In three short years, All the King’s Men have gone from a little-known university a cappella group to the third best collegiate group in the world, and from the simply phenomenal set that they flaunt in their afternoon show, it is not hard to see why.From start to finish, this show is slick, oozes professionalism and utter precision. From the first song to the last, the audience erupted with applause after each and every one as the boys in purple mesmerised with their incredible arrangements and infectious energy. There were very few weaknesses in this performance: the wall of sound that hit the audience from the small stage was gobsmacking.
Mash-ups were abundant and effective. The boys opened with the strongest number from their international competition set this year, ‘Born This Way/Edge of Glory’, incorporating some simple yet effective choreography and some silky solos. They also showcased their California Medley which they arranged for their tour of California earlier in the year, including all the Californian classics from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phantom Planet and the Beach Boys. Most impressive was Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ and Snow Patrol’s ‘Run’, which was tackled immensely with a beautiful, low, dulcet solo that slithered coolly into the hearts of each and every audience member.
The boys are at their finest when they sing slower, close harmony numbers. Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’, though it has been extensively covered, was given a new lease of life with a fresh arrangement and induced goosebumps. The real triumph of the evening was their arrangement of Imogen Heap’s ‘Hide and Seek’, which was sheer musical perfection. The dynamics were phenomenal and the staccato and legato were intricately and unanimously observed.
There are many collegiate a cappella groups to choose from at this year’s festival, but this is one of the finest. It would be foolish to miss it.