Discovering a new band is like discovering a rare piece of jewellery. You know others would want it if they saw it so you’d like to keep it a secret, but it’s just too goddam gorgeous not to shout about! Scott Bradlee is one of these rare jewels, achieving notoriety through word of mouth or indeed YouTube hits on his well-watched channel scottbradleelovesya. We first heard about Scott Bradlee as most do… through a friend. She said “have you heard of this guy? He’s a New York jazz musician covering popular songs in a retro style. The Tootsies should totally collaborate, you’d love him!” Immediately watching every video on his channel to date and purchasing the joyfully named albums ‘clubbin’ with grandpa’ and ‘Twist is the new Twerk’, an obsession ensued.
His ever growing popularity has seen he and his band The Postmodern Jukebox, go from strength to strength resulting most recently in a successful European tour and The Tootsies were lucky enough to catch their London date at the O2Indigo.
One of our personal favourite Scott Bradlee covers is ‘Fancy’ originally by Iggy Azalea. A hip-hop song that is essentially rapped throughout re-imagined as a 1920s flapper-style number. What is apparent is how well the lyrics work for both eras. The drinking and debauchery of both decades rings true proving that, like people’s love of music, the human experience never really differs through generations.
The Postmodern Jukebox band made up of Ben Golder, James Hall, Adam Kubota and Chip Thomas open with this track straight out the gate and by the excitement in the crowd, it appears we’re not the only ones who adore it! The vocalist, Ariana Savalas gives a blithe performance worthy of any 20s starlet. All the performers were incredibly talented vocalists but also sold their numbers with the charisma and charm of the decades past so that you felt you were hearing the songs of today sung by Judy Garland and the like. The show continued with high energy covers of artists spanning from Taylor Swift to Abba.
Vocalists on the night included Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart, Mykal Kilgore and Von Smith. Another notable moment in the show was the cover of Hozier’s ‘Take me to Church’ sung by the astoundingly versatile Morgan James. Although one of few ballads and a restful moment in the arc of the show, it was the audience’s turn to feel breathless at the end of an astonishingly beautiful rendition.
Scott Bradlee himself, direct from the jazz bars of New York City had an authenticity and a passion that made you feel secure that you were in the hands of a true musician playing for the love of it. Although if we were in any doubt about his skills he asked the audience at one point, to name four artists across differing music genres and eras. He then linked each style into one mashup, flawlessly and seemingly effortlessly.
Talented musicians, fantastic arrangements and incredible vocalists with rare individuality go to make up a Postmodern Jukebox show. What makes them so accessible however is that, with Scott Bradlee at the helm they are just a bunch of guys who love making the music they do and sharing it with anyone who’ll listen in the hope they in turn will share it on. Scott Bradlee thanked his 3000 strong audience for all their support as he said they were doing it “all on their own without a label”. They are making music the old school way and it appears to be working.
What ultimately makes Scott Bradlee so cool is that he is just playing the music he loves; jazz, ragtime, swing… The incredible jazz arrangements with a contemporary song at it’s core means he can seamlessly bring these classic styles to a new audience who, judging by the deafening cheers, all appear to be total converts!