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Postmodern Jukebox returns to Colorado

Photo: Samantha Camp • The Sentry
PMJ took audiences back to the 20s.

Contemporary hits with a 20s twist

Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ) is a musical group consisting of strings, brass, woodwinds, and vocals. In 2014, Scott Bradlee created the group of multiple musicians with a focus on taking contemporary songs from artists such as Carly Rae Jepsen and Lady Gaga and reimagining them in a past era sound like the 20s. The group also utilizes classic jazz instruments like saxophone and upright bass. 

The group brought their setlist of major modern hits to the Mission Ballroom on Oct. 6. Some heavy hitting hits included “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish and “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. Most audience members would hold their drinks up, cheer for the band, and sway their hips back and forth slowly near the bar. There were even a few guests slow dancing and spinning around together to the beat of the music. 

Aesthetics were the core of their presentation. The backdrop of the stage was casted by a shimmering drape that reflected the changing colors of the stage lights. Each of the male performers were in suits resembling 2019 aesthetics; however, the female outfits stole the show with feathers, shimmer, and sublime outfits that made all eyes in the audience turn.  

The opener was classic song from the King of Pop: Michael Jackson “Thriller” riled the crowd up with a tempo faster than the original, meanwhile adding another twist to the performance by bringing out a tap dancer to add another layer of percussive beats and visuals at the same time. 

After the first song, the band became very personal with the crowd. The lead singer asked questions and haconversations with audience members to bring a more intimate feel to the performance. They walked up to individuals and asked, “And how are you doing this evening?”  

Before they played “Toxic” by Britney Spearsthe musicians drank their adult “juice” from Kentucky, referring to a censor for the children in the audience instead of revealing there was alcohol on the stage.  

Before the intermission started, the band decided to play arrangements of popular video game tunes. They started in with another classic, Super Mario and continued on with the group’s interpretation of The Legend of Zelda and TetrisPMJ put just as much energy to the vocal-less songs for the audience with the instruments present in the group 

Even though the first half of the show had energy coming from the performers and audience, the return from the intermission lost the momentum of energy. The band decided to perform slower songs back to back instead of mixing songs of different pace and tempo. However, the group brought the energy of the show back up with their performance of their version of “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran that featured a profoundly present brass section to ignite excitement of the spectacle once more. 

For their encore, Postmodern Jukebox ended with a song most people would be familiar with: “What is Love” by Haddaway. The main singer was accompanied by the other singers and all members of the group. Towards the chorus, the lead singer got into the crowd, ran around, and danced with audience members to conclude the final act and bring the show to an upbeat and explosive close. 

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