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Apr 16, 2014

Non-show review: Pentatonix @ Danforth Music Hall 04.08.14

It was a Tuesday night at the Danforth Music Hall and if I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought The Jonas Brothers or Selena Gomez was making an appearance. The packed crowd was filled with young kids, older couples, hipsters, theater nerds, and a number of large men that could have been in a biker gang, and you could feel just how “freaking excited!” all the fans were. At one point I thought I spotted this really cute, tall, well dressed guy scoping me out, until I realized he was way more into the purse I was sporting than my ass. That’s what I get for covering an a cappella sing group…Any time the music stopped or there was a light flicker the crowd would erupt in cheers, until finally the lights went down and everyone went full on crazy, I looked around and it didn’t matter if they were 14 or 40, every person was wide-eyed and smiling, chating “P - T – X! P –T – X!”

Before the concert I had a vague idea of who Pentatonix was. Kirstie, Scot, Avi, Mitch, and Kevin, won an American singing competition called “Sing Off”, and I had seen some of their viral videos covering “Royals” or “The Evolution of Beyonce”. In a world where it is simply expected that our pop stars will lip-synch, it was a truly unique experience to witness 5 talented musicians perform for 90 minutes with nothing but their voices to carry them for most the most part. Their genuine appreciation for their fans, and enthusiasm for singing was like an invitation to forget being cool or on trend, and to sing along to that damn Katy Perry song you most definitely knew all the lyrics to.

It wasn’t all covers throughout the evening, PTX sprinkled in some original songs that the first 5 rows of fans seemed to know all the words to. Kevin killed it when he simultaneously played the cello and beat-boxed over an original composition, and Avi brought the weird when he demonstrated his ability to sing two notes at the same time. The talent of the members of Pentatonix is undeniable, but if they want a career with longevity, they’ll be smart about hooking their fans onto their original music and use the covers and mash-ups for viral marketing. The licensing of these covers alone has to cut into their bottom lines, even if they’re only licensing the synch side,* and at the end of the day we’ll still always pick the original Bey and Katy over the imitation.

— Bianca Ker