REVIEW: The G-Men’s Winter Concert, ‘One G-Rection’

Last Friday, I decided to attend my first acapella concert in two years on a whim. After learning about the G-Men’s winter concert last week, I was intrigued – I had attended several years of G-Fest in the past, an “annual showcase of the best student groups the University of Michigan has to offer,” per the G-Men’s website. I’ve always enjoyed this eclectic collection of performance groups and was curious to see what a different style of showcasing looked like for this all-male acapella ensemble.  

Upon arriving at Rackham Auditorium and picking up my ticket, I was immediately invited to scan a QR code to view the concert’s program. This provided an instant glimpse into the essence of the evening. From the beginning of their concert, the G-Men exuded an energy that was both goofy and charmingly awkward, yet unmistakably self-aware. This tone was established from the moment I opened the virtual program. One of the highlights for me was the group members’ comical bios and photos, which set the stage for the tone of the night’s festivities. Despite the lighthearted approach, the program still provided essential information, such as the set list and social media handles. Throughout the evening, each song was introduced with a cheesy yet endearing preamble, perfectly capturing the group’s spirit of ‘silly men, serious music’. This energy was also evident in the group’s comedic approach to explaining their concert title, ‘One G-Rection’.

If you were wondering, I can confirm: Pitch Perfect really does emulate the accurate energy of college acapella concerts. The G-Men’s performance never disappoints. Senior G-Men member Max Crandell arranged seven songs for the evening, and I remain consistently impressed by his theory skills. The group’s blend was impressive, and each soloist brought their own personality to the song as they stepped forward to lead. I particularly enjoyed the soloist performance by Leo Kupferberg, a junior member who performed “Blow” by Kesha, as he exuded confidence and joy that are no doubt characteristic of his approach to the G-Men as a group. Overall, I was impressed by the musical performances of the G-Men in their winter concert. This came as no surprise to me, as the quality of each song I’ve seen performed by this group is always high.

The only other student performance group listed on the bill was Midnight Book Club, known across campus for their short-form improvisational comedy. I have to admit, I’m not always the biggest fan of college improv, but I thought this group did well in their scene work, especially considering the number of audience members they had to work with.

Unfortunately, the concert itself was not highly attended. As I looked around at the audience, I noted the age of my fellow spectators. I saw very few University of Michigan students – it seemed that most of the attendees were parents or family members of the G-Men’s members, and I would estimate that the Rackham Auditorium seats were about 25% full, give or take. While I did love the amusing song introductions and I mostly enjoyed Midnight Book Club’s performance, the minimal audience attendance definitely skewed the comedy of the night to prompt an awkward chuckle, as opposed to raucous laughter. After attending G-Fest for several years, I know this group has the potential to draw a larger crowd. I believe that there is room for growth in the G-Men’s marketing strategy, and the performance itself may have been better attended if more performance groups were listed on the bill, similarly to G-Fest. 

The University of Michigan boasts an established and engaged acapella community, with fourteen groups affiliated with the Michigan Acapella Council, but this minimally attended performance led me to ponder how frequently these groups interact after the ICCAs conclude each year. When each group gets immersed in their own winter programming, does the community momentarily disband?

I look forward to attending more G-Men events in the future, and I sincerely hope that more students get the opportunity to check out their impressive performances. Keep an eye out for the next G-Men album, which was recorded recently and will be released in late 2024.

Arlee Bay

Arlee Bay is an arts student who is deeply passionate about theatre, music, and film. She is heavily involved in the student theatre scene on campus and is greatly enthused to continue exploring the remarkable art that Ann Arbor has to offer, both on campus and off. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, arranging flowers, hosting charcuterie nights, and telling people that she didn't enjoy Oppenheimer.

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