a cappella performs with
Ball in the House
JULIE THOMPSON - STAFF WRITER
It's the rare college student who has never heard a cappella
music at some point in his or her academic career. It seems to have become
as ubiquitous as "streaking the quad," with enough different types of
a cappella as there are students to listen. Example: Yale University has
no fewer than seventeen-that's right, as in SEVENTEEN-a cappella groups,
and even smaller campuses such as Swarthmore College have upwards of seven
or eight. And while Bowdoin holds its own in the a cappella arena with
a conservative three groups, one still has to wonder: why all the hubbub
over a bunch of singers without instruments?
This Friday, the Boston a cappella supergroup Ball in the
House is coming to a Morrell Lounge near you to show the Bowdoin community
just what the hype is all about. Their motto is simple: "Six guys. Six
mouths. That's it." With these few tools, however, Ball in the House manages
to create a dazzling array of sounds, some of which shouldn't physically
be able to come out of human beings.
Founded in the mid-nineties, BitH (their own abbreviation,
trust me) has gone through many incarnations in lineup and style to arrive
at the "urban pop" sound they have created for themselves today. Originally
a four-man ensemble, the group grew to six in order to incorporate a vocal
percussion section that has become a crucial part of their trademark sound.
And while members Jon, Jason, Mike, Dave, Scott, and Stephen
(last names are irrelevant in the world of a cappella) all joined the
group at different points in its history, they have created an amazingly
cohesive sound over the last few years.
Another feature that distinguishes BitH from many-alright,
almost all-other a cappella ensembles is the fact that they actually write
their own music. Bucking the trend a cappella music seems to have set
of arranging versions of already-written songs, BitH has written many
of the songs they perform, a unique twist that has helped form a legion
of fans from the Boston area and increasingly wherever they tour.
The present group has done more than 600 shows together,
opening for such big name acts as Paula Cole, Hootie & the Blowfish, and
the Goo Goo Dolls. They have even warmed up crowds for the likes of 98
Degrees and-get ready-N'Sync. Now, this fact invites a number of unfortunate
comparisons between such similar instrument-lacking, all-male groups,
but fortunately for Ball in the House, they have serious talent, despite
the swooning you might glimpse from members of the audience.
And for those of you who have waded so patiently through
this article to find out exactly why they're called Ball in the House,
here's your reward: Remember the episode of "The Brady Bunch" when Bobby
breaks a vase? Me neither, but you can probably guess the connection.
Any a cappella concert of such magnitude wouldn't be complete
without a little collaboration. In this spirit, Bowdoin's three ensembles-BOCA(or
the Indies, depending on who you ask), Miscellania, and the Meddies will
be opening the show on Friday night at 8 p.m.
BOCA will be sharing some more of their coed magic with us
previously seen this semester in the group's "Bathrooms Tour," an incredibly
clever way of exploiting the amazing acoustics of bathrooms (notice how
you sound better in the shower than when doing karaoke?).
Miscellania has been kicking it old school for the past couple
of months, delving into a little Diana Ross with a hip-hop twist, and
will also be warming up the crowd for Ball in the House. And the Meddies…they
always have something interesting going on, even though the exact nature
of these intriguing "goings-on" is sometimes a mystery. The concert starts
at 8 p.m. tonight in Morrell Lounge, and it's free, so come out and see
how a band with no instruments can be way cooler than one that has them
looking pretty before rehearsal. They will perform with Ball in the House
(Macaela Flanagan/Bowdoin Orient)