REVIEW: Dance Mix 2017 The Galaxy Edition

What a night. I started walking over to the Power Center with my friend five minutes before the concert started to find a building packed with students. Before the first group took the stage, the organizers announced that this was the second sold-out concert in a row.

 

Some sold-out concerts don’t feel sold out. You can spot empty seats and the audience is tame. Not so for this young, rambunctious crowd that hooted and hollered names of friends in the dance groups all throughout the event. Between the energy of the audience and the students moving around on stage, the 2.5 hour event felt like taking a shot of espresso.

When things get hot and heavy on stage

First off, I have to apologize at not being able to keep track of the names of the groups. Every group that took the stage was incredibly talented in their own unique way. Alas, I did not have a program with me during the concert so I could not tell exactly which group was on stage at a particular time.

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t imagine it’s easy to fit a wide variety of student acts into one concert, but Dance Mix 17 pulled it off through smooth transitions between more traditional ballet (top left picture) and decidedly modern hip-hop (top right picture), as well as dancers that both to the melodies of ballads and rock songs alike.

One of the highlights of the group was Revolution and their stringless yo-yo performance. Countless students walked across the stage slinging their plastic yo-yo’s like divine beings levitating rocks. Those plastic yo-yo’s flew across the stage and around the slingers and every trick drew fresh cheers from the crowd. Even the tricks that failed still felt like successes, and I was definitely not the only one entranced by the performance.

 

Later, Photonix performed in the dark with glow sticks, producing images like the one you see in the header photo of this blog. Towards the end of the performance, they unleashed hundreds of mini glow sticks into the audience.
The audience being composed almost entirely of students, everyone went wild.

Another highlight of the night was a Bollywood rendition of Top Gun (by Michigan Manzil I think). The story was a cliche telling of a young fighter pilot who loses his friend in a fight, but this isn’t a Hollywood film and the performance was one of the standouts of the second half of the night.

The Bollywood-esque peformance went through half a dozen wardrobe changes without a hitch, in addition to props and set pieces, and above all it was entertaining as heck.

Rounding out the rest of the night were performances by EnCore (picture below), Outrage, and FunKtion again.

I’m incredibly glad I was able to attend this event, and if you’re reading this blog and didn’t go this year, you NEED to attend next year.

Review: Our Victory and Pride

On Saturday I attended the Men’s Glee Club concert titled Our Victory and Pride: Singing in the Key of Michigan Since 1859.  I have been to multiple concerts of the Men’s Glee Club, however, this one was by far my favorite!  The concert celebrated Michigan’s composers as a part of the bicentennial celebration.   And if you missed this concert, there will be another celebrating the bicentennial in the fall!

I absolutely loved all of the songs that were sung, and could definitely see the tie to Michigan in them.  Some of the composers such as Kristin Kuster (composer of “given a body” and “Michigan: Unite”), Shawn Crouch (composer of “The Peace of Wild Things”), and William Brehm (“I will remember, my Michigan”) were in the audience on Saturday night.  The Men’s Glee Club also sang an awesome “Motown Medley” arranged by director Eugene Rogers and JDM.  My personal favorite had to have been “The Map”.  “The Map” took us on a drive through the state of Michigan and highlighted some of the more popular cities.  The hilarious and lovable group of The Friars also made an appearance, singing some of their songs.

The Men’s Glee Club closed their concert with the popular “Varsity and the Victors” as well as “The Yellow and Blue”, in which they invited the alumni of the Men’s Glee Club onstage.  This was such a fun concert to attend and I’m looking forward to part two on November 10 and 11 at the International Male Chorus Symposium!

PREVIEW: Our Victory and Pride

This Saturday, April 15, the University of Michigan’s Men’s Glee Club will be performing a concert titled Our Victory and Pride: Singing in the Key of Michigan Since 1859.  Continuing the celebration of the bicentennial, the Men’s Glee Club will sing songs that pay tribute to, not only our wonderful state, but also the brilliant composers of Michigan.  I even read that they will be premiering a new Michigan song, written by Professor Kristin Kuster.

The Men’s Glee Club Concert will take place at Hill Auditorium at 8pm.  Tickets are on sale now, between $5-$20 depending on seating.  For ticket information, visit: http://tickets.music.umich.edu/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=3005.

