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Concert Reviews

PentatonixThe National in Richmond, VA
February 17, 2013 | Keaton Fletcher

Score: 9/10

It?s a unique opportunity to be able to follow a band from its beginning. Thousands of viewers of the Sing Off: Season 3, myself included, were able to watch a group of five young adults blossom almost instantaneously into fame and music history. Pentatonix rocked the music world by creating a unique sound with just their voices. Flash forward two years and the group of five is on their second tour across the country, flaunting a solidified skill set and some original material.

At the beginning of their concert in Richmond, VA at The National, The Pentatonix seemed like seasoned professionals. They had lost the enthusiasm and excitement that comes with recent fame and a first tour and were now ready to get down to business, for better or for worse. But, within a few songs (covers ?Don?t You Worry Child? by Swedish House Mafia, ?Thrift Shop? by Macklemore, and ?E.T.? by Katy Perry) the energy immediately skyrocketed. I cannot imagine how exhausting touring as part of a five member a cappella group must be. Unlike a regular band, where the instruments make a majority of the noise, if one member gets sick or loses his/her voice the whole sound is shot. Not to mention, these guys are touring alone, so they fill about a two hour concert with purely singing.

An awesome aspect to this concert was getting to watch the progression of their career, from the Sing Off to YouTube and their first tour to writing a variety of original songs and touring a second time. Having seen their previous concert only three months ago, many of the songs and acts were still fresh in my head, and I was not disappointed when they brought some of the gimmicks back. At one point, they band asks for a female volunteer to come up on stage so they can sing to her. In this case, instead of waiting to be selected, a young girl leapt over a three foot barrier onto the stage, and began hyperventilating. Amazed by her dedication, the band allowed her to stay on stage and serenaded her, leaving her in joyful, overwhelmed tears. That story speaks to the dedicated fan-base that this band has built. Being an a capella group, The Pentatonix draws in a particular type of crowd, a mixture of choir nerds and top-40?s lovers. This unique audience lends itself to some pretty stellar interactions. At one point in the concert, three of the five members go back stage, leaving only Avi Kaplan (the bass) and Kevin Olusola (the beat boxer) on stage. The two guys divide the crowd into three sections and give each section a part to start singing, which they do perfectly. For about three minutes, the crowd makes the music. And, for those of you reading this that are, yourselves, choir nerds appreciate the fact that when Kevin went to take a pitch from the pitch pipe to pass it along to the crowd, the crowd picked up on it first, sang it back, and confirmed the note a minute or two later after a brief period of talking. Like I said, an entirely unique crowd, and a fun atmosphere.

Probably at no other concert will you get to hear Mongolian overtone throat singing or a cover of ?The Misty Mountains? (the song the dwarves sing from The Hobbit) or see a beat-boxing cellist. These five young adults are so incredibly talented, bring so much vivacity to the stage, and have yet to be jaded by the industry that they are bound to change the face of music in the upcoming years. If you haven?t already, definitely give their EP PTX: Vol 1 a listen, and get tickets for their concert. It?s an experience that everyone should have if only to be blown away by the talent of these guys (two of them just turned 21 on their last tour?what are you doing with your life?)
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