Peter, Bjorn and John at The Corner Hotel

New South Wales singer/songwriter, Hein Cooper, took to the stage and introduced himself to a half full room – quite a turnout for the support act! Playing tracks from his newly released debut album, his charm and simple guitar melodies filled the room, all while the audience was taken aback by how tall he is! Fresh off the plane from Europe and Canada, where he’s been touring for a few months, you can tell how much he’s learnt and developed his live set.

The overall vibe was very relaxed and his album is very breezy, delightful and carefree. I think his songs really resonated with the crowd, playing heart-felt ballads enhanced electronically through the loop pedal. My favourite song of the night was ‘Curse My Life’, as the rawest and most stripped back. His performance was incredibly poignant; it’s as though this song in particular is still pretty fresh, the lyrics seem so personal and explicit but it manages to remain relatable. There was a definite balance between beautifully written ballads and instrumentally-sound, upbeat tracks, making his set incredibly diverse and keeping the attention of the crowd.

The huge hit ‘Rusty’, for which he received awesome feedback from Triple J, went down a treat. People were dancing and singing along, even though this was probably their first encounter with the song. It’s so catchy. He finished with his title track ‘The Art of Escape’. This was another unbelievable set from a rising folk star and to top it all off Hein’s Dad manned his merch stand. CUTE.

By the end of Hein’s set, the room was full. Peter, Bjorn & John were up, joined by two additional touring musicians, Freya and Klaus. The trio have so many different sounds on the new record Breakin’ Point and it was really wonderful to see how these translated from digital to live. The energy was infectious.

I remember hearing their song ‘Young Folks’ on Grey’s Anatomy nine years ago, when I was twelve years old. I’ve been a huge fan ever since, buying their record Gimme Some in 2011 and being unbelievably excited for their 2016 album tour. It’s amazing how they’ve managed to retain their dynamic. It’s hard to believe these guys are 40 years old, with the only young folk in the band being Freya. They’re so vibrant and it was great to see their energy reflecting on the crowd. Must be something in the water in Sweden.

Guitarist, Peter Morén, was the most amusing and charming of the trio, pulling faces, jumping everywhere and even getting off stage and walking through the crowd, much to the dismay of his crew. The crowd loved it. I was lucky enough to be standing on the second stage and was able to have a complete birds eye view of his shenanigans. Their songs ‘Domino’ and ‘Second Chance’ were highlights. The audience turned into a semi-mosh, with everyone into it and possibly very drunk by this point.

And then it happened, Freya came to the front to perform the much anticipated ‘Young Folks’ with Peter and Bjorn. They couldn’t have done it better, Freya was such a natural on the stage and incredibly talented – she is truly an enormous asset to the band. The gig went into nostalgia mode, paying homage to their biggest hit whilst touring their seventh album – what a band! I left the Corner Hotel in Richmond having just been to my number one gig of 2016, exceedingly satisfied, expectations pulverized, Hein Cooper signed vinyl in hand. If only Peter Bjorn & John had had a merch stand.\

PHOTOS: Peter Bjorn and John in Melbourne.

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