Brown stole the show at the International Competition of Collegiate A Capella Northeast Quarter Finals Saturday night, with the Higher Keys in second place and the Jabberwocks taking the championship.
The showcase, hosted by the Bear Necessities in an overflowing Salomon 101, featured a capella groups from Columbia University, Bowdoin College, New York University, the University of Massachussetts at Amherst and Northeastern University, along with the two Brunonian groups, which will both compete in the semi-finals at the Massachussets Institute of Technology on March 20.
The Northeastern University Downbeats, the second runners-up, won’t be heading to the next round but nevertheless ended on a strong note with haunting and explosively energized renditions of Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy” and Kanye West’s “Heartless.” The excitement their routine sparked was palpable, and their vibe was anything but downbeat.
Emcee Matt Bauman ’10 of the Bear Necessities introduced the Downbeats as a group currently celebrating their tenth anniversary, but in response to the ensuing applause, he qualified this statement by saying, “I feel bad, I just made that up.”
The victors’ most memorable performance was of “Somebody” by Kings of Leon, for which Andrew Wong ’11 received recognition as outstanding soloist.
But the Higher Keys had the noisiest and most salient fan base, cheering from the audience with signs saying “classy,” “sexy,” and other descriptions with which Brown’s oldest co-ed a capella group identifies itself.
While the judges made their decision, a vocal percussion contest displayed the talents of the various competitors’ beat-boxers, and the Bear Necessities entertained the audience with such classics as “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” and a Britney Spears medley.
Other highlights included the Bowdoin Longfellow’s rhythmic and soulful blend of the folk songs “Take me Home, Country Road” and “Wagon Wheel,” the UMass Amherst Dynamics’ movement-centered interpretation of Rilo Kiley’s “Portions for Foxes” and an animated and playful performance of “Sweet Child of Mine” by NYU’s Jewish a capella group Avi V’ata.
Bauman announced to the audience that his interview with Ani V’ata was intercepted by the members’ mothers, informing him that they were glad their children were “getting this show biz mishigas over with.”
— Suzannah Weiss