrumental backup. They played an hour-long set, left the stage, and came back with drinks in their hands minutes later, toasting and celebrating before returning to another great set. I regret not staying long enough to thank them personally for an awesome show. It went on until just about midnight, and I eagerly picked up a t-shirt before racing to catch the last train home.