Naked Voices held their quarterly acapella concert on Friday, May 18. It was a delightful evening, and the group is definitely worth seeing in the future.
The show opened with three other acapella groups: Intervals, Vocalmotion, and BFOM; however, when the headliners, Naked Voices, stormed the stage, the audience was electrified with a series of upbeat pop songs over the next ten songs.
The concert was themed around ABC’s “The Bachelor,” a reality television show that introduces a bachelor who gives away roses to a group of female suitors each week, eliminating them one-by-one based on whoever does not receive a rose. In “Naked Voices: The Bachelor Edition,” we discover that only three members of the Naked Voices group will receive a rose: the graduating seniors.
Before the seniors received their roses, they shared their favorite memories of performing acapella throughout their UCSB career. These memories included their first concert, a fifteen-hour round of World of Warcraft, and friendships made over the course of their time.
Naked Voices then opened the show with a crowd favorite: “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. Irving Soto was the soloist in this first song, and his vocals were flawless, commanding the stage from the beginning. It was this song that set a kinetic tone for the rest of the evening.
The next highlight of the evening was the group’s rendition of “Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato. The soloist for this performance was Katie Kaiser, the group’s vice president and choreographer. She had a very rich voice with a lot of power, and it suited the song well. Soloist and second year Bella Bohn effortlessly performed the proceeding songs “Whenever, Wherever” by Shakira, and “Can’t Feel My Face” by the Weekend.
After that, Naked Voices sang “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, “Pony” by Ginuwine, and “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse. “Pony” by Ginuwine was completely different from the rest of their numbers; it is a very sexual song, and the choreography, surprisingly, matched the lyrics. The soloist of this song was the second vice president, Kennedy Didier. She raised the energy — and her voice — as she hit the high notes.
The last two songs were “Bet On It” from “High School Musical 2” and “Lady Marmalade” by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, MYA, and P!nk from the “Moulin Rouge” soundtrack. “Lady Marmalade” was a dynamic number with powerhouse vocals similar to those of Christina Aguilera herself. It also showcased the versatility of the group as it combined rap solos by students Jasmine Wahab and Casey Glasser.
Overall, the highlights of the evening were the senior solos. The first of the solos was “Whenever, Wherever” by Shakira performed by Ariana Meyers. The singing was captivating and the hip-shaking choreography was imaginative. The second senior solo was “Take Me to Church” by Hozier performed by Joseph Song. This is a very emotional song, but it was lightened by his performance.
The final senior solo, and arguably the best performance of the night, was “Bet On It” from “High School Musical 2,” performed by Nick Naoumovitch, the group’s president. When he took off his dress shirt to reveal a Troy Bolton basketball jersey, it was obvious that it was going to be a special moment. The performance was funny, energetic, and evocative as it filled everyone in the room with nostalgia of the 2007 film. My favorite part of the performance was when two members of the group brought a full-length mirror from offstage to mimic the iconic scene from the movie when Zac Efron dramatically sings to his reflection in a pond.
The crowd was vibrant the entire night, with people shouting for their friends and loved ones. The energy of the crowd definitely had an effect on the performers, as they often cracked a smile when the crowd’s noises were at their heights. It was a back-and-forth battle between the crowd and the performers to see who could bring the most energy.
At the end of the night, the seniors received their roses and chords to wear at graduation, taking their final bows as members of Naked Voices in front of an applauding and satisfied audience. It’s always important to support UCSB talent, but especially so when it works as hard, and produces as fun of a show, as Naked Voices.