An enthusiastic crowd piled into Jorgensen on Friday night to see the all-male professional a capella group Straight No Chaser make a decade old college campus tradition unconventional.
Straight No Chaser was founded in 1996 at Indiana University, and in just two years, they released a youtube video of their rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” which not only went viral, but got them a deal with Atlantic Records. The original 10 members stayed on for three years until new members were chosen to take their spots, but most of the group later reunited in April of 2012 and continue touring today.
From their introductory video starring John Michael Higgins of “Pitch Perfect,” to the complex smoke and light show that changed with every song, Straight No Chaser made sure that they showcased their brand of “unconventional a capella,” if such a thing exists.
Their performance was characterized by the need to meet both crowds in the audience: the college student minority and the older couple majority. They jumped from older songs like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Twistin’ the Night Away” and “Just a Gigolo” to songs a younger audience would enjoy like “Crazy in Love,” “Single Ladies” and “Feel It Still.”
One song enjoyed by all was their original Disney Medley that took famous Disney classics like “The Circle of Life” and “A Whole New World” and changed them into to hilarious parodies.
Sophia Pelletier, a fourth-semester journalism and communications major, said this song was her favorite. “I liked the Disney stuff. I feel like that part was connected specifically to UConn because we grew up with Disney so it was aimed towards us,” Pelletier said.
Gabrielle Horton, a fourth-semester finance major, agreed. “The whole Lion King and Aladdin and all that, that’s stuff that obviously adults watch but more-so we watch,” Horton said.
Straight No Chaser added another entertaining element in their commentary between songs. They told jokes that can only be described as the epitome of cheesy. When introducing the altos, the members of an a capella group who get most of the solos, the three men dabbed, waved like royalty and curtsied, to which the group member introducing them said sarcastically, “They’re the shy ones.” Was it predictable? Yes, but the audience ate it up.
“I’d never seen them, so I didn’t know what to expect. They were so good, it was pure entertainment and just old-school guys kind of working the stage,” Pelletier said.
“I found it a little interesting at first because I didn’t expect, with a capella, that there was going to be all this smoke and everything, but I thought whatever was on the background always added a nice touch to whatever they were singing,” Horton said.
Alex Taylor is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.