The Faversham - Leeds
Peter Bjorn And John
The Faversham sort of defines Leeds in many ways, hidden away, this stylish little venue exudes cool but also has drinks prices that may cause you to have to sell a limb to pay for it.
First up is an acoustic chap, I believe to be called DanMo Fo, although regrettably this is just from a cursory glance at some listings that now have been lost in the sands of time. It’s an admirable performance that doesn’t particularly get a lot of attention, mainly down to each song sounding like the last so the unfortunate people who have been there from the start seem more concerned with talking to each other. He also has a very high pitched sound to his voice. In short, he could actually be a girl. In the words of Shania Twain, “sorry that don’t impress me much”.
Next up is the tattooed lanky figure of William Elliot Whitmore who proves to be much more entertaining. Despite the fact that his name is very close to a band that sends a shudder down my spine, the only thing shitty about this Iowan is his equipment that he mentions on more than one occasion. He’s like a less redneck and fictional version of Otis Lee Crenshaw (Rich Hall’s alter ego). Playing a sort of punk bluesy acoustic banjo music, he comes across as a swampy Robert Love or even dare I say it Johnny Cash character. Everything is very much of a ‘heart on sleeve’ kind of vein evident when one of the songs he comments about choosing to kill yourself slowly with alcohol or drugs. He for now at least has some a way of channelling his problems into a nullifying outlet.
A lot of people seem to have been drawn solely for this and after he finishes and says his humble goodbyes a few people leave (these are very hairy fellows wearing Pantera tops however) but in doing so they miss a treat. There is a simplicity about Peter Bjorn and John name that echoes the way the music comes across even when perhaps this doesn’t do them justice. Another interesting thing is how the band copes with the very evident problem that a lot of people are here solely on the basis of one song, the summery ‘Young Folks’.
You’ll have to bear with me as I don’t really know many of the songs names, or in fact have heard many of the songs before but something that strikes me is that they are lot more up tempo than I expected. They are in fact expert at producing songs of brilliant three minute pop quality, so much so that I almost half expect them to defy convention and not play ‘Young Folks’ because, well they don’t need to. But of course they do, and of course it receives the best reaction of the night and of course it is brilliant. With the guitar down the way he struts around and whistles is so Hives it’s uncanny but it doesn’t half work well.
Not every song is a fast pop rock song and others like ‘Amsterdam’ again, is elegantly simple but effective. Maybe with English being the second language it means words aren’t overcomplicated or pretentious. The meaning just comes across better. Don’t bet against these Swedes making a big impact now.
Peter Bjorn and John: www.peterbjornandjohn.com
William Elliot Whitmore: www.williamelliottwhitmore.com