Casino File: Postmodern Jukebox brings pop tune twist to Borgata; Paula Abdul at Rivers Philly; Boxing, more

Postmodern Jukebox has gained a huge Internet following imagining what recent hits would have sounded like 70, 80 or even 100 years ago.
Postmodern Jukebox swings into the Borgata Oct. 22.
Postmodern Jukebox swings into the Borgata Oct. 22.Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa

Radiohead’s “Creep” done as a smoky “saloon” ballad. U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” rendered gospel-style. The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” reinvented as a World War II-era Andrews Sisters track. That’s just the tip of the sonic iceberg for Postmodern Jukebox, whose apparent goal is to make us leave behind all of our preconceived notions of what pop music is and can be.

Postmodern Jukebox, which hits Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa Oct. 22, is a 10-year-old musical collective founded by pianist Scott Bradlee. It features a rotating cast of singers and musicians anchored by Bradlee and bassist-musical director Adam Kubota—and a slogan that proclaims, “Today’s Hits Yesterday.” During a recent phone conversation, Kubota explained the act’s blueprint:

“Basically, Scott takes pop songs from as far back as the Seventies and puts them through vintage filters so that you have a new song with a sort of classic vibe of yesteryear--like your Rat Pack, your golden age of jazz and Hollywood and all that stuff,” he explained.

Doing so, he continued, isn’t necessarily as easy as PMJ, as it’s known to its YouTube-hatched fan base, makes it look.

“It's a challenge to make it sound ‘vintage,’” he said, adding that when the unit does succeed, there’s a payoff for the listener that other acts don’t necessarily offer. “I think it’s very rewarding for them to listen and be like, ‘Oh my God, it's so crazy. I can't believe you could do that!’”

While the band’s arrangements of the songs are what separates Postmodern Jukebox from pretty much everyone else on the boards, Kubota, a 43-year-old San Francisco Bay Area native, pointed out that what is within those arrangements is also important—specifically the instrumental solos that color the songs.

“The arrangements leave the space for there to be some interpretation,” he said. “Like if you’re gonna play ‘Caravan’ by Duke Ellington, you're always gonna play the melody, right? But then, there's the solos, and there's space for the performer to be able to play what they're feeling, what they're thinking, in that moment. So, they're gonna play something…that will be different--and hopefully inspired--every single night.

“So that's why we pick these players who know what to do in that moment. They know how to be spontaneous. They're talented and they're steeped in this kind of tradition of improvisation.”

For tickets, click here.

Abdul at Rivers for ‘Wigs & Wishes’ bash

Nineties’ pop titan Paula Abdul will co-host the Oct. 23 Wigs & Wishes gala at Rivers Casino Philadelphia.

Wigs & Wishes is a non-profit organization that annually provides some 25,000 wigs to women and children undergoing cancer treatment. The fundraiser, whose co-emcee is W&W founder Martino Cartier, will feature beverages and hors d’oeuvres, a performance by Latin-music TikTok sensation Frankie Zulferino, the crowning of a Queen and Princess and a fireworks display.

For tickets, click here.

Dorenbos christens Live! Philly venue

It’s official: Former Eagles long-snapper-turned-entertainer Jon Dorenbos’ program, which combines magic and motivational speaking, will be the first public offering at Market Ballroom, the performance-space portion of Live! Philadelphia Casino Hotel’s brand-new Event Center.

Dorenbos has a made-for-Hollywood life story: When he was 12, his father murdered his mother and he found healing in learning magic. Since retiring from the NFL in 2016 (he also played for the New Orleans Saints), he has forged a successful career as an entertainer and a motivational speaker.

For tickets, click here.

Also on sale is the gambling den’s inaugural boxing card which is headlined by up-and-coming South Philly heavyweight Sonny Conto, whose 7-0 record includes six KOs. He’ll face St Louis’ Ed Fountain in a six-rounder.

For tickets and info, click here.

Tropicana eatery reopens

Golden Dynasty, a mainstay of many years at Tropicana Atlantic City, is back in business after an extended COVID-19-related shutdown.

The dining room offers both Cantonese- and Mandarin-style cuisine focusing on traditional Chinese favorites including wonton soup, pork lo-mein and General Tso’s chicken. Among other offerings are Peking duck and Mongolian rib lamb chops.

Golden Dynasty is open 6 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday and 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

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