In a small auditorium, illuminated by just a slew of twirling strings of lights, a group of students huddled under the lights providing a rhythmic backdrop. The auditorium vibrates with powerful female vocalist from the group. The quality of the audio equipment certainly wasn’t perfect—the sound that emanates from the microphone and speakers was too loud at times. None of this, however, seems to taint the exuberant energy of the crowd. Rivaling the song’s original singer Christina Aguilera, Dominique Alba, CSOM ’17, belts the jazzy anthem “Ain’t No Other Man” with gusto, sweeping the audience off its feet with every high note. This was the artful, masterful, joyful, and exciting start to this past Friday’s a cappella concert by the Acoustics featuring the Boston College B.E.A.T.S. and New York University’s Mass Transit.
The Acoustics began the concert with a rendition of “Ain’t No Other Man” and continued with an even more spectacular performance of Tank’s “Hope This Makes You Love Me.” The Acoustics’ rendition of the dynamic piece, led by Ben Seo, LSOE ’16, managed to be distinctly beautiful in its own way, though keeping faithful to the original. The group itself, which was formed in 1993, describe their repertoire as a diverse collection “wailing away on ’70s rock, ’80s pop, ’90s jams, and millennial miscellany.” With their second piece, the Acoustics once again rallied the audience, inciting cheers with every perfectly hit high note and every sweeping chord.
After these two fantastic displays of talent, the Acoustics stepped aside for the B.E.A.T.S., another BC a cappella ensemble. The acronymic name of the group, which stands for the “Black Experience in America Through Song,” powerfully reflects the immense talent of the individuals that comprise it. The B.E.A.T.S. began with a smooth rendition of Smokey Robinson’s “Cruisin,” which they followed with Carl Carlton’s “She’s a Bad Mama Jama.” Although the disco vibes of the original piece were evidently absent from the rendition, the performance was an immense crowd pleaser as the group presented it with a physical finesse. After a hiccup in the beginning of the third piece, which was recovered from with grace, the B.E.A.T.S. gave a stellar finale with their fourth and final song, a rendition of Usher’s “She Came to Give it to You.” Artfully performed, the B.E.A.T.S. final piece was a shining example of their immense talent and ability to incite the pure joy of good music.
The crowd was hungry for more great music when New York University’s Mass Transit took the stage, adorned with an array of matching, colorful ties. NYU’s oldest all-male a cappella group began with a fun performance of LMNT’s “Hey Juliet,” which they followed with a superb rendition of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” Mass Transit finished their BC debut with a wonderfully crafted compilation of Kanye West hits. Their performance was original, fun, and although their Kanye West compilation left out some of West’s more emotional songs, the transitions between each song and the group’s ability to energize the crowd ultimately made it a huge hit.
As the show neared its final moments, the hosts once again leapt with great energy in front of the audience. They finished with two final pieces, Ray LaMontagne’s “You Are the Best Thing” and Celine Dion’s “Taking Chances.” The LaMontagne piece, adorned with amazing male vocals from Matt Michienzie, MCAS ’17, was an even more lively take on the folk rock song. The vocals, although grainy and coarse—quite opposite from LaMontagne’s soft rasp—fit surprisingly well with the piece. It might have been, in fact, a better set closer than “Taking Chance.” The Acoustics rendition of the Celine Dion song was done with grace and performed by the angelic voice of Kerri Dibattista, MCAS ’17. “You Are the Best Thing,” however, would have provided the best lively, sentimental end to an equally energetic and emotional night of wonderful music.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Staff