You Hear That Sound

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Postmodern Jukebox at the Microsoft Theater

Had to take a break from blogging for a little while, but now that I’ve made it through December 2016 intact, I’m happy to recount a fantastic concert I attended back on November 25, 2016. On the day after Thanksgiving I headed to the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles to experience the juggernaut that is Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. For the uninitiated, PMJ, as it is abbreviated and affectionately known, consists of a flexible roster of musicians taking modern hits and playing them in various musical styles that were in vogue at some time in the past. Songs are performed by strong vocalists, a few of whom you might recognize from past seasons of the popular show, American Idol. It all began as a fun way for pianist Scott Bradlee to get out some music on YouTube — over time those videos went viral, receiving millions of views, and the group has gone on to tour the world and has released a plethora of albums.

The host for that night’s concert was the enthusiastic Mykal Kilgore, who first appeared on stage as the band rocketed through the opening instrumental version of Europe’s “Final Countdown.” With so many singers rotating on and off the stage and so many different covers, the best way to tackle the show’s details is to just list them out. Please take some time to check out the links to the original PMJ videos and some of the live versions from other concerts.

  1. Bad Romance” Lady Gaga cover, sung by Ariana Savalas while Sarah Reich tap danced
  2. Bad Blood” Taylor Swift cover, Aubrey Logan sang and played trombone
  3.  “Thong Song” Sisqo cover, sung by Blake Lewis. Mykal introduced this one by saying, “What do you get when you mix the swagger of Frank Sinatra with the eternal cool of Justin Timberlake? You get my man, Mr. Blake Lewis.” During the song, Sarah appeared on stage and danced around with giant feather fans. When it was over, Mykal remarked, “That was rated PG-13!”
  4. Juicy” Notorious B.I.G. cover, sung by Maiya Sykes. Prior to the song starting, Mykal told the story that when Maiya was young, she purchased her first hip hop CD and her first jazz CD and thought, “These are both so great, I wish they could be combined.” Supposedly, the result is this number.
  5. Hey Ya!” Outkast cover, sung by Sara Niemietz, with a little help from Mykal Kilgore. She was introduced as, “Sweet as sugar candy, she will rock you like a hurricane.”

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    Sara Niemietz

  6. Bye, Bye, Bye” ‘N Sync cover, sung by Aubrey Logan, Ariana Savalas, and Sara Niemietz

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    Ariana Savalas, Sara Niemietz, and Aubrey Logan Sing “Bye, Bye, Bye”

  7.  “My Heart Will Go On” Celine Dion cover, sung by Mykal Kilgore. Before filling every space in the huge Microsoft Theater with his vocals on this song, Mykal acknowledged the musicians behind him by saying, “If you believe in giving credit where credit is due, clap for the band.”
  8. Ride My Pony” Ginuwine cover, sung by Ariana Savalas, with assistance from audience member, Jim.
  9.  Medley, Sarah Reich was back to tap dance to a medley of songs, such as “Charleston,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “In the Mood,” “It’s Now or Never,” “Sir Duke,” and “Uptown Funk,” with Blake Lewis joining in with some beatboxing.
  10. I Will Survive” Gloria Gaynor cover, sung by Sara Niemietz
  11. Halo” Beyoncé cover, sung by LaVance Colley

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    LaVance Colley

  12.  “All About that Bass” Meghan Trainor cover, sung by Sara Niemietz, Maiya Sykes, and Ariana Savalas. After this song Mykal said, “We are in L.A. and this is a huge show and you guys are pretty freakin’ rad.” He then welcomed Scott Bradlee himself to the stage (Scott does not appear at all the shows on the tour.) Scott takes a moment to recap the PMJ journey over the past year.
  13. Piano Medley, Scott Bradlee. After remarking, “There’s a piano on the stage that looks lonely,” Scott gets the audience to shout out the names of different artists and then plays this piano medley, including Hall & Oates, George Gerschwin, David Bowie, Billy Joel, and Prince. Link to video I shot from that show. Apologies for video quality and the guy in the audience behind me who kept talking.
  14. Chandelier” Sia cover, sung by Puddles. We were treated to back-to-back songs by Puddles “The Sad Clown with the Golden Voice.”dsc08839
  15. Royals” Lorde cover, sung by Puddles, with Sara Niemietz and Ariana Savalas providing backing vocals.
  16.  “Give it Away Now” Red Hot Chili Peppers cover, sung by Aubrey Logan, including one-handed cartwheels!

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    Maiya Sykes Singing “Creep”

  17.  “Creep” Radiohead cover, sung by Maiya Sykes.

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    Cell Phone Flashlights On During Creep

  18. Sorry” Justin Bieber cover, sung by LaVance Colley with Maiya Sykes and Aubrey Logan. Mykal introduced the band: Dave “Sexy Van Gogh” Tedeschi on drums, Adam Kubota on bass, Jesse Elder on piano, Jacob Scesney on saxophone and clarinet, Michael Cottone on trumpet, Lemar Guillary on trombone, Ben “The Sax Guy” Golder-Novick on saxophone and clarinet.

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    The Band: Dave, Ben, Jacob, Michael and Lemar

  19. Roar” Katy Perry cover, sung by Mykal Kilgore. Everyone is out on stage by this point. In appreciation of the many talented musicians performing that night, I’ve borrowed a line from this song for the title of this post.
  20. MmmBop” Hansen cover, led by Sara Niemietz and Kenton Chen
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PMJ Founder Scott Bradlee on Piano with Adam Kubota on Bass

 

 

 

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