“These guys should be selling out arenas…the best show I’ve ever seen in Edinburgh.”
With their own set and taking the stage in individual black and white outfits to reflect their own personalities, Gobsmacked! look every inch the “cool” a capella group, and their opening number – an energetic rendition of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now – shows just how much they mean business.
The group’s arrangements – all by former Sons of Pitches star Jack Blume – are quite poppy by nature, allowing each member of the group to have their moment as lead vocalist, with plenty of supporting lines and balance, despite there being just seven members. Throughout the show there are blends and mash-ups aplenty, especially the closing medley, which somehow managed to link over 20 pop songs into one cohesive number, and every arrangement is just as rousing and unique as the last. This is a show that just has quality at every level.
Many a capella choirs these days claim to have slick choreography to accompany their singing, but few I’ve seen have come close to this group’s overall visual presentation with movement, drama and tableau so effortlessly working alongside their singing. In particular, the mash-up between Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy with Adele’s Rolling in the Deep depicts a relationship break-down, jealousy and attempts to move on in a perfect combination between flawless singing and creative staging.
It’s almost impossible for me to pick any standout moments, as the show is all so polished in wow-factor, but award-winning beatboxer Ball-Zee’s solo section midway through the performance left me genuinely gobsmacked for about ten minutes, and in a sea of up tempo numbers I can’t not mention the beautifully stripped back rendition of I Will Wait. If, midway through the show, I was worried that Gobsmacked! might be leaning a bit too much towards the pop-dance genre, this song went a long way to demonstrating the variety and depth of music that this group can more than capably deliver.
I suppose I should attempt to highlight areas of the performance that didn’t work as well, but the only very slight blemishes I noticed were that a couple of the performers seemed a little less flamboyant and stage-aware than their choir-mates (though we can’t all be divas), and it was a shame that some live vocal looping was used in a couple of the songs (though only the really keen observer would notice this). Otherwise, for me this show is as close to perfection as you can get.
After this performance Gobsmacked! are now my absolute favourite a capella group in town – these guys should be selling out arenas. I honestly think this is the best show I’ve ever seen in Edinburgh.
Reviewer: Steve Griffin (Seen 14 August)