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Postmodern Jukebox is talent like you will not believe – Hammersmith Apollo, London

Postmodern Jukebox is talent like you will not believe – Hammersmith Apollo, London

Postmodern Jukebox is a powerhouse of talent

Authenticity is a funny thing to put your finger on, some quintessential mix of honesty, originality and flair.

It is swing and jazz that most often gets the ‘authentic’ brand, and for good reason.

Postmodern Jukebox reinvents the best of pop, dance and R’n’B and rewinds the clock, imagining what it would be like if they had been written in anything from a 1920s jazz style up to 70s soul.

As soon as you sit down to watch the group of incredibly talented musicians and singers, you know you’re going to see something different.

A bubbly Swedish blonde woman fast-foots her way to the microphone as a slender suited man takes to the stage.

This is Gunhild Carling, a powerhouse of talent. Throughout the preview performance, she plays trumpet, trombone and recorder through a variety of jazz classics to get the audience excited. Asking for suggestions, she prepares a set of bagpipes on the piano. Amazing Grace came from one woman, and you think it’s a skit. She’ll blow one bad note and then sing the song. But no, she starts to play her pipes and does so in such an effortlessly beautiful way.

And I didn’t even mention the tap dancing.

It just made me so thrilled for her that she has an avenue to perform.

Performer after performer keeps proving how talented this cast of young stars are. Highlights are Stacey’s Mom, sung by Casey Abrams, and Creep, performed by Haley Reinhart.

The song choices are all from Postmodern Jukebox’s popular YouTube channel, with over 2.6 millions subscribers and nearly 700 million views.

As leader Scott Bradlee says: ‘The Essentials is my attempt to pick the 18 most essential tracks in the PMJ canon to give new fans an overview of Postmodern Jukebox.

‘It contains some of our most inspiring vocal performances and some of our most creative arrangements, in a variety of classic genres that range from 1920s jazz to ’70 soul, and everything in between.’

The tone for the vast majority of the show is one of a group of young exceedingly talented performers getting dressed up in old fashioned clothes and having a blast. That felt real to its very core.

My issue came when Bradlee walked out on stage to ravenous applause from his eager fanbase.

In his self-important speech, he praised the audience for coming out and supporting ‘real music’. He may not have meant this, but it sounded like he was implying dance, electronic, R’n’B – the pop music that is the base to his show is not ‘real’ or ‘authentic’.

It felt a little strange considering that while they may be faultless performers, they are still doing covers and not original music. Are covers using instruments and no autotune more ‘real’ than original music that uses a laptop? That answer is up to you.

Pop music may have a bad reputation, but it is authentic – it is what it says it is. Blank Space, Oops I Did it Again, Bye Bye Bye are all songs that set out what they intend to do – entertain. There might not have that much depth, but no one’s asking for these songs to achieve that.

But this brief moment should not take away from every other star in the show – all of which you wish would have their own concert of their own. For some, you can see future pop stardom.

Bradlee puts it best: ‘It’s a celebration of classic style and classic talent, but first and foremost, it’s a party. Expect to see some breathtaking performances, share some laughs, and get up and dance. It’s the party that the Rat Pack would have attended on New Years’ Eve back in the Golden Era of Hollywood.’

Buy tickets for Postmodern Jukebox’s worldwide 2017 tour here.