REVIEW: G’s Out for Harambe- G-men Fall 2016 Concert

If I didn’t already know from the title of tonight’s performance, “G’s Out for Harambe,” by the time I picked up the program at the front of the theater I knew that we were about to see what my friend lovingly described as “a comedy show disguised as an acapella concert.” Describing the G-Men as able to rock audiences with “the power of 100 raging Mark Ruffalo’s,” and suggesting a game with points awarded for catching members “visibly power-hungry,” laughing at their own jokes, or going cross-eyed, the program was representative of the G-Men’s unique sense of fun and levity.

The G-Men were cracking jokes the entire night in between songs, showing off their tangible camaraderie.  Sometimes it felt like the audience was privy to a big inside joke, that while none of us fully understood, we were fully entertained nonetheless.  However, the true star of the show was the amazing musicality displayed by the group.  They opened the performance with “Like Real People” by Hozier, which showcased both their singing and arranging skills.  The trend continued through to their next song, “Dust Bowl Dance” by Mumford and Sons.  I was most impressed by how skillfully they were able to alternate between powerful bursts of sound and quieter moments, moving together as a cohesive unit.  For a sample of this particular arrangement of “Dust Bowl Dance,” check out their performance of it at last year’s Charity Fest below.

 

The next two songs were “Color My World” by Chicago and “Sunday Morning(s)” by Maroon 5.  The soloists in each of these songs, as well as the entire set list, were fantastic and matched the tone of the song perfectly.  One member even did an impressive saxophone imitation, reflecting the mix of comedy and artistry that G-Men possess.  Check out the video of their performance of “Sunday Morning(s)” at this year’s MacFest below.

The last song before intermission was my favorite of the night, a stunningly emotive rendition of “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles.  After introducing the song with a joke of it being, “the 22nd best Beatles song,” they blew us away with the sheer power of their performance.  Below is a video of them performing the song last year.

After a brief intermission, the Sopranos came onto stage and sang two numbers, one of them “Lost in the World” by Kanye West, a video of their arrangement is attached below.  They then invited the G-Men back, who rushed onto the stage with renewed energy and fresh t-shirts, only to perform a stunning rendition of “Shadow of the Sun” together with the Sopranos.

They finished the show with three more songs, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, “Sandcastles” by Beyoncé, and “Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West. Each song was just as polished as the first half.

While snow was falling in blowing frigid air by the time we left the auditorium, my friends and I were filled with enough post-show energy to last for the entire walk home.  The conversation never left the fantastic performance we had just witnessed. If you are interesting in listening to more of the G-men and keeping track of their upcoming concerts, check out their Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/themichigangmen/

PREVIEW: Jake Shimabukuro, ukulele

This Wednesday, November 16, the University Musical Society is bringing ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro to the University of Michigan!  The concert will take place in Hill Auditorium at 7:30pm.

Photo taken from http://www.jakeshimabukuro.com/home/photos/

Shimabukuro started playing ukulele at the age of four, and now he is doing concerts around the world!  With a four-stringed instrument, he is able to play anything from classical music to popular songs such as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  More information on Jake Shimabukuro can be found at his website: http://www.jakeshimabukuro.com/home/

Photo taken from http://www.jakeshimabukuro.com/home/photos/

Tickets are on sale for $16.00-$60.00 (depending on the location of the seats) at http://ums.org/performance/jake-shimabukuro/.

PREVIEW: Lemaître “We Got U” Tour

Ready to scream into the void about the results of last night’s election? Why not dance your troubles away with the Norwegian indie electronic duo, Lemaître, before launching right back into the thick of things like a true wolverine? They will be performing Tonight, November 9th at Necto Nightclub as a part of their “We Got U” tour.

I have personally been listening to their music for years, and love their sound, but the best way to showcase their music would be to simply listen to it for yourself.  The following video is for “Playing to Lose,” off their latest EP, Afterglow. The video also features some footage of their live show in London, perhaps giving us a sneak peek of what awaits us tonight.

The following music video is for “Closer” off of their Singularity EP. This song was used in one of the first promotional videos released for the launch of Google’s Pixel Phone.

 

The doors will open at 9 PM, and you can buy tickets online or at the door for $18.  You can find more information about the event at Necto’s Website.

Tickets are available for pre-sale here. Note that while online tickets are only $15, there is an additional $3 charge for the transaction.

Featured Image from Interview Magazine.