NEW GLOBE THEATRE, FORTITUDE VALLEY
Friday 11 December, 2015, 7:30pm
Guys, I have to tell you something. I think I’m an Acaholic… There, I said it.
Up in the Sunshine state, it can be pretty hard to find an a cappella gig around town, so luckily for me, I could cure my cravings with the sweet sounds of Soulstice A Cappella, the University of Queensland’s resident a cappella group.
Sousltice have certainly made their mark on the Brisbane a cappella scene since forming in 2011. Performing at venues like Cloudland, the Arena Entertainment Complex, and a performance for USA President Obama during the G20 Summit in 2014, the group also placed as Runner’s Up at the 2015 AUSACA QLD State Final. I actually stumbled across Soulstice for the first time in 2013 at Brisbane Festival, and although they were a much smaller group at this gig, I could tell that they had a strong bond and blended together really nicely. But this gig boasted their newly built team of 15 singers, and it definitely packed a punch.
Opening with an all-systems-go version of Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’, Soulstice moved on to include pieces like Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’, ‘Gold’ from the musical Once, Meghan Trainor’s ‘Lips Are Movin’, and many more. As the night went on, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that there were a whole range of genres that were being tackled, from Pop to Rock, R&B to the classic Christmas Carols. One of the things that the group included was a performance by a group of 4-5 singers halfway through each set, and I think this worked really nicely to not only let the other singers catch their breath (a cappella is hard work, people!), but it helped to change the atmosphere and move the show along nicely. ‘Ring Of Fire’ was one of these performances, and it worked absolutely beautifully.
From a visual point, it was so great to see some movement! In the past, I’ve noticed that Soulstice have usually only been able to have two or three condenser mics at the front to pick up the sound, which limited them in terms of choreography or staging work, but it was so nice to see that every singer was individually mic-ed, allowing them to move around. And with a small stage space like New Globe Theatre’s, they managed to have enough movement without it looking too forced or cramped for the space. The only set back to having the individual mics, was that at times, many of the solos and the occasional VP line didn’t come through strongly, leading to a few pitching problems throughout. Keeping track of 15 individual singers throughout a show is no easy task, so I think what would really help to highlight Soulstice’s future shows would be to find a sound technician that is experienced with a cappella. Preferably one that they can rehearse with, and can learn the sets back to front, so that they can craft their own sound and shows a little better.
Also proving a little tricky for the group was the changeover between songs with the staging. The waiting time became a bit lengthy – Brisbanites are definitely not that used to music like this, and our first instinct seems to (unfortunately) be that we chatter between songs. The group did handle this well by starting after they had moved themselves around but this definitely could have been tightened up.
One of the highlights of the night was the range of soloists with their different abilities and registers throughout the sets – it was really nice to see each person having their own little moment throughout the show, but I have to say, their tenor Jamie provided a killer solo on ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, and their alto Lamees showed off her serious chops in Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’.
Packed with loads energy and excitement, Soulstice put on a show that proves these guys know how to party, aca-style.
Reviewer: Alex Van den Broek
Alex Van den Broek was brought up into a musical family; from the ripe old age of five, she began training with the Australian Girls Choir, which saw her singing in countless shows and gigs across the state for eight years, following on by training privately for a number of years after. Her love of music grew even more so over time, seeing her explore performing across a range of genres and styles in venues like Brisbane City Hall, Brisbane Convention Centre, Metro Arts and many more. With a love of arranging, songwriting and music directing, Alex was one of the founding members and the music director for all female a cappella group Jazel, and is an award winning Choral Director and Vocal Coach, where she works with a range of groups from schools to university, loving to focus on contemporary a cappella. Alex recently graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Music with Distinction, and will continue her studies in 2016 with a focus on contemporary a cappella and vocal music.