Live Review: Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox // O2 Academy Oxford

Oxford came out in their vintage looks in their masses to form maybe the biggest queue I have ever seen in Oxford in anticipation for Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox. I never knew that Oxford had such a hidden vintage fan following, and the excitement outside seemed electric in anticipation!

Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox is a travelling show from New York that takes modern classics and pretends they were written and released in much earlier eras. For this tour, every song was “released” in the 1920s, which lead to some interesting and bizarre combinations. Some synthpop Haddaway ‘What Is Love’ with a brass band backing and swing drums? Yep. A tap-dancing version of the Super Mario Theme? It was weird… but it happened. ‘All About That Bass’? Yes, people still think that song’s relevant, apparently.

A direct quote I heard from my friend at the show was “the gays and emos are happy” as the first song starts with the “She paints her fingers with a close precision” of a Panic At The Disco song, causing a small portion of the room to be immediately outed as emos (there were genuine gasps, and I’m not hyperbolising). But regardless of a brilliant setlist, the genre change made it a little bit hard to sing along and really get into it.

Watching Post Modern Jukebox is like walking into your house and everything is one inch to the right. Everything is familiar but you’re not actually in tune with it at all. You’re having a great time but somehow something is off. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Post Modern Jukebox, but something about the genre change was bizarre. You know it well but then again not at all.

One thing to note is that… They “played that fucken meme song” (as my notes dictated). The song choices were brilliant, from David Bowie to Katy Perry to, yes that’s right, Toto’s Africa. It was genuinely exciting to see who could guess what the next track was first, and the collective gasp of the crowd upon realisation made the event really special. The healthy spread of genres meant that everyone could dance along and really enjoy the tracks. Well, that’s if everyone did dance along.

The main issue I see within the Oxford music scene is a lack of willingness to let go and dance along. Oxford was presented with the Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox, and yet for some reason they just stood there, being tall and in the way, whilst the few people that did dance we getting weird looks. The band’s attempt at audience participation was almost ignored (who doesn’t like audience participation?!?! Get da hell out). Maybe if Postmodern Jukebox were playing in a theatre rather than a fully standing venue like the O2, it would make more sense for people to just stand, or sit, and enjoy some music. I’m sure they will come back one day and fill a theatre and it would suit them a lot better. So if you see Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox, maybe go see them in London, or a city with a more notoriously lively crowd.

Regardless of the hostile reception, I truly believe that Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox is a really clever act that attracts a really interesting range of people (from emo teens- to adults in vintage gear). Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox is an act for all ages and could really prove a fun night out.

Author avatar
Chloe Spinks

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