MTV Review: Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox = Sam Smith + Britney + Everyone
From Iggy Azalea to Britney and beyond, the YouTube sensations rock London...
Going to see a 'YouTube band’ live is always a precarious thing. Sure, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox have almost a million subscribers on YouTube, but how many times have you met someone you love online IRL and been left sorely disappointed?
MTV headed down to London's Shepherd’s Bush Empire to see if the group’s toe-tappingly catchy 30s-style covers of massive, modern pop choons (One Direction, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Iggy Azalea, just for starters) could make the leap from browser brilliance to on-stage awesomeness.
Feeling: Saucy, sassy, stylish, and a with steady slew of some of the biggest pop songs in recent memory, a night out with Scott Bradlee and his cadre of musical powerhouses spells just one thing - a guaranteed party. Whether you intend to or not, your toes will tap, you hips will sway and there’s a hefty chance you’ll walk away giddy on their infectious energy and catchy re-imaginings of classic pop songs.
The Look: Vintage cool, with the guys rocking braces, pinstripes and suits, and the women all stunning in various vampy, bombshell guises.
Tunes: An unparalleled ‘Greatest Hits’ of some of the best pop songs around, Bradlee’s band (strings, horns, drums and double-bass all in attendance) bring bizarre musical bedfellows to life with a genius vintage twist, performing everything from Britney Spears to Stevie Wonder, Sam Smith to Guns n Roses with distinctive style.
It’s an aural smorgasbord that lives or dies on the vocalists, and thankfully Bradlee’s quintet of performers blew the Apollo doors off with every note.
Kicking off with a mid-tempo, big band version of Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’ showed off the genius of Bradlee’s arrangement skills; a trend that continued on the distinctly Jackson 5-esque take on Postal Service’s ‘Such Great Heights’, super-sultry, seductive Jessica Rabbit-inspired covers of Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’ and Britney’s ‘Womaniser’, a shoobee-doobee-filled performance of Ellie Goulding’s ‘Burn’, and a ‘I-can’t-believe-they’ve-actually-made-this-amazing’ upbeat revamp of Fountain of Wayne’s ‘Stacy’s Mom’.
Throw in a fittingly evangelical, stripped-back version of Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’, a dance-along cover of Meghan Trainor’s ‘All About That Bass’ (with actual double bass as an accompaniment), and the evening acted not only as a suitable platform for Bradlee’s own arranging prowess, but the jaw-droppingly fabulous foghorn voices of his singers.
Oh, and did we mention they have a tap dancer providing timely r’n’b rhythmic interludes? Because they do and it’s exactly as ridiculous/amazing as that sounds.
Banter: Grand Theft Auto-esque satirical ads from the group’s ‘tour sponsors’ played throughout the gig to grin-inducing amusement, while random Big Band riffs on the Mario and Inspector Gadget theme tunes added ample silliness, but it was MC Mykal Kilgore who provided the biggest LOLs, with a running diva-esque commentary that commanded all eyes at all times.
Sweat Factor: With tunes that range from hip-swaying sultriness to booty-jiggling bounciness, there’s a distinctive lack of dance-sweat on show.
Summary: Impressively and refreshingly, Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox are a YouTube band made even better by seeing them live. Bradlee humbly gushed that their London date was their biggest gig of their career - on this showing, it certainly won’t be their last.
Fancy (Iggy Azalea)
Womanizer (Britney Spears)
I’m Not The Only One (Sam Smith)
Maps (Maroon 5)
All Of You (John Legend)
How You Remind Me (Nickelback)
No Diggity (Blackstreet)
Sweet Child Of Mine (Guns ’N Roses)
Stacy’s Mum (Fountains of Wayne)
Blank Space (Taylor Swift)
Greatest Love Of All (Whitney Houston)
Take Me To Church (Hozier)
Roar (Katy Perry)
Such Great Heights (Postal Service)
Burn (Ellie Goulding)
Shake It Off (Taylor Swift)
All About That Bass (Meghan Trainor)