Friday, May 1

My Camera Phone Will Not Be Denied: Peter Bjorn and John at Webster Hall

Those of you who know my last name know that I’m a proud Swede on my Dad’s side; a “svenska pojke,” as my grandmother used to call me. (It means “Swedish nancy boy.”) Oh, how often I've wanted to add a "j" to my name to make it Tjim. (It would still be pronounced the way my mama says it: "Tee-um".)

Anyway, as a result of my being a stone cold Swede, sort of, I have an inborn connection to any music coming out of Sweden. It’s why I’ve seen the Cardigans twice. Twice. Unnecessary, right? (Yes. Unnecessary.) It’s also why I agree with the historical fact that ABBA is one of the best bands ever (This is proven by science, and I don’t have to defend myself, so shut up, snobs.) And why I think it’s a tragedy that Komeda is not a household name and The Knife will one day save the world (after first scaring it shitless).

So of course I had a great time at the Peter Bjorn and John show at Webster Hall the other night with my non-Swedish Italian friend Alex. (Grazie for treating, Alex!) PB&J put on a great show and are freakin’ adorable. And they played “Young Folks”!

And now a message for the old folks: remember, grandmas and grandpas, when you went to live shows in the days before readily available digital technology that allowed you to photograph and film every freaking thing you saw that you regarded as semi interesting? Remember those days? When you had to just rely on your own memory power to conjure up images of a great concert you went to given by the Sugarcubes (Rialto Theater, Raleigh, 1988) or The Cure (Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, 1989) or Siouxsie and the Banshees (Walnut Creek Ampitheater, Raleigh, 1991), or Juice Newton (Chataqua Ampitheater, Lake Chautauqua, 1982)? When you may not have been able to text your friends all of your impressions in real time, but you could still, I don't know, talk to them about it later?

Those days, ancient mariners, are over. The last two shows I’ve gone to in NYC have proven that beyond any reasonable doubt. At PB&J on Wednesday I was forced to watch the band play “Young Folks” through the LCD screen of some dumb teenager standing right in front of me with his arms and digicam lifted triumphantly in the air for the entire. F**king. Song. That was a lot of fun. And during Ladytron last month a gaggle of dumb kids in front of me and my friend Kelly spent the entire show passing around text messages to and from their friends who weren’t at the show and the sickly glow from their phone screen just about gave me epilepsy. I looked at one of the text messages they sent. It said, “Ladytron’s light show is soooo pretty! OMG!” Really, dummy? Then why don’t you put the phone in your pocket AND F**KING WATCH IT?!

Stupid, meddling kids. (And before you yell at me saying "But Tim, you obviously took a picture with your camera phone, why are you such a hypocrite?!" let me tell you this: I lifted my phone in the air for about 2 seconds to take that picture. And if you can read what the backdrop on the stage says [one word, repeated over and over] without clicking to enlarge, I'll come and sing "Young Folks" at your next bar mitzvah.)