Halloween arrived early at McGuinn Hall Saturday night as the Acoustics, the Dynamics, the Common Tones, and My Mother’s Fleabag shared the stage for an evening of festive a cappella and comedy. String lights and Halloween decorations created a cozy atmosphere in the packed hall.
The Acoustics, the hosts of the event, took the stage decked out in elaborate costumes. Freshmen members were dressed as the three blind mice. The sophomores went as Pokémon characters. Juniors wore goofy corn costumes, and when the three seniors jogged onto the stage dressed as University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., and his grass, the crowd erupted into laughter. The group began with a performance of X Ambassadors’ “Hey Child.” Soloist Tyler Allen, MCAS ’22, commanded the stage with percussive beatboxing and minimal background vocals.
The Acoustics ceded the spotlight to the Dynamics, who sang a slow, bluesy rendition of Ruth B.’s “This is Love” before quickly shifting gears for an upbeat performance of “Okay Okay” by Alessia Cara. Punchy beatboxing, rich harmonies, and playful shoutouts of “okay, okay!” brought plenty of zest to the song.
Improv group My Mother’s Fleabag made a brief appearance, inevitably finding themselves in whacky situations throughout a series of games. In a particularly entertaining scene, Brendan McGinity, MCAS ’20, and Parker Bell, MCAS ’22, concocted an elaborate story about Italian-American siblings stuck working seasonal jobs for the rest of their lives.
The Acoustics claimed the stage once again. Soloist Tonye Ikoli, MCAS ’20, drew appreciative whoops from the crowd as he crooned “September Song” by JP Cooper. “Do you remember me, we were only 15,” the background vocalists repeated, emphasizing the song’s nostalgic appeal.
Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” was hardly recognizable coming from the Common Tones. The group completely remade the somber, gospel-tinged track with a faster tempo and R&B beat. Still, when the group moved into the bridge, it paid tribute to the song’s original sound through gospel-style harmonies.
Soloist Madeleine McCullough, MCAS ’20 charmed the crowd with her performance of Maggie Rogers’ “Burning,” dancing and grinning her way through the song as the audience cheered along.
Fleabag returned for another brief comedic sojourn, this time with a game that involved creating movie titles based on letters volunteered by audience members. The letters “S” and “P” became the inspiration for a movie called Stupidly Pretty. Bell proceeded to play the part of a ditzy beauty going about life cluelessly, drawing amused reactions from the audience. From “R,” “P,” and “X,” the group acted out a movie called Rich Pigeons Xanax, which culminated in a grave public service announcement warning people not to feed Xanax to pigeons lest they become rabid.
The Acoustics wrapped up the night with a performance of James Arthur’s “Naked.” The heartfelt song was rendered a little ridiculous by the corn costume swallowing up soloist John Blair, MCAS ’21. But Blair treated the song with the utmost seriousness, effortlessly executing complex vocal runs that left the crowd cheering.
That balance between playfulness and attention to detail defined the night as a whole. While the performers treated students to a host of musical and comedic talent that managed to hold the audience’s attention, none took themselves too seriously.
Featured Image by Jack Miller / Heights Editor