Upon entering Old Cabell Hall last Friday night for the Virginia Gentleman’s third concert of the year, audience members were tasked in the program to guess which five singers of the 17 had a correct biography in the program. Most stories involved absurd tales of quests to the North Pole, sandwich fights, crocodile wrestling and missing persons.
The audience’s engagement with the performance, however, was only just beginning, as the a cappella group took on a wide variety of songs with impressive vocal talents.
The night began with a series of happy love songs, including Orleans’ “Still the One,” Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Some Kind of Wonderful” by Grand Funk Railroad. Group members added to the lightness of the set with their own comedic gestures, at one point making a human bass and at another time all dropping to the floor on the same note.
The ensemble gallantly asked for money through a spoof of Plain White T’s’ “Hey There Delilah.” The compelling newbies begged the audience to buy a CD, receiving a lot of laughs if nothing else.
One of the group’s best performances was a medley of songs by the Four Seasons that included “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Sherry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”. As a testament to the group’s versatility, each of the blended songs incorporated a different lead singer. Overall, the Gentlemen’s ability to frequently switch their lead singer, beat boxer and bassist was impressive.
Hoos in Treble joined in for the show’s intermission performance. The group sang well — though their rendition of Lorde’s “Royals,” is, at this point, royally overplayed. Additionally, they sang “Hollow Drum” by Laura Welsh, “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin and “Radioactive” by the Imagine Dragons.
The second half of the concert proved as good as the first. The Virginia Gentlemen incorporated audience participation in their delivery of “Army” by Ben Folds Five. They then sang Gavin Degraw’s “Soldier” and the Eagles’ “Take it Easy”.
The crowd’s disappointment in hearing that the group only had one more song to sing, ”Hallelujah”, was marked by a large sigh throughout the audience.
Luckily, the audience did not have to wait in suspense for the encore, as the gentlemen ran right back on stage as soon as they has exited. They finished with a crowd pleaser, “Wagon Wheel,” to which many of the audience joined in.
The night ended with “The Good Ol’ Song,” reminding the audience of the Virginia Gentlemen’s school pride and history at the University.