Back in the dark days of 2010 a few musicians got together in Scott Bradlee’s to record a video of a jazzy version of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” and uploaded it to YouTube as Postmodern Jukebox. The concept had decent success so they kept at it and then a “Mowtown Tribune to Nickleback” and Robyn Adele Anderson’s first video “Thrift Shop” (with almost 12 million views to date) happened.
PMJ was off to the races with numerous contributors, the pressure of coming up with a new video each week and a first tour. Their show at Mill City Nights last year was the most packed I ever saw in that venue (my apologies to the people that had my rear in their face as I squeezed in the collapsed pit) and from there PMJ went on as a global phenomenon.
Fast forward a year and what’s now is called Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox filled the Northrop Auditorium. Given a potential cast size that could fill a few tour busses PMJ has evolved into something of a touring Broadway musical with a rotation of vocalists without losing its charm, it’s unique touch and any of the fun factor. For the Minneapolis show the vocalists were Ariana Savalas, Maiya Sykes, Sara Niemietz, Mykal Kilgore (who also acted as the MC), and Casey Abrams. Sarah Reich’s tapping and dancing skills were integrated into several numbers as well.
The show covered a wide range of styles and original material and was set up in revue style with performers rotating in and out, band members taking front stage for their parts and a steamy up close and personal dance by Savalas, that left one fan with his head spinning (and hopefully not in trouble with his wife). Casey Abram’s proved not only his singing talent but also balancing a guitar while having a beer. The energy remained high throughout the show helped by audience interaction (This is the home of Prince, you can do better). Overall a very enjoyable show and it proves that Postmodern Jukebox has legs to last.