I first came across the acapella superstars Pentatonix about two years ago, when their infamous medley the ‘Evolution of Music’ hit YouTube. It showed five completely different individuals harmonising and beat-boxing to produce an endless supply of hits right from the 1600s all the way up to Carly Rae Jepsen. From the moment I saw this video I was hooked and started watching every single video of them I could find and sharing away through social media.
The Members of Pentatonix:
- Scott Hoying – baritone lead and backing vocals
- Mitch Grassi – tenor/countertenor lead and backing vocals
- Kirstie Maldonado – mezzo-soprano lead and backing vocals
- Avi Kaplan – bass lead and backing vocals
- Kevin Olusola – vocal percussion, backing vocals, cello
Two years on and millions of YouTube hits later, these guys have picked up a Grammy award, released their very own Christmas album and are currently touring the world, thereby truly showing the power of social media, YouTube and an originality which cannot be touched. When I heard that they were playing a show in London, I had to snap these tickets up, and at the price of only £26.75 each, it was safe to say I found a complete bargain!
They started the show at 8:00pm, which meant that they only kept their standing and seated crowd waiting around for an hour listening to the latest hits and sipping on beers and cokes. The roar when they did come to the stage was incredible! These five down-to-earth ‘YouTubers’ could have been mistaken for a legendary rock band with the levels of support they had. They entered to a mash-up of some of their most popular hits being played around the venue, soaking up the screams and energy before kicking off with their cover of Ariana Grande’s ‘Problem’. Follow this with their awesome ‘Evolution of Beyonce’ medley and you already have one lively crowd!
They treated us to a few more covers of hits like ‘Rather Be’ (Clean Bandit) and their very impressive mash-up of Sam Smith’s appearances in ‘La La La’ and ‘Latch’ before slowing it down for a bit. Here they told the crowd of their path to stardom, showing uneducated fans like myself that they actually first achieved recognition through winning the third season of NBC talent show The Sing-Off in 2011, securing them a contract with Sony Music. It was the hard times of Sony Music dropping them from their label which drove Pentatonix to become the YouTube sensation they are today!
We were taken through some more sophisticated covers from the group, allowing them to showcase some of their operatic class and finishing this section with an incredible performance from vocal percussionist Kevin Olusola who owned the stage by syncing beat-boxing with cello playing. The whole crowd were in silence and awe of the talent before them.
Then came the big surprise of their never-before-heard cover of ‘Four Five Seconds’ (Rihanna) which had everybody singing along as they walked out into and around the crowd. Following this with a couple of up-to-date chart favourites like ‘Uptown Funk’ (Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars) and ‘Break Free’ (Ariana Grande), the group were in full flow and having the time of their lives up on stage, taking selfies with the crowd and even bringing up a member of the crowd and serenading her with Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’ which had us all laughing.
We were about an hour of the way through before the brilliant ‘Evolution of Music’was brought to the stage and I managed to catch it all on camera for you all to see (apologies for the shaky movement):
As you can tell, it was a treat to witness LIVE!
The finale was not what we were expecting, but it was refreshing to see them end with their own songs. They ended the show with their great sing-along song ‘On My Way Home’ which we helped them with. The three sections of the crowd sung a different part, and it had us feeling as though we were building the group up to sing the circle of life at first!
I unfortunately did not get the opportunity to record this as well, but here is a video from their performance at the Chicago Theatre back in March. Credit to Erin Cullen for the video:
After finishing with this number, the whole crowd wanted more, so much that everybody started singing their newly learned parts of ‘On My Way Home’ until the group came back to the stage.
Strangely enough, when they did come back, they treated us to a purely acapella (no microphones involved) version of one of their Christmas songs, reminding us that Christmas is only 8 months away people! It was very impressive and it is always a great thing to witness. They rounded up the hour and half of sing-alongs and incredible vocals with their Daft Punk medley which had the majority of the crowd going crazy. Personally though, it isn’t one of my favourites of theirs!
With such an endless amount of covers and YouTube hits, they were always going to have to leave a few songs out of the mix, but I was very sad to not hear their superb cover of ‘Royals’ which personally I believe tops the original from Lorde, and I was shocked that they didn’t perform the current Disney favourite ‘Let It Go’. However, this show was undoubtedly a memorable and unique experience! Witnessing five performers simply use their voices to create great music was so refreshing and it was the second time in the space of a year that I’ve been blown away by a stage performance since Ed Sheeran (Review Here!) back in October.
Thank You Pentatonix!
Written by Nick Price (@nickprice92)
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*Few more of My Favourites:
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