Review: Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, York Barbican, March 1

THINK of some great moments of musical reinvention.

Hayseed Dixie took hard rock’s back catalogue and put it in a bluegrass setting; Bellowhead gave the English folk song catalogue a rumbustious orchestra treatment, and Mark Ronson refitted songs with a dance groove on his Version album.

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox are also taking a fresh approach to music. Drawing on influences from the 1920s, they reimagine pop songs with a jazz style, utilising a brilliantly talented 11-piece band.

The band have created an audience via the internet, and are now touring extensively, drawing from a pool of 60 musicians, vocalists and dancers. In York, three gorgeous female singers (Ariana Savalas, Hannah Gill and an excitable Maiya Sykes) took turns to share the spotlight, alongside singer and compere Mykal Kilgore, quickly revolving through songs.

This brought the gig a real sense of energy and momentum, aided by Dave Tedeschi’s terrific drumming, giving each song a new pulse. For the most part, the vocals were superb, although sometimes the harmonic gymnastics were a little over the top. Caley Carr provided tap dancing and eye candy for the ladies.

This was a show designed for mass appeal. The careful synthesis of music, dancing and a touch of glamour was intoxicating: fans of Strictly Come Dancing would find much to enjoy here.

Although I loved the melancholic moment when they turned one of rock’s greatest moments, David Bowie’s Life On Mars, into a torch song, it was, unashamedly, a feelgood evening, where Meghan Trainor’s All About The Bass was given a New Orleans flavour and Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night featured scat singing.

They even took on Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters and came up trumps. The audience lapped it up, danced and shouted for more. It was a really fun, engaging show - not sold out, but next time they come to York, it will be. Go and see them.