Postmodern Jukebox: Old School Cool

Image from

Image from

Scott Bradlee has come a long way in the past couple of years – from recording in his tiny basement apartment in NYC with a couple of friends to touring internationally with sell-out shows across Australia’s biggest cities. It seems that Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, which has rapidly risen to fame through the power of YouTube, is a force to be reckoned with.

This is fantastic news for us swing dancers! We can now swing-out to our favourite (and least-favourite) modern pop songs and classic rock songs thanks to Bradlee’s vintage style covers of artists from The White Stripes to Britney Spears and everything in between.

I was lucky enough to see Postmodern Jukebox live in their first ever Brisbane show on their first ever Australian tour last Saturday.  Let me say: WOW. Apparently Scott Bradlee just collects the best singers in the world and tours with them now. The talent on stage was phenomenal. And it wasn’t just the singers – their percussion session included world renowned tap dancer Sarah Reich who tore the house down with her sweet rhythms. We exchanged chit chat with her after the show about Swedish swing dance camp Herrang (which Sarah agreed is the “happiest place on earth”) and the cross overs between the tap and swing worlds.

Our image from the Brisbane performance

Our image from the Brisbane performance

All the musicians were flawless and the MCs charismatic but when all but one musician left the stage it was clear to see just how talented Scott Bradlee the man actually is. He gave us a taste of his old party trick – collecting 5 names of artists or songs and mashing them together on the spot in an improvised piano solo. It’s amazing how well Bohemian Rhapsody goes with a little Justin Bieber, Mama Mia, Uptown Girl and the Ghostbusters theme song!

The band played favourites Creep, No Diggity, Oops I Did It Again, All About that Bass and the stunning Hozier song Take Me To Church. Sadly they left out Macklemore’s Thrift Shop - “Grandpa Style” - the song that seemed to start all the interest back in February 2013, and the hot jazz version of Stacy’s Mom. Not all the songs were *swing*-danceable, but others you couldn’t help but swing out to, and even though the floor was dark, fairly crowded and carpeted we still danced to more than half the set.

Corner Pocket Swing dancers with  Maiya Sykes.

Corner Pocket Swing dancers with Maiya Sykes.

If you haven’t jumped on the PMJ bandwagon yet it’s time to get on board. It’s refreshing to hear great songs covered with a twist, and there's something satisfying in hearing a Justin Bieber cover that’s so much better than Justin Bieber. With 100 videos on YouTube and around 7 albums released you’re sure to find your favourite song turned into your new/old favourite song!

Not only that, but PMJ’s style of turning new into old (and thus into new again) is raising the profile of Motown, soul and SWING music. And if interest in swing music converts a few more dancers for us to dance with, well, all the better!