Straight No Chaser: A cappella kings dazzle

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Straight No Chaser: A cappella kings dazzle

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As a collegiate a cappella group that formed at Indiana University in 1996, Straight No Chaser performed their “I’ll Have Another…” tour this past Sunday at the renowned Fox Theatre. With a name inspired by Thelonious Monk’s 1967 album, “Straight, No Chaser,” the ten-piece group first performed at a dance marathon. The group that currently consists of members Randy Stine, Michael Luginbill, David Roberts, Charlie Mechling, Jerome Collins, Walter Chase, Donald Nottingham, Sargon Isho, Tyler Trepp and Steven Morgan rose to fame with their track, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” as part of their “Holiday Spirits” album. Since then, the group has released six albums, with the “I’ll Have Another…Christmas Album,” being their third holiday album, which they used to spread their holiday cheer this past weekend.

The concert began with a hilarious video clip narrating their tour, seeking to prove the point that former member Randy Stine made, “We take the music very seriously. We just don’t take ourselves too seriously.” From there, throughout the performance the group effortlessly continued to entertain the audience with their humor.

The show began with the hit rendition “Marvin Gaye” and continued with other fun numbers like “The Dock of The Bay/Proud Mary” along with a comical piece, “On the Road Melody,” in which they sang all the places that they went on tour. The highlights of the first half of the concert include the beautiful, harmonious rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep,” which is sure to make your heart melt while listening to the layered voices in the first ten seconds. This was followed by the hit “All About That Bass” with an addition of the group’s creative word play on the lyrics “All about that bass (no tenors)”. The song was introduced by dividing the group into tenors, basses and altos, along with the percussionist, and was proceeded with the song that jokingly mocked the tenors while letting the basses take up the spotlight.

The clever word play that was incorporated into the lyrics along with the synchronized groovy dance moves elevated the musical treat into a visual pleasure. That, along with the playful banter amongst the group while singing, and Collins’ quirky expressions and his constant catchphrase “Aw hell no!” made the performance lively. Throughout the concert Straight No Chaser kept the audience engaged either by letting the audience sing along with them, to which Nottingham congratulated everyone on their debut at the Fox Theater, or even at the comically flirtatious looks they gave to the women at the front.

But, even more impactful than their sense of humor, the talent and the creativity of the group was prevalent. Collins stole the show with an incredibly soulful voice, especially in the piece “Mary, Did You Know?” and in Toto’s “Africa” which are best heard live. Their sincerity and talent can be seen through their arrangements, especially in the Straight No Chaser original, “Feels Like Christmas.”

Post-intermission, Nottingham acknowledged that it might be too early to start listening to some holiday tunes, and had the song with apt lyrics for the situation, “To Christmas! (The Drinking Song)”—an ode to their favorite pastime for the holidays. They continued with hits like “All I want for Christmas…” and made sure that they sang their famous rendition of  “12 Days of Christmas,” in which they played around with the tediousness and repetitiveness of the piece while also adding lines from other Christmas tunes.

They left the audience energetic with their rendition of “All the Single Ladies,” and after a very long and deserved standing ovation, the group performed a final song without their microphones, creating a raw and soulful atmosphere.

What makes Straight No Chaser such a delight to watch is the rapport that the ten-piece group shares. They are all from different parts of the country, and seeing them come together and simply making the stage fun while adding their talents and impactful music kept the audience begging for more.