Kicking off their 2017 European tour last night at the 02 Academy in Bournemouth, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox really made sure their opening night captured everyone’s attention. The music collective known a PMJ have grown in popularity since being formed in 2011 by Bradlee, uploading weekly videos of their signature vintage pop song covers to their YouTube account which has just over 2.5 million subscribers. It’s easy to understand their worldwide fan base as the group’s covers in Jazz and Swing styles ooze charisma and make you want to get up and dance!
The scene was set with a golden draped background which glimmered out as the audience waited for the show to start. As the houselights dimmed, Benny Goodman’s Sing Sing Sing drum beat filled the venue, which then weaved in the horn section’s instrumental rendition of The Final Countdown, getting everyone eager for the start of the show. Gorgeous Ariana Savalas graced the stage and introduced herself as the hostess for the evening and eased everyone’s spirits with her sultry charm and quick wit. Her introductions and commentary throughout the night pieced together the musical numbers and had the crowd hanging onto her every word.
She introduced the first song which started slowly with frontman Von Smith captivating the audience with his smooth blues vocals, as Call Me Maybe began to play out the tempo picked up into a Ragtime number causing the audience to dance and sing along with the catchy tune. This really was an insight into what the show would be like, full of character and energy, not stopping for a minute to breathe. After being introduced to the stage, Casey Abrams came on in a nonchalant manner and began to balance his guitar upside down on one finger; he then proceeded to drink a beer with his free hand, receiving a massive round of applause from a very entertained crowd.
The onstage five-piece band led covers of pop hits like Bye Bye Bye, Ignition and MMMbop all recreated through a vintage lens. The whole evening ran smoothly and energetically, with slower songs to break up the pace but there was definitely no lull during the show. The group were on for 2 hours and performed 20 songs, not including their spectacular encore with 2 covers and individual performances from each of the musicians. Watching the group on stage it was apparent how much they love what they do; each member is appreciated, called out by name and as the audience you really get an intimate sense of the fun this music collective has on stage.
This felt more like a retro cabaret than a gig, the group included the audience at any possible moment. One of the stand out points of the night being Ariana singing a cheeky rendition of Pony by Ginuwine and bringing a gentleman up onto stage whilst she danced around him. I thoroughly enjoyed this show as there was never a dull moment; it felt like being invited to a secret party that travelled through the past filled with barbershop quartets, burlesque and tap dancing. After watching some of PMJ’s Youtube videos I had an idea of the genre of the performance but their show exceeded my expectations by a long stretch. I was completely captivated by the stage presence of the group and couldn’t help but dance along with each number.
Postmodern Jukebox’s show was like nothing I’ve ever been to before, it was entertaining from beginning to end, full of theatrics and charm. I would highly recommend it to anyone that likes to have a good time. The group are touring the UK until late March; grab your tickets before it’s too late!