At some point, when the musician you're watching keeps pogoing around the stage and gesturing for you to join him, you're probably going to give in. But when that band is the infectious Peter Bjorn and John, you have no choice.
PB&J is a Swedish pop band known for its big hit, "Young Folks," a sweet, sticky confection powered by a whistle solo that had half of Europe pursing its lips last year. Already a sensation abroad, the trio is making its debut in the States now that its latest album, "Writer's Block," has been released here.
Friday night 's sold-out show at the Paradise was as good as any rolling out of the red carpet. And the band could feel the love: "You're making a very good first impression, Boston," bassist-singer Bjorn Yttling told the crowd.
PB&J (the band said it hates peanut butter and jelly, by the way) makes music in which big, primitive guitar riffs square off directly with '60s pop hooks and post-punk production tricks. If it reminds you of Joan Jett one minute, it'll probably sound like the Kinks or the Jesus and Mary Chain the next.
"Young Folks" loomed large, starting with a sitar version of it that played as the band took the stage. Too much reverb on the guitars stripped the opening "Objects of My Affection" of its thunderous wall of sound featured on the album.
Other times, the live versions trumped the originals. "Amsterdam" lost the stomp of the album take for a quasi-unplugged rendition, with just Yttling singing to guitarist-singer Peter Moren's electric guitar for an unlikely audience sing along.
Moren, caroming off his bandmates as if competing at the high school talent show, proved that a little accent goes a long way in charming the crowd. Before launching into "The Chills," he pointed out that he can't pronounce the song title correctly, rendering it "the shills" instead. "Ahhh," went the ladies.
"Young Folks," of course, was the big crowd-pleaser, though it was hard to tell if Moren's whistle was live or pre-recorded (I'm guessing a little of both). The female part was originally sung by Victoria Bergsman, formerly of the Concretes. But Heather D'Angelo of Au Revoir Simone, the all-female keyboard band that opened the show, was a suitable replacement, all coy smiles while tossing her long hair in Moren's direction.
Earlier , Fujiya & Miyagi primed the crowd with a set of pulsating electronic rock and detached vocals that would have made Michael Hutchence , the late INXS frontman, proud.
James Reed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.