LIVE: Postmodern Jukebox @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 10/25/14
Review by Greg Haymes
Sadly, Puddles the Sad Clown with the Golden Voice, didn’t make it to Troy…
But Postmodern Jukebox carried on without him at their recent concert at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, and no one in the crowd seemed to find fault with the band’s everything-new-is-old-again ethos.
Under the direction of keyboardist-mastermind-architect Scott Bradlee, the five-piece band provided the backing for a constantly rotating array of five different lead vocalists throughout the night, as they re-invented a plethora of current and/or recent hit pop songs as performed in vintage musical styles – primarily 1920s and ’30s jazz.
Yes, it’s a gimmick, but it’s a good gimmick – although it works better in short clips on YouTube (where the band made its name) than it does in a full-length, two-hour concert. Still, the band’s relentlessly upbeat hey-let’s-just-have-some-fun vibe spilled off the stage and into the very nearly sold-out and very, very enthusiastic crowd.
Bradlee initially conjured up the concept, filmed performances of the songs in his NYC apartment with various musicians and singers and posted them on YouTube. And, voila, they were soon a viral video internet sensation.
In concert at the Hall, it was a most interesting cross-generational success. Lots of young folks who readily know the songs of Jason Derulo, Ke$ha and Nickelback wallowed in the ironic but loving re-interpretations, while the older folks thought to themselves, “Hey, this song ‘Die Young’ swings like some of my old favorites.” Whether it was the opening volley of flapper-era interpretations of Derulo’s “Wiggle” and Carly Rae Jensen’s “Call Me Maybe” (both sung by Robyn Adele Anderson), the concert was a serious time-bender.
Christina Gatti threw Britney Spears’ “Womanizer” back in time and took Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” to Weimar cabaret territory. Von Smith dished out Magic!’s “Rude” in pre-Beatles ’60s Bobby Vee style and wrapped up the show with a rousing Motown-ish rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” Emcee Drue Davis transformed hard-rocking Nickelback tunes into soul songs. But it was Ashley Stroud who stole the show with Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and a snappy rendition of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” with tap dancer Alex MacDonald.
Postmodern Jukebox has created a time-warped, musical mash-up ready-made for the Internet Age – plenty of fun, at least while it lasts…
POSTMODERN JUKEBOX SET LIST
Wiggle (Jason Derulo)
Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jensen)
Die Young (Ke$he)
Womanizer (Britney Spears)
(tap dance & percussion routine)
Fancy (Iggy Azalea)
Thrift Shop (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)
Talk Dirty (Jason Derulo)
Straight Up (Paula Abdul)
Drunk in Love (Beyonce)
Love Me Harder (Ariana Grande)
How You Remind Me (Nickelback)
We Can’t Stop (Miley Cyrus)
Anaconda (Nicki Minaj)
Rock Star (Nickelback)
Sweet Child O’ Mine (Guns ‘N Roses)
(solo piano request medley by Scott Bradlee)
Burn (Ellie Goulding)
Shake It Off (Taylor Swift)
Valerie (Amy Winehouse)