Binghamton University got a taste of Christmas early as one of Postmodern Jukebox’s first holiday shows of the year echoed through the Osterhout Concert Theater on Tuesday.
Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ) is a group of musicians, singers and dancers best known for performing modern pop songs in vintage styles, utilizing the genres of swing and jazz. The group’s YouTube channel, which has gathered over 4 million subscribers and 1.2 billion views, features weekly covers. As one of their first concerts since Halloween, the show was holiday-themed and featured tap dances and popular Christmas songs such as “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” “Feliz Navidad” and “Santa Baby.” Along with the festive tunes, performers donned sparkling bright suits, dresses and fur coats to represent the upcoming holiday season. Some songs were sung in their traditional ways, but others, like Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” were given jazzy upbeat twists.
Along with catchy tunes, the performances included playful banter between performers, funny poses from singers, dancers and musicians and a Mario-inspired tap dance. Singer Maiya Sykes, dubbed the “Queen of Soul” by other members of the group, garnered substantial applause with her impressive vocal range and stamina on tracks such as “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor, “Closer” by The Chainsmokers and “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen. To end the show, PMJ members talked about their appreciation for the audience and took a selfie with them to commemorate the concert.
Adam Kubota, one of the founding members of PMJ, told the crowd about the humble beginnings of PMJ during the show, beginning with a small group of friends in co-founder Scott Bradlee’s basement in Astoria, New York. From there, the group gained prominence through its YouTube channel and now includes 70 members with performances on six continents, with a European tour coinciding with their current North American tour. Although media helped the group expand, Kubota said PMJ’s fans are the main reason why the group became so successful.
Longtime fans of PMJ attended the show, including Matthew Bauco, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, who said he was excited to finally see PMJ in person.
“I think the show is pretty amazing so far,” he said. “I remember years ago I first found them on YouTube. I haven’t watched anything from them in a while, [so] the instant I found out they were to be here, I bought tickets right away.”
Even those who previously saw PMJ live enjoyed the festive energy. Zach Feldman, a senior majoring in psychology, expressed his love for the group.
“I think the show is fantastic,” he said. “I love Postmodern Jukebox. This is my second time seeing them but my first time seeing the Christmas show.”
Abby Kress, a junior double-majoring in biology and environmental studies, said she was impressed by the musicianship of the concert and how PMJ transforms modern pop music into vintage musical styles.
“The key changes are normal for a jazz setting but not a pop setting,” she said. “Their use of tap shoes as a percussion being the highlight of a song is cool. They all can play multiple instruments, and vocally, their ranges are insane. I wish I could do that.”