Photo by Beth Askins
A cappella isn’t just for choir geeks anymore. InterVals, a co-ed a cappella group from the University of California, Santa Barbara, gave a spunky and aca-awesome performance on March 15 that was the perfect determent from the stress of finals week around the corner. Their performance was not a typical a cappella show characterized by dim lights and choreographed dance moves. Rather, InterVals decided to forego normalcy and beat-boxed, rapped, and soulfully sang their way through their “Potential Breakup”-themed set list.
From the first moment that the entire group set foot onto the stage, it was evident that uniformity was not a priority. The president of InterVals, Terry Li, interrupted the show after “Hotel Song” by Regina Spektor to clarify the eclectic appearance of those on stage, saying that the members of InterVals were encouraged to wear whatever they thought exemplified their personal style and who they were. It was all done in an effort to promote individuality and self-love. They then launched into the big and bold “Gone Daddy Gone” by Gnarls Barkley (originally recorded by the Violent Femmes), complete with hand clapping and foot stomping.
All of the songs were great; the set list included classic heartbreak songs like “Erase/Rewind” by The Cardigans and “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri, and also some sassy and enjoyable songs like “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar” by the Guild and “Party in the U.S.A./Party and Bullsh*t,” a fun mash-up of songs by Miley Cyrus (in her pre-weird hair days) and Biggie Smalls. The song choices were entertaining, to be sure, but even more entertaining and endearing was the sprinkling of lyrical mistakes and off-pitch moments at certain points throughout the show. The slip-ups, though few, were taken in stride by the singers and followed with laughter by both the audience and the singers as the performers danced and sang. They played the piano and guitar with great zeal as they opened the show, and argued openly onstage about what pitch the song they were about to sing was in. They interrupted the show with their comments, and threw around superlatives like “magnificent” and “one-of-a-kind” as they introduced their soloists. There was a sense of camaraderie among them, and it evoked a sense of oneness with the audience, too.
The music was good, the outfits were better, and the feeling that I had when I walked out of St. Michael’s church was the best. InterVals seems to specialize in those feelings, with wackiness and genuineness, providing quality entertainment without taking themselves too seriously. As Li said in the program, “We in InterVals really pride ourselves on trying to do something a little different with a cappella, and we want to put the spotlight on y’all too—the fabulous audience members.” This was not a show made to show off, it was a show made to encourage you let your hair down and shake your tail feathers with people as awesome as you. It was a show made to help you accept yourself, awkward moments, mistakes, and all. As epitomized through the performance, everyone needs a little self-loving!