You can’t have missed the viral YouTube videos of latest hits transformed into different historical musical styles by Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox. They brought their magic to Stockholm on their European tour and put on an amazing show.
Scott Bradlee and his Postmodern Jukebox may just be the best thing we can thank YouTube for. As Scott put it himself, the power of the Internet has made it possible for all these talented musicians and singers to live their dreams. And it has given live audiences around North America and Europe (so far) the opportunity to experience some high-class entertainment. If you’ve enjoyed those videos of theirs, just imagine them turning it all up a notch, swinging and entertaining every minute of the gig, and that in a classic Stockholm jazz joint seeped in history. This group would easily have sold out a larger venue as well, but choosing Fasching must have given both the musicians and the audience an all the more unforgettable experience.
Scott Bradlee is the man behind the genius arrangements and re-imaginings that have turned some of the biggest pop hits into various styles from 1930s jazz to Motown to doo-wop. He brought along a jammin’ rhythm section and some horns and even a tap dancer. And of course, very importantly, a number of powerhouse singers we already knew from those YouTube videos.
Things started off with MC Mykal Kilgore getting the audience warmed up and the musicians throwing in a bit of Europe’s Final Countdown into their intro. Then the hit parade really kicked off with a 30s style rendition of Iggy Azalea’s Fancy and and a vintage rendition of Britney’s Womanizer. A bit later on Ariana Savalas really put the heat on with a steamy and sultry No Diggity in Jessica Rabbit style, flirting with blushing young men in the audience, teaching them how to whistle… you just put your lips together, and blow!
The hits went on and on with Von Smith singing MAGIG!’s Rude in 1950s style and Morgan James giving us Guns’n’Roses’ Sweet Child o’ Mine in New Orleans style, hitting some amazing high notes. On to Cristina Gatti doing her Beyoncé-approved version of Drunk in Love (Queen B shared the video of the song when it was released) and Casey Abrams leading a cool version of Stacy’s Mom (that Fountains of Wayne tune). Also Mykal Kilgore got to show off his pipes doing, among other numbers, Whitney’s Greatest Love of All.
Scott Bradlee was left alone on stage with his grand piano and asked the audience for artist suggestions, to be able to show us the way he used to improvise when he was playing jazz clubs just by himself. The audience came up with Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, Amy Winehouse and Tupac Shakur. Scott then treated us to a mash-up of songs by these artists – throwing in a bit of ABBA for good measure at the end.
Morgan James came on to sing a stripped-down, beautiful version of Hozier’s Take Me to Church, one of the highlights of the show, and even this one was so much better live than on the video. Another highlight followed, when Cristina, Ariana and Morgan joined forces for a 60s girl group style version of Ellie Goulding’s Burn.
The band introductions took place during Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off and each member got to show off their amazing skills. Morgan James threw in a crowd-pleasing Don’t You Worry Child and Ariana Savalas did more of her impressive whistling, getting the audience to join in with La La La Laa’s for Hey Jude.
The crowd of course demanded an encore and Casey Abrams and the double-bass player Adam Kubota were bantering about maybe doing a song about THIS bass right here. Well’ they obviously went on to perform All About THAT Bass – and the two of them played on that bass together pretty impressively as the rest of the cast of characters put on the last party song of the evening.
I had come with high expectations, but all these talented musicians and singers really delivered so much more. There was that little extra entertainment mode that all of them put on when they were face to face with a live audience rather than facing a video camera. This group needs to be seen live – so I hope they keep their promise of returning to Stockholm!
All photos: Nina Uddin