New song with an old sound

PostModern Jukebox in Parker, Colo.

Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ) is a musical collective created by pianist Scott Bradlee that is known for taking modern hits and reimagining them with a vintage sound.  Once a week PMJ posts a new cover to their YouTube account featuring a plethora of talented singers and musicians.   

PMJ’s current tour, titled Welcome Back to the Twenties 2.0, made a stop in Parker, Colorado on April 6 and proved that swing is not dead.  The musicians on stage consisted of five rotating lead singers: Von Smith, Dani Armstrong, Gunhild Carling, David Simmons Jr., and Robyn Adele Anderson. They were backed by a six-piece band that included Mike Chisnall (guitar), J.P. Floyd (trombone), Jesse Elder (piano), Eric Heveron-Smith (tuba, upright bass, trombone), Casey Abrams (bass), and Colorado native Tom Jorgensen (drums).

Postmodern Jukebox puts on a swinging good time. Photo: Taelar Pollmann · The Sentry

They performed 21 songs split into two acts and an encore during the two-and-a-half-hour show. The stage was decorated to capture the intoxicating vintage aesthetic of the Jazz Age, and when the show opened with Carly Rae Jepsen’s smash hit “Call Me Maybe,” the PACE Theatre was in fact welcomed back to the 20s.  The theater turned into a speakeasy as the musicians drank cocktails on stage and encouraged everyone to sing along and dance in the aisles if they wanted to. This vintage vibe was increased by the many patrons who opted to wear period-correct clothing and that there weren’t many cell phones blocking the view of the stage.

The band made sure that the singers each had a chance to shine.  When Anderson, a founding member of the group, took the stage, it wasn’t a mystery why PMJ’s music blew up so fast or why she is still touring with them six years later. Her voice is a cornerstone to their overall sound, and it was an honor to be able to hear her sing live. Smith received a standing ovation with his rendition of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River.” Armstrong outsung Sia with her version of “Chandelier” that sent chills down the spines of all in attendance.  Carling is a walking swiss army knife of talent. She can sing, tap dance, and play multiple trumpets at once, as well as the recorder, the trombone, and bagpipes. Simmons Jr., who won #PMJSearch2018, showcased his talent with a cover of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know.”

With the rotating collective of musicians, each night of their tour holds unique experiences. The Parker stop was Smith’s last show for this tour, and his energy on stage reflected how much he enjoyed spending his time with PMJ. It was also Jorgensen’s birthday and the house made sure to sing him “Happy Birthday” before the night was over.

To stay up to date with all things Postmodern Jukebox, be sure to follow their social media pages and their YouTube channel. The Welcome Back to the Twenties 2.0 tour is booked through the end of the summer, according to their website, but they did just start a residency at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas that will last until the end of August.

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