I kid, Bjorn. You were fine. But all in all, it wasn't a great show. Pretty sure it was the most packed I've ever seen The Bowery Ballroom. Like sardines all the way against the back bar and into the stairway. There was lots of downtime between songs, sloppy screw-ups, Bjorn forgetting lyrics, backing whistling tracks and otherwise embarrassing moments, but looking back, the highlights were pretty sweet. Peter's voice is really quite perfect when it comes in at the right time. Young Folks came off almost magically, tho I'm a sucker for that guy-girl trade-off stuff (See: Stars, that Postal Service song with Jenny Lewis, etc.) The way they were looking at each other and bouncing lyrics back and forth was just fantastic. But overall, I left at the beginning of the encore fairly disappointed.
I think it's a really shitty situation for a band to have to play Bowery a day after playing Merc. That's a big step, and I don't think many bands, especially ones without much US touring experience can pull it off. Playing those two rooms are very different experience, and they are meant for two different points in a band's development. I have to imagine that making the jump on back to back nights is a tough one pull off well. Several times throughout the night, I was thinking that the show would seemed so much better in smaller confines. In a room where they could demand the entire audience's full attention.
Which brings me to my next point. Crowds. I'm a very tolerant guy about this stuff, and even if I am annoyed, I will usually keep quiet and not complain cause I really refuse to believe that the way I enjoy a show is the only way anyone should enjoy a show. So if you wanna dance or not dance or sing along or whatever, I don't really care. Or at least I don't blame you. The only unacceptable exception is if you talk while the band is on. I mean fuck. Seriously, just shut your goddamn mouth while the band is playing. If you need to say something, lean over and say it in your friends ear. And keep it short. If you don't like the band, don't like the song or really need to talk about something important, take it to the bar. Every venue I can think of off the top of my head, aside from Sin-e, has a separate bar/lounge area for this explicit purpose. I don't care how drunk you are, how loud your voice is normally, or what you have to say, but there is absolutely no excuse for holding a full conversation at a normal speaking tone while a band is playing in a room where people paid to see them perform. It is unbelievably rude. If you disagree, and I suspect a lot of people do because there was a ton of yabbering throughout the show last night, I would love to hear your reasoning. Please. Send me an email or leave a comment. I'd really like to know. Thanks.
On the bright side, perhaps this show will serve as a caveat for the next hot band coming through town considering the ol' Bowery Presents bait-and-switch?