Continuing a 10 year tradition, the V8s hosted the highly popular concert Acafella this past Friday featuring all-male a cappella groups from nearby colleges. Notorious for eliciting screams from the audience, the a cappella groups from UConn, Williams College, Colgate College and UMass Amherst were excited to perform another year with The V8s at Mount Holyoke.
The V8s opened the night with their standard song, a rendition of the classic “Come on Eileen” and a rousing version of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You.” This last number was the most moving, featuring a melodic combination of beat boxing and harmonic voices that pumped up the audience for the four visiting a cappella groups.
UConn’s all-male group, A Completely Different Note (CDN), came on stage next in classic-casual outfits of jeans, colorful shirts and blazers. They began with a beautiful mashup of “Every Night” and “One Day,” and followed it with John Legend’s “Used to Love U.” These heartfelt songs, though mellow in tone, put everyone in a good mood so when they announced that their last song would be a Gregorian chant there were excited cheers. After ceremoniously gathering in a semi-circle and chanting a few notes, CDN gave way to the boy band craze and broke into a fully-choreographed rendition of “Bye Bye Bye.” Screams from the audience became more intense as the group acted out the bridge to the song and ended with dramatic poses.
Following such an explosive finale, the next group, The Williams Octet, was more traditional. They were also matching, wearing a variety of plaid shirts that were fitting for their song line-up. Sticking with the theme of love songs they opened with a classic version of “Moondance.” Their soloist drew on the vocal tones of Michael Buble. In more traditional a cappella fashion, they next sang the Gulf War song “Fighters for Liberty.” Their most rousing number, though, was a rendition of Little Big Town’s “Boondocks.” Eliciting lots of foot stomping and howls from the audience, their last song brought the energy up in the room with a smooth, southern flair.
After The Williams Octet, the V8s came out again to perform three more songs before the final groups appeared. Starting with a fun, upbeat version of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” they followed with an amazing performance of “Put the Gun Down.” A beautiful combination of soprano and tenor, this was their best song of the night. The V8s finished up with an interactive rendition of Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors,” bringing the soloist from UConn who sang “One Day” to dance with them on stage. It was a very touching way to introduce the next group.
The Colgate Thirteen opened with a snap-worthy rendition of “Baby Come Home,” jumping down into the audience and serenading a lucky girl in the front row. Their next song had an ambiguous opening, so the audience wasn’t quite sure what to expect. They figured it out, though, when the group entered the rousing chorus to “I Take a Look at My Enormous Penis.” Though a fitting song considering what Acafella used to be called, it left many in that uncomfortable realm between shrieking and recoiling. The group assuaged any discomfort though by finishing with Coldplay’s “Fix You.”
The UMass Doo Wop Shop was the last to perform. Dressed in black shirts with an array of colorful ties, they dazzled with a cappella classics “Some Kind of Wonderful,” and “Who Put the Bop in the Bop Shoo Bop.” The crown jewel of the whole night was their famous Disney mashup, with flawless transitions between “Circle of Life,” “I Can Go the Distance,” “I Wanna Be Like You,” “Strangers Like Me,” “Be a Man,” “Prince Ali,” “Gaston,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.” A standard for the group that went viral on several years ago, it was the perfect wrap up to The Doo Wop Shop’s set.
The whole concert ended with The Doo Wop Shop and the V8s performing a mashup of Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” and Michael Jackson’s “Pretty Young Thing” before all of the groups took over the stage in a group bow. Never disappointing, Acafella lived up to expectations this year with great performances from all five groups, and it is safe to assume that everyone involved is looking forward to another amazing performance next year.