Perhaps I’m experiencing a cappella fatigue, but the singers at this show did nothing to wow me particularly. It’s an interesting aspect of a cappella that the first time you hear ‘Cry Me A River’ you think it’s incredibly clever and creative, but by the third or fourth time, you begin to lose interest. That said, this late night show had a good structure, the proceeds from ticket sales will go to charity and it was compered by the likeable all-male King’s College London ten-piece, All the King’s Men.
There’s much to like about good a cappella music, but in order to stand out, it really pays to choose your material carefully.
Other acts to perform included In The Pink, an all-female twelve-part group from the University of Oxford. They embarked on ‘Cry Me A River’ in a v-formation, then broke out into some funky robotic dancing. Next we had a cover of The Feeling’s ‘Rose’, which started with a solo. The soloist had a lovely, delicate, vulnerable voice. The gradual inclusion of the other singers and the percussive accompaniment was genuinely moving.
Elsewhere, The Sons of Pitches, an all-male seven-piece from the University of Birmingham, were responsible for another rendition of ‘Cry Me A River’. After this, they sang an earnest ‘Wonderwall’ that read far more into the song than I imagine the Gallaghers ever envisaged.
It was then on to the second Oxford lot, a mixed-voice crew called The Oxford Alternotives with their rendition of ‘Superstition’. They sung a light and frothy version of ‘Lovely Day’ and the male soloist in this made the performance for me. He’s dapper, he’s got a great voice and he was well-supported by some natty percussive backing.
Finally, we had The Accidentals, an all-female group from St Andrews. ‘You Can Go Your Own Way’ was rather poor: the singer’s cracked, weepy voice sounded insincere. Then we were into more lively territory with a cover of Taio Cruz’s ‘Dynamite’.
All the King’s Men returned to finish off the evening with Olly Murs’ ‘Dance With Me Tonight’: standing in an inverted triangle, their backs facing us, each member slowly turned around – they moved well and there was even a spot of tap-dancing to send us off into the night.
There’s much to like about good a cappella music, but in order to stand out, it really pays to choose your material carefully – and pray that no one pinches it off you.