Every year, the Voice Festival gets bigger and better, and last night we were not disappointed. (Nor were we disappointed in the Saint’s coverage of it – it appeared that nearly all the section eds were in attendance!)
Younger Hall had apparently sold out, and extra tickets had to be released. Queues to get in stretched nearly down to Sallies. (Though maybe a reflection of the poor ticketing system used than anything else, but the point still stands. Maybe something to change for next year?)
The concert was hosted by the hilarious St Andrews Revue, who provided entertainment in the form of irreverent introductions, silly skits and crazy costumes. They seemed to get The Other Guys’ memo about a tight denim dress code, but more on that later…
The evening was kicked off by The Hummingbirds, who performed a varied set including their take on Wayfaring Stranger and the Taylor Swift mix that we had been promised. The reception from the audience was great – though how could it not be, with blonde wigs and a bit of audience participation during We Are Never Getting Back Together.
Aberpella were up next. This relatively new group from Aberdeen (it was their first time at the Voice Festival last year) had definitely improved! Whilst they were no match for the experienced Hummingbirds, the otherwise dull set was completely rescued at the end by a brilliant performance of Read All About It, in large part due to the soloist and vocal percussionist. I’m excited to see what they manage for next year, this is definitely the group to watch!
It was then time for a set full of patriotism from Choral Stimulation. Complete with tartan trousers and sashes and an arrangement that led to the formation of the Saltire on stage, the audience loved their Ode to Glasgow. It was a well chosen mix and brilliantly appropriate for the night, but for me they blew themselves out of the water with their next song. Feeling Bad was a mashup of Nina Simone’s Feeling Good, Gangnam Style and Show Me Love, with a bit of Michael Jackson thrown in for good measure. They got the first standing ovation of the night from their competitors – well and truely deserved.
After a short interval, The Alleycats came on stage. They had a good opening, with a medley of love songs, but the audience was getting restless and seemed to have lost interest slightly. In their classic ensemble of black dresses/bow ties and white trainers, they certainly looked the part, and seemed to warm up after a ‘soulful version’ of Dancing on My Own.
The Other Guys. What is there to say about this set? Yes, it was good, and yes, it was daring, but I can’t help but think that they are suffering from the high expectations put upon them. They performed their original, I Only Bought You Flowers Because I Love You So, which you can’t help but love. However, in order to get three songs into the twelve minute limit, they upped the tempo. I feel this was a fair decision, as their next song, When She Loved Me, had people in tears. I kid you not. The mood wasn’t serious for long though – suddenly shoes were being kicked off, and trousers and shirts removed to reveal denim shorts and vests. Their set culminated with what can only be described as a Bieber tribute, complete with fabulous choreography and a dash of Taylor Swift to round it off. I have no doubt that if they record and release this it would become a Bop favourite; lyrics included, “All I need is a Bop band and the beat….We’re going to party like it’s 1412 tonight.” In short, it was a classic TOG performance – good a capella and a good laugh.
Once the scattered clothes had been retrieved, The Accidentals appeared to round off the Regionals. With their usual look of “I heart Accidentals” t-shirts, the girls were confident and comfortable on stage. As they began, it was clear they had good reason to be. They had a clever set including Bottom of The River, Good Feeling and Dynamite, and even had glowsticks to throw into the crowd. They finished up with an amusing take on No Diggity and were described later by the judges to have a “fresh, strong sound”.
And that was it. The majority of the audience seemed to think Choral Stimulation had it in the bag, but the judges needed extra time to deliberate. To fill the time, we were treated to another performance from several of the groups. Personally, I enjoyed these more, as they seemed much more relaxed and natural, and were now singing for fun. Following these, the St Andrews Revue returned with more skits, including CSI St Andrews and the Dangers of Bananas, and then the results were in!
Overall, this was a fantastic evening for town and gown alike, and a real highlight in the St Andrews concert calendar. If you went, let us know what you thought of it, and if you didn’t, be sure to get tickets for next year!
Outstanding musicality: The Other Guys
Outstanding arrangement: Choral Stimulation
Outstanding solo: Victoria Metcalf of Aberpella
Winner: Choral Stimulation