A Cappella as never seen before. Straight No Chaser are a world apart from the traditional male barber shop harmonizers. Ten quite ordinary looking guys dressed in sharp suits with black shirts, they already look hip and ready for action.
Indeed they are! Tightly choreographed dance moves to each number add pizazz and give opportunities for loads of gags and funny staged business.
The men have built a cult following because a you-tube of them singing an hilarious mash up of Christmas songs which went viral. Thus the small audience at Perth's Astor, (about 320 sold) was largely younger and wonderfully enthusiastic, which is good because artists like these feed off the crowd energy.
Opening with a mash up of the divine harmonies of Marvin Gaye, the crowd was instantly hooked. Then it was a whirlwind tour through familiar radioplaylist hits such as Shut Up and Dance with Me and Take Me to the Church. All performed with an impressive vocal range and the benefit of tight arrangements and disciplined team work.
After a quick introduction to the various sections of the ensemble, tenors, baritones, sound effects like percussion and so on, the guys launched into a ripper version of All About That Bass (No Tenors).
Harking back to their College days at University in Indiana (1995/6), the group explained that was where they got their start. Six of the original members are part of the group for this tour (Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney), the other members fit in when and where needed.
There was a zippy version of Stayin’ Alive messed in with Superstition followed by Bridge over Troubled Waters which drew warm audience appreciation. I loved the Frankie Valli duo, Big Girls Don’t Cry cleverly entwined with Walk like a Man. Superb stuff!
Another highlight was the Movie Medley which added clever lyrics to some of the most famous instrumental film themes eg Titanic, Rocky, James Bond, Jurassic Park, Star Wars and ET to name but a few! It was a speedy and hilarious ride.
Responding to enormous whistling, stamping applause, hoots, cheers and a standing ovation the group gave us 2 encores.
The finale was an un-microphoned version of how they sounded in their earliest incarnation in their College years. Nothing like as dramatic as their present marvellous staging and routines, but simply lovely in harmonies, pitch and finish.
I do hope a larger antipodean audience will discover this amazing ensemble
Keep your eyes peeled Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. An absolute treat!
STRAIGHT NO CHASER
Venue: Astor Theatre, Perth
Date: 13 July 2016
The New Old Fashioned Australia Tour 2016
Brisbane The Tivoli | Friday July 15
Sydney York Theatre/Seymour Centre | Saturday July 16
Melbourne The Palms At Crown | Sunday July 17