Pillbox

No instruments? No problem

No Instruments Aloud featured the vocal stylings of seven different a cappella groups, one of which  traveled from Case Western Reserve University
to perform. (credit: Alex Webster | ) No Instruments Aloud featured the vocal stylings of seven different a cappella groups, one of which traveled from Case Western Reserve University to perform. (credit: Alex Webster | )

A cappella is one of Carnegie Mellon’s not-so-hidden gems. No Instruments Aloud was a showcase of not one, not two, but seven talented groups of a cappella singers, including a special guest appearance from Case Western Reserve University’s Solstice. The showcase, which took place last Saturday, was an evening full of claps, snaps, and plenty of laughter.

The show kicked off with The Originals covering Rob Thomas’ “Streetcorner Symphony.” For the next song, the all-male group slowed things down a bit with Coldplay’s “Fix You.” The lead, sophomore electrical and computer engineering major Ryan Salvo, channeled Coldplay singer Chris Martin’s cool, high notes, while the rest once again chimed with imitated instrumentation, led this time by vocal percussionist and junior computer science major Duncan Boehle. The Originals finished off their set with a humorous rendition of Cee-Low’s “F*CK You” led by junior architecture major Richman Neumann.

The Christian a cappella group Joyful Noise came on stage next, and stated that the group’s first song, Superchick’s “Stand in The Rain,” was about how God is always supporting us. The lyrics assured that “one day what’s lost can be found.” Before beginning the third song of the Joyful Noise set, a member of the group explained that the song was a dialog between two people as well as a mashup of two songs, in this case Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ “Your Guardian Angel” and Paramore’s “My Heart.” The song featured beat-boxing and solos from a large number of the singers.

Soundbytes were next up on stage, and the group was quick to change the pace with a powerful rendition of Rihanna’s “Rudeboy,” led by junior humanities and arts student Liz Martindale and backed by skillful beat-boxing. Next in its set was Paramore’s “That’s What You Get,” which featured more direct instrumental imitations as well as more harmonized background vocals.

Only half of Case Western Reserve’s Solstice was able to make it to Carnegie Mellon on Saturday, but the group members assured the audience that they had nothing to worry about. Solstice started off with Kate Nash’s “Pumpkin Soup,” and after singing “I just want your kiss,” the lead singer paused to jokingly address the audience, “I’m sick but I’m not contagious, so don’t worry ‘bout it” before diving back into the song. The next song, Yael Naim’s “New Soul,” proved that even with only half its members, the ensemble still had plenty of energy and range with its harmonizations.

Deewane started up after intermission with a mashup that helped to bring the audience “back to spring break” by mashing up Shaggy’s “Angel” with a tropical tune “Dil Kya Kare.” Its imitation of Rayvon’s rapping style was particularly well received.

The Treblemakers, the newest a cappella group on campus, started off with a cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless” before warming things up with a lovable ’90s throwback, Eagle Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight,” which was led by a charming two-person harmony. The final song was an emotional rendition of Bruno Mars’ popular song “Grenade.”

Counterpoint started its set off with VV Brown’s “Shark in the Water,” which allowed the group to showcase its members’ vocal range. Ellene Mobbs, a senior English major, helped to lighten things up by leading the group through an airy rendition of Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister.”

The Originals reappeared with a change into formal attire and plenty of choreography, which helped to end the night with a laugh. In addition to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” and the encore, Grand Funk Railroad’s “Some Kind of Wonderful,” the all-male group got the audience on its feet with a sidesplitting rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.”

Overall, the evening provided a diverse mix of songs and proved that one doesn’t need instruments to make great music.