I was introduced to Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox a couple of years ago when someone shared a video on Facebook and was immediately hooked. The band is made up of a huge number of incredibly talented musicians and dancers who get together, in various combinations, to make videos of their songs. I believe Scott Bradllee arranges most of the music and he is often seen playing the piano in his living room shoots. All the songs are alternative takes of modern day hits. You might hear a New Orleans Blues version of Don’t Look Back in Anger, or a Janis Joplin version of Teenage Dirtbag. Whatever you hear, you won’t be disappointed. Here are a few of my favourites:
When tickets went on sale for a European tour I knew I had to go. We ended up accidentally double booking ourselves with another event on the same weekend, which was a bit stressful (because we’re no longer in our 20s), but decided to embrace it all as part of my set of challenges.
Luckily we were able to secure the help of Rob’s lovely parents for babysitting duties and sent the dogs off to the kennels for a canine retreat. The show was set to start at 6pm in Birmingham. I had even managed a trip to the hairdressers for added glamour. Some people go dressed up to PMJ concerts and normally this would absolutely be me. Unfortunately our second event this weekend required full costumes and we just couldn’t manage to sort out both. However, we did try:
That’s right, it’s another hat.
After an hour train ride, Birmingham welcomed us with rain and howling winds. It was awhile until the show would start so we bought some snacks and a useless, overpriced umbrella. We then battled our way through the rain to find the venue. Once again I was reminded why I rarely wear heels. I was also really pleased about how much my hair had cost to tame. You can see how pleased I am here:
Finally the doors were opened and our bags were searched and my unopened bag of delicious minstrels was confiscated. I can only presume that there have been issues in the past of minstrel throwing hecklers. I probably do look the sort. By this point I really began to doubt my choices. I was cold and wet, had sore feet and was without chocolate.
Once inside we found ourselves a seat on the balcony. Rob reminisced about his time as a teenager visiting the same venue to see The Barenaked Ladies. Apparently they all threw dry pasta at the stage during one of the songs and suddenly my chocolate confiscation made sense.
We were right in the middle of a row and had an amazing view. We quickly learnt that the people to our left were not very happy about the idea of anyone getting up to buy drinks or visit the bathrooms. The people to our right were fine about it so we made friends and began making joint outings. The show didn’t actually start until 7.30pm and we were jealous of anyone who had eaten beforehand and anyone who had bought tickets downstairs. They were free to wander around and visit the bar as often as they liked. There were also quite a number of them in costume and they looked like fun. Make sure you remember this when you buy your tickets.
Once the show started we were completely blown away. It was even better live than in their videos. I couldn’t even try to single out a favourite. However, the moment the scat singing, trombone playing Aubrey Logan started doing one handed cartwheels, I realised that the talent I was witnessing was something extraordinary.
Casey Abrams was hilarious, Von Smith sang like an angel, Christina Gatti was beautiful and elegant and Ariana Savalas held the whole show together with her wit and fabulous burlesque routine. There was also a tap dancing genius, whose name I can’t remember, and a variety of fantastic musicians that swapped and changed instruments throughout. One even played sax in a full horses mask.
My only criticisms of the evening were that the bars were open the whole time which meant there was the continuous drone of chatter, even through some of the quieter numbers. There were also people constantly filming on their phones. I can’t quite understand why these people had come. All of the songs are on the website. Why come to a concert to watch a tiny screen? Finally, nobody on the balcony got up to dance. It was excruciating to not leap about to such fun music.
The highlight to my evening, other than the fabulous music, was starting a standing ovation at the end. All my pent up dancing energy thrust me on to my feet and I whooped as loudly as I could. I’ve always wanted to start a standing ovation and now I have (I will ignore the fact that everyone on the lower floor were already on their feet).
After the show, the weather had not improved and we were joined on the train by drunk ladies dressed for a Horse and Hound photo shoot, and drunk men dressed in wedding gear having just lost thousands in a casino. Neither group gave me much hope for humanity. However, the third group sat near us talked at length about living by a code. They didn’t go in to much detail about the code, but I’m glad they have one. Mostly they were worried about the situation where Jim knows Jon but Jon doesn’t know Jim. He thinks he knows Jim, but he doesn’t.