TVD Live: Peter Bjorn and John, Lincoln Hall, 8/25

I’m usually very frugal with my money. I try to live a modest life and avoid purchasing extravagant things (though I’m a sucker for purchasing many cheap things at once – i.e. cd’s from resale shops). Once in a great while though, I binge. I binge hard. This time around it was on tickets, and I was fortunate enough to secure some Peter Bjorn and John tickets for their “All You Can Eat” tour at Lincoln Hall before they sold out.

Life was good. Life, actually, remains good, since the show was fantastic.

The opening band, The 1900s, was an excellent choice to open for PB&J. Coming into their set and not knowing who they were at all, I was definitely impressed. The 1900s knew exactly how to get to that place where their music was just right. On top of it all, they’re an interesting band to interact with on stage, asking the audience at one point to move back because it was odd that we were crowding them. Their style really complimented the headlining Peter Bjorn and John.

Lincoln Hall was wonderful. I feel like that is a bit of an understatement, but I can’t think of appropriate words to describe the sound quality. The night previous to this show, I found myself at the “Scream It Like You Mean It” tour at the Bottom Lounge. I know the genres of music are quite different, but I could hear everything so clearly at Lincoln Hall.

All the small nuances of tambourines and picks hitting the strings of guitars… all of it. It wasn’t a big muddy mess of voices and instruments, but instead a perfect platform for the more artful music that Lincoln Hall attracts. The venue has a large floor for the audience that is flanked by a bar, small tables, and an upstairs balcony for those who prefer a bit of distance between the performance and themselves. There is not one single factor that would stop me from returning.

They began with a few songs from their new album and moved onto playing songs from their entire career, dating back to their first album Peter Bjorn and John. I’m always so appreciative of that because, more than once, I’ve been let down when a band only covers one album of their work.

Being in a band has always been a little fantasy of mine; unfortunately, there are some major obstacles in my way. For instance, my 8th grade training in classical clarinet doesn’t necessarily translate over into the genre I would prefer to pursue. There are some musicians, though, that really reinforce the idea of being on stage, loving the music you write, and simply rocking out. Peter Morén is one of them.

The energy he radiated was contagious and… fun. He orchestrated the necessary sing-a-long to “Dig A Little Deeper”, walked into the audience, struggled back up on stage, and danced so enthusiastically it began to just turn into excited shaking. To put it very simply, Peter Bjorn and John put on a fun show.

And the fun didn’t end there. They walked off stage, and the all too familiar wait began. The lights didn’t turn back on; no staff began to usher us out. Typical, but when the band came back on stage, they played at least a twenty minute encore. My heart fluttered. As the second song ended, I prepared to head towards the back, but then they just kept playing! They were definitely working off the energy from the audience, and luckily for us there was a lot of it.

As far as concerts go, a friend and I determined that there are some shows that are “T-Shirt Shows” and some shows that aren’t. Although I highly enjoyed their set and would absolutely buy tickets to see them again, I didn’t find it life changing enough to warrant a shirt purchase. I’m also far too unemployed and frugal (see first line). That in no way, however, is meant to devalue the awesome performance I experienced. The show was entertaining. The musicians were both talented and passionate. I am very fortunate that my moment of weakness with a credit card in hand resulted in such a pleasant show.

You can pick up Peter Bjorn and John’s latest album Gimme Some on vinyl, and check out the music video for the lead single “Second Chance” below. PB&J are back in Chicago tonight, playing Schuba’s for another sold out show.

Alyssa Welch is a designer and illustrator living in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago. When she is not drinking coffee, at a show, or streaming music from her disheveled garage-turned-studio, she can be found drawing pictures of the fun times she has drinking coffee, at a show, or streaming music from her disheveled garage-turned-studio.

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