MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE
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scales to new heights of boy-band-dom (sorta)
Combine “Glee,” “American Idol,” YouTube and Billboard’s hottest hits. Add in ADD energy, imaginative vocal arrangements and varied staging and you’ll understand why Pentatonix’s performance Wednesday at the sold-out State Theatre in Minneapolis was screamingly triumphant.
Even though Pentatonix lacks
a knockout lead singer (that’s true of most a cappella groups),
they put on a nearly flawless 90-minute show. OK, the hyperactive lights,
especially the blinding ones shining directly into the crowd, were a
bit annoying; the vocal mix on the opening Daft Punk medley was terribly
unbalanced, and two solo numbers were quite gimmicky (more on those
But Pentatonix --whose members
range in age from 21 to 25 -- had a strong sense of musicality, humor,
showmanship and fun.(They gave a nice shout-out to two members of Home
Free, the Twin Cities winners of Season 4 of "The Sing-Off"
who were in the audience.)
Whoever is running the show
is pop smart and savvy. Change the vocal approach and visual look of
every number – without changing outfits – by reconfiguring
the lights and repositioning the singers (behind a white scrim, in front
of scrims decorated with P, T and X, on ramps and stairways, etc). Justin
Timberlake could learn from whoever conceived and staged this show.
Pentatonix also offered a
few originals, including the catchy “Natural Disaster” and
vocally lush “Run to You” (with its close harmony ensemble
Avi Kaplan showed off his
sexy/cool bass voice and some Tuvan throat singing (he’s relatively
new to this Mongolian style). Kevin Olusola (whom the original Pentatonix
trio discovered on YouTube) did a gimmicky solo bit featuring his stellar
vocal beat-boxing and live cello (the only non-vocal instrument heard
all night). While neither solo turn was remarkably accomplished, each
was an entertaining change of pace that was greeted by girlish screams.
That’s not surprising for what amounts to an a cappella version of a boy-band that happens to include one young woman.