It Was A September To Remember with Postmodern Jukebox
A September To Remember with Postmodern Jukebox in Charlotte, NC
Hey you! You made it! It’s your friendly neighborhood ginger, Derek and I’m glad you’re here. Let’s dive in shall we, I know what you’re here for. If you’ve ever been curious what it would be like to take that phone in your hand, with all the music on it, and travel back in time about sixty to seventy years, well have I got the article for you. I had the pleasure of attending a show recently (Saturday evening to be specific) starring Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. Now you may have clicked on this link because you know them, but for those that don’t allow me to introduce you.
This revolving collective of musicians formed back in 2011 when founder and jazz artist Scott Bradlee wanted to take his love for music to another level. Back in 2009 while still in college, Scott went viral when he posted a video of him playing keyboard and creating a melody of 80’s song in a ragtime style. A few years later, another vision was transformed from a thought and into a video which introduced the world to what would officially become PMJ (Postmodern Jukebox). It was a “Motown Tribute to Nickelback”. From there more and more videos were released that took modern day hits and a range of classic songs across multiple genres and transformed them into a jazz tunes that would fit into any bar from back in the day. You can often find new videos being posted on their Youtube page, which highlights a range of artists that are brought into the PMJ family. With music releasing all of the time they have plenty of content to source from. Over the last few years they’ve been taking their music to the fans on tour across multiple cities and countries.
Saturday night as I arrived at the theatre about an hour before showtime there were plenty of people mingling in the lobby awaiting showtime. I noticed some were even showing their support by wearing shirts from previous shows and even dressing up in clothes styled to look vintage. Some ladies wore dresses that drew inspiration from a pinup girl look. Even some gentlemen suited up for the occasion. They rocked suspenders, fedoras with feathers and even shoes shined to accent their stylish wardrobe. A few moments before showtime the house lights flashed and it was the crowds que to take their seats for this sold out performance.
On stage there was an elevated drum kit, standing bass two podiums with the letter PMJ, and a grand piano awaiting their player. A few moments after eight, the band walked on stage and grabbed their instrument and began the night.
Then a gentleman by the name of Aaron Marcellus, as we later found out, walked onto the stage wearing a sharp grey suit. He then greeted the crowd by getting them to sing along with him before shifting into a version of “Thriller”, complete with piano, a horn section, and a tap dancer, and fellow artist Demi Remick. After their crowd-pumping performance we then got to meet our emcee for the evening, former American Idol contestant Casey Abrams.
He took the time to introduce himself, setting the tone for the show with an all around fun personality and inserting jokes in the perfect place. Before the show went any further he made sure the audience knew that the band on stage was super talented and proved this by having a member of the crowd name any song or artist.
The we heard a lady say “Paul McCartney” which led Casey to begin singing a short snippet of “Hey Jude” accompanied by the band. After a little more playful banter he introduced us to the next artist, Sara Niemietz.
The song of choice for Sara was “I Will Survive” and when modified to a slower tempo and in a smooth jazz form it allowed for her incredible vocals to truly shine.
She stood center stage with such power and grace, but as the song got faster it was easy to see she was having a blast as she danced around the stage and played off the crowd. Her energy lifted the room even higher as she was all smiles throughout the song.
Up next was an artist by the name of Martina DaSilva. As she walked on stage she began snapping her fingers slowly as the piano player joined in. She then got the audience to snap along as she introduced us to her version of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”. She later in the set gave the audience their fix of Disney as she sang “Beauty and the Beast” both songs done in a way to make the hair on your neck stand.
Another member of this Jukebox production was Joey Cook, a women full of personality and positivity. During her first song on stage she joked around with the crowd before playing “Hey There Delilah” with her ukelele and then accordion. The amazing thing about this show was the variety of talent that graced the stage.
At many points a song would begin and I would recognize lyrics but it took a moment to figure out what song I was listening to as it was present in a unique form unlike the original. A few examples of this is when Joey snag Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar We’re Going Down” and when Sara, Casey, and Aaron joined forced for a rousing rendition of “Hey Ya”.
Throughout the show Casey brought a sense of humor but also solid talent as he played the stand up bass and proved to everyone that he could truly belt out some notes. With the raspiness of his voice, versions of Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One” and Guns and Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine” transported the audience into a world unlike any other. In my opinion it was a world I didn’t want to leave, as all the artist that stood in front of me proved that the art of music is still very alive and can be much more that electronic beats from a computer.
This show offers talent not only from a vocal stand point but also from the a classical side and dance side. Demi’s pure grace and precision while tap dancing is something you don’t see often and it truly something to behold.
Let’s be honest here, if anyone can create “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter with tap dancing they are beyond talented and Demi did just that. She wasn’t alone though, she was accompanied by an incredible horn section, drummer, bassist, and piano player.
All in all this show is different from most concerts you go to and that’s what makes it great. It’s something that I personally will never forget. It’s unique but also the people on stage are what bring it to life in a form unlike any other. I know I’ll be seeing them next time they’re in town so I suggest you take the opportunity too as well.
Thanks for reading and as always check out the fancy photo gallery conveniently linked below by yours truly and heck, maybe even share this article with your friends. After all, music does bring people together and here at Shutter 16 we love music and all of you beautiful people.