Scott Matthews 1777. I still find it an unbelievable fact that it's the year that tonight's venue - The Huntingdon Hall in Worcester - was built. With beautiful curved wood panelled pews, some with their own glazed saloon doors to form private booths for worshippers, this converted Methodist church is a testament (no pun intended) to the crafts people that both built it and renovated it.


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Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox Okay, so imagine if Lady Gaga had hung around the Noo Yoik jazz clubs of the 30s and 40s or if Robin Thicke had been ‘blurring lines’ in Appalachia back in the 50s? That, in essence, is the brilliant but simple premise behind Postmodern Jukebox, take ‘modern’ pop songs and re-imagine them adding a little (or in most cases a lot) more musical magic all with a distinctively vintage twist. To quote the chap behind it, US jazz musician Scott Bradlee, it’s all about the creation of “an alternate pop universe” (and let’s face it some of today’s pop songs...and their singers...could certainly do with being transported to an alternate universe at times). It’s been pretty ruddy successful too, with one of the group’s best efforts, a heartbreakingly poignant cover of Lorde’s Royals sung by a 7ft tall clown (yep, seriously), picking up almost 8million hits on You Tube to date...and all without the aid of breakdancing kittens, grannies battering would be muggers or drunk frat boys falling off roofs. Impressive eh? Now, after a sell out US tour, the Jukebox has popped over the Atlantic for a mere handful of dates, one of which is in Brum’s suitably vintage Institute.


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Scott Matthews Tonight at the Town Hall in Birmingham, I again witness the poised brilliance of Scott Matthews. Up there on stage with just a simple black back drop, and, to set the scene, smoke lingering in the air around him - like an ethereal spirit rising from a funeral pyre. Matthews gives us a short but sweet first half performance just on his own with an ever-changing array of acoustic guitars all vying for his attention. They are brought from the wings one by one as if waiting to be consumed by Matthews' touch - like groupies awed in silence. He lulls the audience into a trance with songs from his three studio recorded albums, and unexpectedly at the end of a short first set he plays what could be considered his masterpiece "Elusive" (released 2006 on his debut first album "Passing Stranger"). I think I must have been expecting a special announcement or something, as he drops this one on us without warning -and that's a bit of a shock (be it an understated version too). In my mind, and from what I know about the man, Matthews is attempting to move beyond the dizzying heights of his Ivor Novello award winning song. My notion is that he's conflicted here - as he cannot deny the audience his greatest song to date, and yet is attempting to surpass his own genius, which lingers in the air as if caught in amber for eternity.


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