Sing-Off Alums Perform at CityWalk
Posted By: Marielle Wakim·6/27/2012 10:30:00 AM
It seems like “a
cappella” has somehow become synonymous with the words “nerdy,“
“unpopular,” and “lame”. Pentatonix and The
Backbeats would have to disagree.
On Sunday night, these veterans of NBC’s a cappella reality
series The Sing-Off put on a show at Universal Studios CityWalk for
almost 1,000 people. While both groups performed some oldies—The
Backbeats’ Kenton Chen delivered a spot-on impression of Fred
Schneider during their rendition of “Love Shack”—the
matching outfits and metronomical snapping so often associated with
a cappella were noticeably absent.
What’s more, neither group fell prey to the barbershop quartet
stigma often associated with the genre. Instead, they filled their
sets with crowd pleasers and Billboard chart toppers. The Backbeats’
Rachel Saltzman, a soulful powerhouse, started the night off by soloing
Katy Perry’s "Firework." Pentatonix, at the incessant
behest of the crowd, performed their hit cover of Gotye’s "Somebody
That I Used To Know."
Pop music is a specialty of Pentatonix; they are as mainstream as
any a cappella group can hope to get. The group consists of the other-worldly
Kevin Olusola, a remarkable beatboxer who can recreate most any percussive
noise with his mouth, along with Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, and Kirstie
Maldonado, all of whom produce staggering vocal runs and intricate
harmonies, while bass singer Avi Kaplan makes Barry White sound like
he’s been huffing helium.
Though they only have five voices, their sound is anything but thin.
Due in large part to the expertise of Olusola and Kaplan, listeners
might find it hard to believe that they’re hearing a small group
of musicians using only their voices rather than a full band.
Each group sang a 45-minute set in front of a screaming crowd, likely
a mixture of die-hard Sing-Off fans (ahem), a cappella enthusiasts
(double ahem), and innocent CityWalk attendees who had no clue what
they were in store for. Regardless, the reactions were uniformly positive:
the singers aren't nerds, the music isn't irrelevant, and a cappella
is anything but lame.