Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox is a YouTube sensation in which incredible singers take popular songs and transport them into different time periods and genres. If you explore the Post Modern Jukebox YouTube station you will find a vintage blue-grass hoedown version of “Anaconda”, a 1950’s doo-wop of “Rude”, and “Sweater Weather” reimagined as Edith Pilaf French pop. The PMJ singles are so incredibly popular that many of the videos clear millions of views. Haley Reinhart’s version of “Creep”, for instance, has been viewed more than 12 million times. Thankfully for us, the creator of PMJ, Scott Bradlee, realized he had something special on his hands and decided to take his show on the road.
I was fortunate enough to see PMJ when they made their first world tour. I was nervous when the tour was announced as I feared not many people would embrace the throwback songs. I could not have been more wrong. The 1200 standing room only show I attended was completely sold out and the energy was beyond incredible. At the end of the show Scott Bradlee promised he would be back, and he kept his promise. With the incredible rise of PMJ’s fame, coupled with their ageless appeal, this time around the show was held at the Hard Rock Live which can hold 3,000 concert goers.
One of the most fun aspects of attending a PMJ concert is how the audience adds to the aesthetic and appeal just as much as the artists. There are few times in your adult life where dressing up as a 1920’s flapper or a 1940’s pin-up girl is considered “normal”, but this is definitely one of those times. Upon arrival at the venue, I could immediately pick out my fellow attendees by the sea of beautiful outfits straight from the 1920’s to 1970’s. Guys (and some girls ) were dressed to the nine’s in bow ties, fedoras, suspenders, and white dinner jackets. Ladies wowed in flapper dresses, 1960’s go-go outfits, and 1940’s rockabilly pin-up girl attire. You don’t have to come dressed in your favorite throwback apparel, but it certainly adds to the fun. The last time I attended a PMJ concert I didn’t dress up and I was definitely disappointed. This time around I threw my hair up in victory rolls, shellacked on red lips and put on my best 1940’s apparel. Now that the audience had stepped into the past, it was time for the band to join us.
Each of PMJ’s shows are incredibly diverse and so much fun. I hesitate to describe the set list that was performed because each show will deliver new songs and various performers. PMJ has dozens of artists that join different legs of their show, so not every performance is the same. At the concert in Orlando, we were treated to the incredible talents of Joey Cook, Robyn Adele, Casey Abrams, Ariana Savalas, tap dancing sensation Sarah Reich, master of ceremonies LaVance Colley, along with a five piece band ( six if you consider tap dancing an instrument, which I do). Since the artists are constantly changing and you never know who will be performing at your show, each artist was introduced one at a time to throngs of cheers and clapping to perform their first solo.
Joey Cook was up first. She was witty, soulful and maximized each performance. In one song alone she demonstrated her ukulele and accordion skills. As a fellow ukulele enthusiast, the girl won my heart. Casey Abrams took the stage next. He played the heck out of a standup bass while belting out his hit songs with his signature soulful voice. Ariana Savalas graced the stage next and this lady is everything. The 21st centuries answer to Mae West and Jessica Rabbit, Ms. Savalas can work the crowd almost better than she can work the stage. At one point she had the entire audience jumping out of their seats and laughing as she engaged with different audience members. If this woman had a reality show where she sat in line at the DMV, I would watch it. I am sure someone can come up with a better concept, but she is so incredibly dynamic she could make it work.
One of the original ladies of PMJ, Robyn Adele was next up. Although I have seen almost all her feature PMJ videos, I was in awe with her live performance. When she performed her 1950’s version of “We can’t stop” I got goosebumps. Her take on the Miley Cyrus song, as with most PMJ renditions, is so good it is so hard to remember the original version. But then again, why would you want to? Last, but certainly not least, was LaVance Colley. This man can reach notes that would make Mariah Carey jealous. At one point in the show I looked across the audience whose mouths were agape after LaVance hit high note after high note in perfect pitch.
Holding her own on stage was Sarah Reich, tap dancing extraordinaire. Although she wowed the crowd with a solo, she often times appeared on stage to accompany the artists as the sixth member of the band. She is always a crowd favorite and makes me wish I took tap dancing a little more seriously when my mother would drop me off after kindergarten.
Attending a Post Modern Jukebox show is an event that should not be missed. With new compilations posted each week you never know which performances you will get to enjoy. I could go on and on about how much fun a PMJ concert is, however, you have some PMJ videos to catch up on and I need to go find adult tap dancing classes. Enjoy!