​Peter Bjorn and John

LeBreton Flats Park, Ottawa ON, July 7

Photo: Chris Bubinas

BY Daniel SylvesterPublished Jul 8, 2016

For a group that hasn't had a significant hit in a decade, Peter Bjorn and John attracted a robust and animated crowd during night one of the sprawling nine-day RBC Bluesfest.
Headlining the festival's smallest outdoor stage, the Swedish trio benefitted from opening night enthusiasm, putting together a high-energy set that had the crowd dancing and shouting along. Entering the stage with matching blue jackets adorned with gas station attendant-style name tags and joined onstage by keyboardist Klaus and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Freya, PB&J kicked off their set with "Up Against the Wall" from their 2006 breakthrough LP, Writer's Block.
Surrounded by smoke machines and a simple lighting setup, the band's stage show resembled a club setting, as vocalist Peter Morén made great use of the small stage, immediately jumping down onto the front speakers to get closer look at the fervent crowd. Moving into a trio of songs from their latest album, Breaking Point, the quirky and eclectic nature of their new material fared well onstage as Morén and bassist Bjorn Yttling played a loose and amiable set that saw the former ascending into the crowd to perform "It Don't Move Me," the sole track from 2009's Living Things.
As the set rolled down, Peter Bjorn and John pulled out a few fan favourites, including the wildly popular "Young Folks," which saw Freya magnetically fill in for Taken by Trees' Victoria Bergsman on co-lead vocals. Although they unfortunately ignored a large portion of their catalogue, mostly sticking to tracks from their new album, Peter Bjorn and John put in the hard work to show the crowd that they more than deserved their headlining status.


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