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Swedish Delight

by Victoria Wasylak

Photo courtesy of Facebook

Five songs—that’s how long it took Peter Bjorn and John to break free from the stage last night, September 25, at Royale nightclub. Amongst the faux-Roman statues and Victorian lacquer of Royale, Peter Morén catwalked on the venue’s marble tables, microphone and extension cord in hand, very likely to the dismay of Royale managers.

Americans don’t talk about Sweden very often, but when they do, the hot topic of conversation is usually the country’s musicians. ABBA, Tove Lo and Robyn all hail from the pop powerhouse, but Peter Bjorn and John mark a different genre of Swedish flavor. The trio, perhaps best known for the menacing whistle on “Young Folks” ended their American tour last night at Royale, which was perhaps three sizes too big for the gig. Nevertheless, the fans crammed onto Royale’s dancefloor gobbled up the wildly varied tunes, not minding the empty space in the rest of the dance hall.

Peter Bjorn and John’s sound blends together as a sort of soft-rock for the new generation, although Morén had a few hair metal guitar moves stored up, from the aggressive strum ’n’ kick, to the 180-degree guitar solos. At other times, he held the guitar dearly in a bear hug like someone who was just introduced to their fifteen minutes of fame and is drinking it in with a child-like enthusiasm, despite their decade-plus of mainstream success. Bassist Bjorn Yttling and drummer John Erikson, on the other end of the spectrum, remained more subdued and quiet, Yttling sometimes announcing song titles from their catalogue and noting which ones came out the same year that the Bruins won the Stanley Cup—an easy way to win instant respect from any Bostonian. The method is also a great prep for snappy song like “Dig A Little Deeper” where the trio boldly states “all art has been contemporary.”

The trio especially shined on the last two songs pre-encore, when they covered the punk hit “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones and flaunted some funk on original tune “Dominoes.” At close to a nintey minute set, the Swedes finished strong in Boston with regards to their Breaking Point tour. Ardent strummers City of The Sun brought an instrumental tour de force to the stage, also emptying the last of their energy on the last night of the tour on tunes that conjured up images that were equal parts Celtic and ethnic.

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