Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox at First Bank Center in Broomfield, CO on 11/12/16

Scott Brandlee’s Postmodern Jukebox is a variety show filled with talented people that have been on Broadway, television singing competitions, and motion pictures.  Postmodern Jukebox takes modern hit songs and re-imagines them into old-fashion genres of music.  The audience dresses in bygone styles of attire. Men wear suits, ties, and hats.  Women wear dresses, shawls, and bonnets.  All with the hopes to be transported back in time.

Post Modern Jukebox started as YouTube videos and has grown into a worldwide tour.  If you have some time between your daily doses of cat videos, I provided links to the videos throughout this review.  This is the second time the show has hit the Denver area.  Last year they played the Paramount Theater with a capacity of 1,870.  This year the tour moved it’s way up to the First Bank Center with a capacity of 7,500.

Mykal Kilgore – All photos taken by the Rock and Roll

Mykal Kilgore came out in a shiny suit, silver shoes, and dreadlocks to host the evening’s night of music.  He has performed in Motown The Musical, The Book of Mormon (US Tour), and the Broadway Revival of Hair.  Kilgore sung a Jackie Wilson style version of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On (Yes.  That Titanic song).  It’s fun to think of Leonardo DiCaprio vanishing into the ocean while tapping your foot.
Postmodern Jukebox video link

Von Smith, who was on the 8th Season of American Idol, sang Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me a River.  He sang it in a dramatic cabaret style with a trombone accompaniment.  Smith also did a vintage take of Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine (just like Axl Rose always envisioned).  His vocal range was amazing.  Some of those notes still might be bouncing around the venue.
Postmodern Jukebox video link

Von Smith, Mykal Kilgore, and Sara Niemietz

The show was mainly about the ladies.  Sara Niemietz is as beautiful as her voice.  And her voice is pretty amazing.  Niemietz has been performing since she was four years old.  She has appeared on The Grande Ole OpryGlee, and major motion pictures.  Niemietz wowed the crowd with a doo-wop version of Outkast’s Hey Ya! with Smith and Kilgore providing the backup vocals and hand gestures.  Niemietz also did a killer jazz version of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. 
Postmodern Jukebox video link

Brielle Von Hugel is an American Idol semifinalist from season 11.  The twenty-two year old blonde singer from Staten Island sang a 1960’s version of Bruno Mars’ Grenade. Von Smith and Mykal Kilgore provided backing vocals.  It’s her first tour with the veteran group.  Not that you could tell.
Postmodern Jukebox video link

Ariana Savalas

Ariana Savalas, the youngest daughter of Telly Savalas, might be the star of the show.  She had more costume changes than Cher and more one-liners than a modern Mae West.  Savalas pulled out a “volunteer” from the audience to perform a sultry jazz version of Ginuwines’ Pony.  It involved a raincoat, a bolo hat, and very little clothing.  Savalas recreated a scene from the film Magic Mike that used the same song.  I didn’t see the movie (since I don’t seek out cinema involving male strippers … not that there is anything wrong with that). Savalas also performed Taylor Swift’s Blank Space that featured a scantily clad tap dancer Sarah Reich performing a fan dance (more shows need scantily clad women doing fan dances).
Postmodern Jukebox video link

Brielle Von Hugel is All About the Bass

The talented musicians that backed the vocalists effortlessly switched from jazz, do-woop, and rhythm and blues throughout the night. When Brielle Von Huge sang Megan Trainor’s All About the Bass, the band danced along showing the audience how they are “bringing booty back.”  Pianist Jesse Elder played a haunting version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.  Michael Kilgore encouraged the audience to sing along as a tribute to the recently deceased singer-songwriter.  The style of Cohen’s music wasn’t changed since he will always be a classic.

The night ended with Von Smith leading the entire crew to a Motown version of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off.  Like most of the songs that evening, I almost didn’t recognize it until they sang about “Players gonna Play.”
Postmodern Jukebox video link

See you at the next show.  I’ll be the one wearing the fedora looking for the fan dancer.

Courtney Barnett and Alex G at the Ogden Theatre in Denver, CO on 11/8/16

On Tuesday, the sold out crowd wanted to escape the election. They wanted to brake away from a divided nation. And most importantly, they wanted to avoid watching someone named Wolf Blitzer point to a map.  Music fans were there to witness one of the most original voices in the last few years.  You know that singer that won Best New Artist for that song All About the Bass.  Well, Courtney Barnett is the Australian Indie Rocker who lost to her (Meghan Trainor) at this year’s Grammy Awards.

All Photos by the Rock and Roll Princess

Courtney Barnett is a mixture of stream-of-conscious beat poet and grunge musician.  She incorporates subjects like road kill, purchasing suburban real estate, and avoiding parties in her insightful clever lyrics.  Oh, and she can rock (Barnett is from the same country as AC/DC after all).

A screen flashing her name built anticipation to the hipster crowd. That’s when bass player Andrew Bones and drummer Dave Mudie took the stage appearing like they just rolled out of bed.  Courtney Barnett followed looking like Leather Tuscadero joined Nirvana (that’s right. I just referenced Happy Days). She performed almost every song from her debut album Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.

Courtney Barnett

The backing screen displayed striking images tailored for every song.  During Dead Fox an animated homicidal fox drove his car hitting several other cartoon characters on a bloody highway. During Pedestrian At Best, clowns crossed the screen while Barnett sang, “I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny.”  This incited the restless crowd to mosh. One of the body-slammers started to climb the stage.  Before getting too close to Barnett, he was pulled down by a rather burly fan that didn’t want the headliner to be tackled.  Apparently security was to busy watching election returns to care.

During Depreston, Courtney Barnett described house hunting with her girlfriend.  The screen displayed an animated car driving through a suburban neighborhood.  The crowd sang along to the lyrics, “If you got a spare half a million, you can knock it down and start rebuilding.”  The irony of the song was not lost to the crowd that knows Denver’s obscene housing market.

Courtney Barnett “Drunk on
Election Night”

Barnett switched to an acoustic guitar to perform Dan Kelly’s Drunk on Election Night inspiring the crowd to sing along.  The explicit lyrics made me blush, but Barnett’s charm was never stronger.   Barnett admitting to the audience that she was sober, but hoped the audience was liquored up.

She ended with Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party.  The audience jumped up and down chanting, “I want to go out, but I want to stay home.”  After waving good-bye to the audience, the band left the stage.  The house music slowly faded up to R.E.M.’s It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).  I realized that the majority of the audience wasn’t born yet when that song was released twenty-nine years ago (And I Feel Old).

Alex G

Standing in line before the show, I noticed a shifty fella dash out from a 7-Eleven and run into the theatre with a stained leaky bag full of food. When the opening band emerged on stage, it turns out that dude was Alex Giannascoli who performs under the pseudonym Alex G.  In the last two year, the Pennsylvania native went from recording demo songs in his bedroom to playing on Frank Ocean’s recent album. With a belly full of convenience store cuisine, his band played low-fi songs that could be compare to Elliot Smith.  The music was a suitable match to Barnett’s grunge trio.  Waddling like a duck to the rhythm, Giannascoli captured the audience attention with his sparse guitar sound.  The experimental noise songs were … interesting.

See you at the next show.  I will be the one wondering what ever happened to the Leatherettes (that’s right, another Happy Days reference).