by Folarin Akinmade
As someone who cannot get enough of a cappella, evenings such as the one presented by The Techtonics on the evening of November 3rd at Metric at Imperial are Godsends. The Techtonics, in conjunction with the ICU A Cappella Society presented us with a veritable feast of a cappella. Many of the groups were unveiling their new line-ups for the first time after having had their auditions and so the excitement was palpable.
The Techtonics, as the hosts, opened the show with an epic sound, akin to the music you might have heard playing as Neil Armstong took his first step on the moon, underneath an absolutely hilarious movie-style voice-over by one James Haywood. They went on to give a very tight rendition of ‘This Love’ by Maroon 5, of which the balance and articulation of vowels showed a great attention to detail.
In The Smoke then took to the stage and their rendition of Thriller immediately showed that they were veterans to the game, their members drawn from various other a cappella groups. Their interpretation of Tom Waits’ Martha was evocative and haunting and contrasted brilliantly with their finale, a mash-up of Madonna’s ‘Music’, S Club 7’s ‘Don’t Stop Moving’ and Basement Jaxx’s ‘Red Alert. They also took this opportunity to partake of some very enthusiastically given audience participation and reminded us of their gig on the 23rd November at the Tea House Theatre in Vauxhall.
Next we had the first public performance of an all new line-up of The King’s Chix of King’s College, London. They suffered a bit of off tuning in the middle, but battled through to deliver a tender interpretation of Adele’s Someone Like You. Their cover of No Diggity’s Blackstreet was laid-back and confident and lead nicely on to a sultry cover of Etta James’ ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’.
All The King’s Men, also of King’s College London opened up their set with a fun-filled cover of Ricky Martin’s ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’. This was followed by a much more simple arrangement, ‘In The Still Of The Night’ in which the soloist, Himaka Jay was allowed to truly show off his soulful vocals. The men ended their set with a beautiful take on the classic, ‘Hallelujah’.
Next up were the Oxford Belles who opened up with Cascada’s ‘Evacuate The Dancefloor’, Aditi Arora’s powerful and confident vocals taking centre stage. We were treated to some amazing mash-ups, most pointedly their penultimate track a monster mash-up of Rhianna’s ‘Rude Boi’, Keri Hilson’s Turn My Swag on, Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ and ‘Love The Way You Lie Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise and 50 Cent’s ‘PIMP’. The brilliantly sung lyrics to the rap in Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ were delivered by Jane Lee who was also responsible for all of the Belles’ arrangements that night.
We were then presented with the Imperial College Chamber Choir, a larger group than most of the acts that had gone on before them and this was reflected in the richness and choral quality to their songs. We were treated to beautiful renditions of ‘Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby’, ‘And So It Goes’ by Billy Joel amongst others, performed stunningly by soloists, David McGuire, Michael Rownan, William Glendining and Helen Bratt.
We ended with another set from the Techtonics, ending on a high note with tracks such as ‘No Tomorrow’ by Orson. Very soon the crowd was up on their feet, dancing and our hosts were, at the behest of a very demanding and surprisingly rowdy audience forced to go on past their allotted time with a rousing rendition of ‘House Of The Rising Sun’.