Yes, the second half of this review is admittedly very delayed. I apologize. It will also be relatively short, but I’m going to thoroughly cover all three groups performances. There are some of you who weren’t there (or who were) who are probably saying, 3 groups? Yes, The WashU Stereotypes, winners of the college competition the previous night, did a one song encore in between Sonos and Edge Effect.

First, the basic details. The concert was held in a completely different place on University of Chicago’s campus from the rest of Saturday’s festivities, taking place in Mandel Hall instead of the Logan Center. Mike Chin of The A Cappella Blog was the MC for the evening and spoke eloquently about all of the people he had met and the things he had learned during the day. He also made a great joke about the now infamous “list” that only a half-dozen people in the audience seemed to understand. On a different note, he just cowrote a book about a cappella and I got my copy from donating to the kickstarter in the mail the other day. A review will come after I finish reading it. (At this rate it’ll be after Christmas, I’m only on page 4.)

SONOS

I will be the first to admit that having only seen a couple of videos on YouTube of Sonos and seeing them on the Sing Off, I was far from in love with them. I was definitely curious to hear them live, but had no high hopes for enjoying the performance. Their first song completely changed my mind. The first three songs made me fall in love with Sonos, and what they do, especially their execution. Sonos debuted five new songs off of their upcoming studio album, a treat for the unfamiliar and for the Sonos faithful alike.

Sonos also mixed it up with a couple of tracks sans-effects, proving they have some vocal chops and don’t need to hide behind the pedals (or their fancy new looping software). However, the best moments of their set came when they were doing what they do best – octavizing, looping, and generally making things sound like they’re not made by the human voice. I just hope the bass translates on their new album.

THE WASHU STEREOTYPES

These guys apparently put on quite the show the previous night, taking home the top prize and earning the chance to have Sonos open for them. Or open for Edge Effect. The guys probably prefer to say they did both and make it sound like it happened on different nights.

One song – Harder to Breathe by Maroon 5. Very solid performance with some mediocre mixing. Having never done it, I imagine it’s hard to mix that many individual mics live, but all I wanted was to hear the lead more. I had the same problem with Sonos’ talking inbetween songs and most of Edge Effect’s set. I’m a Stereotypes fan, so you’ll here more about them from me the next time I have a chance to see them live. (ICCAs this year maybe?)

THE EDGE EFFECT

I was not familiar with this group prior to seeing them in the lineup for the Professional Showcase. It’s probably because I pretty much despise America’s Got Talent. Not because of the talent, but because of the judges. I’d say more on this later, but no, I’m never going to blog about my general distaste for Howie, Howard, and Sharon. Nick Cannon, one saving grace of the celebs on the program. Those are my feelings – take em or leave em.

Edge Effect did an opener and then immediately went into a lengthy live sound check. That’s embarrassing for everyone involved. Of course I was also blinded by the spots behind all of the groups as they swept down into the audience and directly into our eyes about ever 2 minutes during the entire Edge Effect show.

If you’re not familiar with The Edge Effect, think Straight No Chaser (their non-Christmas songs) meets Nota (SingOff Season 1 winners). They have an incredible bass, 4 outstanding tenors and Troy Dolendo. Picture painted? I think so. Their set was filled with top 40 hits of different years, but there was one clear highlight. Cluster (look them up) did an amazing 5-person arrangement of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. The Edge Effect took it and added a 6th part, resulting in this:

Song of the night in my opinion. Overall the night was filled with great music, strong audience participation and growth of an already tight-knit community. I look forward to seeing this event grow in the coming years.

Advertisements