Peter Bjorn & John @ Lincoln Hall 5/7/11 – Late Show

I can’t decide if I am jaded having seen Peter Bjorn & John live twice before or if their performance in the late show on Saturday at Lincoln Hall was wrought with insincere posing. 

Frontman Peter Moren left the stage and played guitar, harmonica and sang on the floor amidst the audience no less than three times during the set.  There is no doubt Moren enjoys performing.  He was jumping while playing solos on guitar sometimes shredding in the face of the front row, but in returning for their first of two encores Moren felt the need to tell us how much the band loves playing live and how genuine their lust for the stage is.

The set was heavily loaded with songs from their recent record Gimme Some and somewhat surprisingly a fair amount of cuts from the 2009 album Living Thing, which in my estimation were the best songs of the night.  PB&J performed as a three-piece, minus the aid of keyboards forcing them to rearrange songs successfully in some cases, but somewhat curiously in others.  I was disappointed in the way a few Writer’s Block tracks manifested themselves and the lack of tunes from the pre-“Young Folks” era. 

Rightly or wrongly, I felt at times like I was watching manufactured exuberance which left me feeling flat.  It seems PB&J wrestle with the desire to be an experimental Motorik-inspired band (“I Know You Don’t Love Me” & “Black Book”) and other times a pure pop band.  What they haven’t found is the happy medium between these two elements.

Setlist:

1. May Seem Macabre

2. It Don’t Move Me

3. Eyes

4. Second Chance

5. Dig A Little Deeper

6. Tomorrow Has To Wait

7. Black Book

8. Let’s Call It Off

9. Objects of My Affection

10. I Know You Don’t Love Me

 Encore 1

11. Nothing To Worry About

12. Up Against the Wall

13. Breaker, Breaker

 Encore 2

14. Stay This Way

15. Young Folks

16. Lies

17. Lay It Down

18. Down Like Me

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