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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox perform


    Courtesy of Deborah Radel Public Relations. Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox are coming to the Rialto Theatre Friday.

    It’s not everyday Beyoncé tweets about a YouTube cover of one of her songs, but Scott Bradlee and his gang of jazz enthusiasts must have impressed the pop star with their 1940s, big-band rendition of “Drunk in Love.”

    With almost 800,000 video subscribers and over 100 posted videos, Bradlee is saturating YouTube channels with his knack of putting a nostalgic twist on modern pop songs. Thanks to a ’50s doo-wop remix of Miley Cyrus’ salacious “We Can’t Stop” produced last year, which currently has over 10 million views, Bradlee and his band have quickly gone viral and begun the process of stepping out of the Internet domain and onto a live stage.

    Stopping at Tucson’s Rialto Theatre tonight as part of their international “Eviction” tour, Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox will perform an old-fashion variety show of music, dance and pop culture humor. Performing nostalgic renditions of modern hits such as Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and Meghan Trainor’s “All About that Bass,” the show will surely appeal to audience members young and old.

    Despite the success he’s found with infusing jazzy rhythms into the repertoires of Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, Bradlee was a late bloomer when it came to appreciating pop music.

    As a high school student growing up in a small town, Bradlee idolized Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. Not finding much musical aesthetic from the gangster rap or grunge rock his contemporaries favored, Bradlee had aspirations of playing jazz music from yesteryear.

    When he graduated from the University of Hartford, Bradlee had a dream similar to many people his age: move to New York City and become a professional musician. Despite a few piano gigs here and there in various nightclubs, Bradlee knew he had to get creative if he wanted to survive the city’s stiff competition.

    Starting about five years ago, Bradlee set up a video camera in front of his piano and began uploading ragtime revamps of ’80s rock music. Over time, Bradlee assembled an ensemble of musicians to help him post clever reconfigurations of current chart toppers on YouTube.

    “It’s culturally relevant,” said Bradlee on his change of heart regarding pop music. “It really captures the spirit of the times and can define a generation.”

    Bradlee is now experimenting with the musical styles from multiple generations, applying Motown sounds to Avril Lavigne lyrics or adding a how-down, western flair to Kesha’s party anthems. Bradlee said the secret is finding two styles that will ironically clash together.

    “Each cover is kind of different,” Bradlee said. “There really is no formula.”

    After releasing the Miley Cyrus cover shortly after her infamous performance at the MTV Video Music awards in 2013, Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox noticed a dramatic surge in popularity. The group has since been releasing weekly cover videos to keep up with the latest hits by Maroon 5 and Demi Lovato.

    “YouTube made the barrier to entry much lower,” Bradlee said. “[Postmodern Jukebox] never would have been picked up by a major label.”

    Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox have been touring since June, and this is the group’s first visit out west. Modeling his variety-show performances after the aesthetics of Lawrence Welk, Bradlee said there is something for every demographic to enjoy at his shows.

    Attending one of Bradlee’s shows may feel like stepping into an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel: High-style glamour is pouring off the stage in every facet, and audience members of all ages will surely be dazzled.


    Follow Kevin C. Reagan on Twitter.

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