Postmodern Jukebox brought its jazz renditions of new hits to the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts last Wednesday, leaving the passionate audience in awe.
Postmodern Jukebox is a contemporary collective of musicians known for reworking popular songs into vintage genres, especially swing and jazz. The group is currently on their “Welcome to the Twenties 2.0” tour, which looks to bring the ’20s to the modern era by recreating today’s hits in a jazz arrangement.
Almost a quarter of the audience members arrived at the venue in formal attire. This lighthearted form of audience participation added to the upscale ambience and made the performance feel like a communal affair instead of a room of strangers.
The show began with singer and master of ceremonies LaVance Colley taking the stage along with the band to perform a jazz rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The familiar and beloved song acted as a freight train of rhythm that led the audience to a roaring post-chorus applause.
After a few songs, Therese Curatolo, of Postmodern Jukebox, waltzed her way to the microphone. The band set off into an elegant arrangement of Billie Eilish’s chart-topping hit “bad guy.”
This version replaced the unique instrumental of the original and featured a sophisticated drum pattern and a fretless bassline. Curatolo kicked it into third gear after the breakdown and left the audience wanting more of her cool and collected attitude.
Brandon Nappy, a 38-year-old director of marketing for the UF Performing Arts Center, said the show was a big success. Nappy said the total number of tickets sold was over 1,600, bringing attendance very close to the venue’s capacity of 1,750.
Elizabeth Auer, assistant director for the UF Performing Arts Center, said her organization has wanted Postmodern Jukebox to perform here for years. The Performing Arts Center booked Postmodern Jukebox in the fall of 2018 for their Wednesday appearance.
Auer said she was “very pleased” with the jazz collective’s first appearance at the Phillips Center.
“I was so impressed with the emcee and how energized he got the crowd,” Auer said. “That takes true talent.”
The night concluded with Scott Bradlee, multi-instrumentalist and creator of Postmodern Jukebox, walking from his seat to the stage left grand piano to ask concertgoers for song suggestions. Bradlee fused audience-requested songs like The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” in an instant.
Cheerful echoes of questions such as, “How is that possible?” filled the Phillips Center as the crowd began exiting the building.
Samantha Johnson, an 18-year-old UF exploratory freshman, said she had a wonderful time at the performance.
“They performed Paramore and Lana Del Rey, and I love both of those artists so that was very exciting for me. They definitely did both artists and songs justice,” she said.
Upcoming events at the Phillips Center can be found on their website. UF students get discounts to all events put on by the Performing Arts Center by showing their Gator 1 Card.