I don't know where these guys have been hiding - well, I do: South Africa - but they sure know how to bring it. From the very outset, this (largely) a cappella group brought wide grins to every face around with their ambitious, tight harmonies, high-energy, perfectly synchronised choreography and general all-round dazzling performance.
The group's choice of songs was impeccable. New and exciting songs in Afrikaans rubbed shoulders with ones I'd never heard before (perhaps written especially for them) as well as timeless classics such as ‘Fever’ and ‘Mustang Sally’, which was the number of the show for me. I found that the African songs about being homeless and saying sorry were as interesting as they were impressive, since the language barrier made the audience sit up straight in order to comprehend what they were singing.
Beyond dance moves, physical and therefore aesthetic aspects of the show had clearly been well-considered, with several plateaux (like a human car for Mustang Sally) and fluid seguing into and out of numbers.
With no frontman, the pressure was on each performer to meet the high standards set by the ensemble. Thankfully, they did, and with aplomb, with each voice offering something different from the one before but blending together eerily well with the others. From the big superbass to the astoundingly high little guy, they all had fantastic ranges anyway and just when you thought they'd ticked every box, they were joined by an elderly gentleman in a wicked hat who just oozed soul.
Outside of the songs, none of the performers spoke a word of English, which I feared would alienate us somewhat; however, it was strangely easy to understand them as they chirped merrily away to one another in Afrikaans. In fact, the idea of music as transcendental and transgressive really added another dimension to the show. Plus one of them did seem to keep miaowing, which was entertaining nonetheless. For the duration, every one of the young men on stage looked as though he was having the time of his life, and their enthusiasm and sheer ecstasy was infectious – cue hand clapping and toe-tapping even in the first song.
My only criticism is that the show sometimes tries a little too hard. For a couple of fleeting moments, it suddenly struck me how commercial the outfit was: whether this or that vocal adornment was a trill too far, or those dance moves a tad unnecessary. If a little relaxation could creep in without compromising the momentum, I might have loved it all the more. Even still: Go. And. See. This. Show. It’s inhumanly good.