The other day, a Swedish friend of mine casually joked that everyone in his tiny country of 9 million knew each other. Makes sense, I thought, when I noticed that Peter, Bjorn and John chose fellow Scandinavian El Perro del Mar (née Sarah Assbring) as the opening act. I didn't know, however, that the evening would be Peter, Bjorn and John AND friends. I later learned that this Webster Hall show was the third in a month-long birthday tour featuring surprise guests at each stop. Anyway, Spank Rock and two other rappers (didn't catch their names, sorry!) stopped by to drop some beats. Andrew W.K. flailed his arms around for a "dance" number. Though unexpected choices for guests, the appearances provided pleasant counterpoints to PB&J's honey sweet pop. As expected, El Perro del Mar shared vocals with main man Peter Morén for the 2006 hit "Young Folks," a delightful ditty that got the crowd jumping and the floor shaking.
PB&J took on the supporting slot for Depeche Mode's North American tour this past summer. (Curious pairings appear to be a recurring theme for these pop pros.) Those arena gigs must have taught these guys a few tricks - they charmed the crowd with oomph and ease, tearing through a tight set complete with crooning and guitar shredding alike. Morén mentioned that this birthday tour marked the band's 10th year together. May there be many more!