Postmodern Jukebox Swings by Downtown Paris on their Whirlwind European Tour
Since hearing the jazzy swing performance of Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ) in Paris, we’ve been humming melodies as we ride on the metro, belting them out in the shower, tapping our toes and clicking our fingers, bewildered to realise that these honey-soaked renditions are in fact none other than the works of Miley Cyrus, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Nickelback, you heard right folks, even Nickelback!
The sold out Paris show in Pigalle nightspot The Divan was perfectly located with all the smoky, intimate ambience you’d imagine for a swing band or a jazz quartet performing in the red-light district of 1930s Paris. The popularity of PMJ meant that a good view of the stage from the dance floor was hard to come by– especially for those of us who are vertically challenged! However, overall, the stage set-up and acoustics were impressive. Our MC was a real delight and maintained his energy and enthusiasm throughout the show. At regular intervals, mock ads from the 1940s and 1950s were played over the sound system, advertising a range of absurd products including Asbestos cereal. A tap dancer showed his impressive skills throughout several songs, and an astonishingly energetic tambourine player with an infectious smile danced tirelessly throughout, helping to keep audience momentum and energy maintained throughout the whole performance.From the PMJ show in Paris
Our MC opened the show by asking us to forget about today’s modern technological vices, switch off our phones and return to a time before computers, the internet, Facebook and tweeting. The irony is that much of PMJs recent and rapid rise to fame comes from the success of their viral online video: a 1950s-style cover of Miley Cyrus’ own viral song, ‘We Can’t Stop’ (there’s just something about that song– no one can stop listening to it!). This was one of their strongest, performances of the night and showcased perfectly that, with the right skill, a song that epitomizes contemporary pop sensationalism and commercialism can be pared back and transformed into a mellifluous, romantic ballad that would have contemporary pop detractors swooning.
The most revealing aspect of a Postmodern Jukebox performance is that, hidden beneath the over-produced engineering of many of today’s pop songs, there are some rather lovely melodies. Scott Bradley, the gifted founder and arranger behind PMJ, is able to transform contemporary pop-rock songs littered with sexual innuendo and explicit slang into the kind of music one could imagine our great-grandparents jiving and swinging to. Bradlee’s upbeat arrangements transform Nickelback’s much-maligned ‘How You Remind Me’ into a catchy, Motown anthem that has the whole crowd singing and clapping. Even K$sha and Pitbull’s heavily autotuned and electronically adorned ‘Timber’ is given the PMJ treatment and the result is an infectious swing number that gets stuck in your head for days. The gifted featured vocalists bring warmth, enthusiasm and passion to the performance, along with an impressive range of costume changes and choreography.
Postmodern Jukebox’s online videos do not do this group justice; for those among us who get stung with nostalgia once in a while and who love a good excuse to dress up and dance to a thoroughly entertaining group of talented musicians, a PMJ performance is just the ticket.Lead Singer Robyn Adele Anderson Takes Snapshots in Paris
After over 25 shows in 27 days (nearly all of which were sold out!), Postmodern Jukebox is nearly done with their world tour! Here are the final remaining dates:
June 26 – Magazzini Generali; Milan, Italy
June 29 – Bikini; Barcelona, Spain