If you’ve been following music at Beliefnet for awhile then you know that I think an awful lot of a capella pop group Pentatonix. Since winning NBC’s The Sing-Off with their impressive take on a capella pop the group has gone on to prove that they have what it takes to bring a capella to the mainstream. They have racked up fans by the truckload with two great EPs and numerous YouTube covers of popular songs. Last night I was finally able to experience the group live in Silver Spring, MD and man do I have a lot to say about it.
PTX has made its mark by applying vocal acrobatics and intense arrangements to otherwise simple pop songs, and these arrangements shined live. “Starships” and “Thrift Shop” were the best of the lot with bassist Avi Kaplan shining on the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hit. While the covers were great fun and a staple of any a capella performance, the show really hit its best notes when the band veered away from that comfort zone. Those highlights included a five-part a capella song that beat boxer Kevin Olusola and bassist Avi created by splitting the audience into three sections. It was a really cool experience, but not quite as cool as Kevin beat-boxing and playing cello at the same time. He was discovered for this talent and it was great fun to see it incorporated into the set.
For this fan though, the most exciting part of the night were the original songs. If Pentatonix wants to transition from a great a capella group to a great group period, they are going to have to put out more killer original songs. Well, they are well on their way. If audience reaction is telling, they won’t have any problem getting people on board either. “The Baddest Girl” from their first EP got one of the biggest reactions of the night with Avi’s new track “The Peaceful War” being one of the songs I heard people discussing on my way out. Release that song guys, people love it!
All in all this current iteration of the Pentatonix show is an amazing hour and a half of entertainment. It’s good clean fun, and you will see some of the craziest vocal acrobatics you will see. The surprisingly diverse audience had a great time from start to finish. The most exciting though, is that the best is definitely to come for this group. They are incredibly talented, great showmen/women, and genuine people to boot. Pentatonix is easy to cheer for, and I’m planning to do just that.