LIVE REVIEW: POSTMODERN JUKEBOX AT THE AEC THEATRE

If you can boast nine hundred million YouTube video views of your music then you obviously are doing something that people are eager to see and hear.

Postmodern Jukebox returned to Adelaide on Saturday night and reminded us all of why they attract such a fanatical following.

Whilst their Speakeasy musical reconstructions of contemporary hits are never less than entertaining, it must be said that the selection chosen for their Adelaide show was perhaps too heavily skewed to chart songs of the recent past by artists such as Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Sam Smith, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Selena Gomez. Given that their latest album features covers of Queen, Bowie, The Buggles, Abba, My Chemical Romance and Toto classics, it was surprising that their scope seemed so stylistically narrow in this show, especially given the fact that their audience ranged over such a broad age range.

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Nevertheless, what PMJ did deliver to its Adelaide fans was never less than a consistently classy, high octane performance.

The evening began with a racy burlesque romp through Sisqo’s ‘Thong Song’, thrillingly performed by our evening’s MC, Ariana Savalas, and the Josephine Baker-esque dancer, Anissa Lee, whose stunning tapdance moves were to feature regularly through the show from this point on.

Mario Jose came out to deliver a beautifully rendered version of Sam Smith’s I’m Not The Only One which, surprisingly, turned out to be his least impressive performance, as his take on the Skrillex/Bieber collaboration Where Are U Now and his stunning duet with Brielle Von Hugel on Ed Sheeran’s Perfect both exceeded his first song and were high on the list of the evening’s best.

Von Hugel also laid claim to her position on this list with her sassy delivery of Outkast’s smash hit, Hey Ya, which took this song’s irresistible hooks to new heights.

PMJ’s collective energy was infectious, the band’s synergy and humour perfectly complementing the singers’ relentless fizzing enthusiasm and their impressive vocal acrobatics.

Von Smith, the group’s self-proclaimed ‘heart throb’, proved to have an astonishing vocal range and he claimed ownership of Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me A River, hitting and sustaining notes that would be out of the range of most mere mortals.

Smith returned to the stage later and delivered a captivating reinvention of Tears For Fears’ Mad World in a stunning duet with the latest addition to the PMJ vocal roster, Olivia Kuper-Harris.

Anissa Lee’s ‘evolution of tap dancing’ sequence saw the band having fun playing chronologically through a twentieth century soundtrack from Scott Joplin-esque ragtime, to a snatch of the Harlem Globetrotter’s theme, Sweet Georgia Brown, and on through Glenn Miller jazz through to an assortment of soul, r&b and funk musical touchstones, and this provided an impressive interlude within the night’s proceedings.

The second bracket of the show culminated in an all-in version of Radiohead’s Creep which allowed all of the evening’s vocalists to re-emphasise their individual strengths and their magnificent harmonizing abilities.

By evening’s end, the local crowd – many who had come dressed in their best flapper outfits – were up on their feet and rapturously enjoying Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off PMJ style.

With their constant revolving membership ensuring ongoing change and variety, Postmodern Jukebox are on a winning formula, and if you missed them this time around make sure you see them on their next visit.

Postmodern Jukebox played the Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre on Saturday September 22, 2018.

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