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Members Of The Band:
Scott Bradlee (Keyboards, Vocals)
Robyn Adele Anderson (Vocals)
Andromeda Turre (Vocals)
Adam Kubota (Bass)
Allan Mednard (Drums)
Steve Sweat (Saxophone, Wind Synth)
Drue Davis (M.C., Vocals)
Joe McDonough – (Trombone)
Tom Abbott – (Clarinet, Saxophone)
Alex MacDonald (Tap Dancing)
I love my friends, I really do. Just three weeks ago, I had never heard of a band called Eels. Then a friend, Paddy Anne, introduced me to their music. I really liked them. Two weeks ago, my friend told me she had won tickets for the Eels Toronto concert at the Winter Garden Theatre and asked me if I wanted to go with her. The show was excellent.
Around the same time another friend of mine asked me if I had ever heard of Postmodern Jukebox. I will profess right now that I had not. He then asked me if I would like to join him at their upcoming Toronto concert. I said, what the heck and agreed that I would go. He suggested I check the band out on Youtube, which I dutifully did. I was intrigued; the whole idea of taking a modern song and placing it into a completely different musical context was a brilliant idea. I was staggered by the number of views some of the bands videos had. 9 million views for their Doo Wop version of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop“; 7.5 million views of Lourdes’ “Royals” (“Sad Clown With the Golden Voice” version); 1 million views of Ellie Goulding’s “Burn“. I was impressed.
So, on the night of the show, my friend Bob MacDonald and I caught an early dinner at Gabby’s on King Street West in the theatre district of Toronto before heading over to The Great Hall at 1087 Queen Street West. Tickets were general admission so we lined up awaiting the 7 PM door opening. As with Eels last week, The Great Hall was a brand new venue for me to go and watch a concert. It was an old style theatre kind of venue with a horseshoe balcony with seats and a lower level with a few booths around the edges and one honking big floor in front of the stage.
From the moment M.C. Drue Davis took the stage in a flash white tuxedo jacket and black tie we, the audience, were transported back to a simpler time, when live shows were frequently sponsored by radio stations with the inherent, “And now, before we begin, a word from our sponsors”.
You know, I’m kind of struggling here. Unusual for me when it comes to giving my opinion of bands plying their trade on the lighted stage, but there in lies the beauty of Postmodern Jukebox. Speaking for myself, anytime I go to see an act live for the first time with high expectations I am, more often than not disappointed. Anytime I go to see and act live for the first time with low expectations I am, rarely if ever, disappointed. It’s those times when I go to see a band with absolutely no expectations one way or another that I am, more often than not, pleasantly surprised. In this case I was more than pleasantly surprised. The musicianship was top notch; the singers, stellar. What really put the whole thing over the top for me was how seamlessly the songs of today melded with the music of yesteryear.
Yeah, I hear some of you say, they’re just a glorified covers band. Technically, I supposed you could say that; but you would be grossly misinformed. Scott Bradlee, the creator, leader and creative voice behind Postmodern Jukebox, has gone so much farther, taking songs like “Gentleman” by Psy and turning it around as a 1920’s era Great Gatsby mash up. Or a wild west cover of Ke$ha’s hit Die Young. Or an Irish Tenor Daft Punk cover of Get Lucky.
Hell, they even threw in a version of the Game of Thrones theme song. Just how freaking cool is that.
Melding one musical style with another is not a new concept. Just check out Beattalica to see what I mean. No, my point here is that it so very rarely works in real life. In the case of Postmodern Jukebox, it works and then some.
God, I love my friends. Or have I already mentioned that?