The floor seats of the Lied Center for Performing Arts filled with students and adults alike as a cappella cover songs reverberated throughout the theatre. The screen, serving as a backdrop for the stage, displayed random trivia about the headliners, a cappella group VoicePlay, prior to its performance Thursday night.
VoicePlay is an a cappella group from Orlando, Florida, that competed on the hit NBC show “Sing-Off” in 2013. The group consists of Earl Elkins Jr., Eli Jacobson, Geoff Castellucci, J. None and Layne Stein.
As the lights went down, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s all-male a capella group Bathtub Dogs took the stage to open for VoicePlay.
The group performed cover songs like Bruno Mars’ “Treasure,” Sam Burchfield's “Accidentally Cute” and others. After giving the audience an energetic and charming stage performance, the UNL group’s high spirit had set the tone for what the headliners would offer.
VoicePlay started its set with a bang, bursting into a cover of “Any Way You Want It” by Journey. After thanking the crowd for the warm welcome of applause and cheers, the quintet told a story about its journey from Omaha’s Eppley Airfield to Lincoln.
The group performed a hilarious skit of the boys having a difficult road trip, consisting of them imitating car door sounds and fighting over what song to choose on the radio, which was actually a collection of the members’ voices. The two popular songs that the group seemed to agree on playing were “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” by Enya and “I Wanna Rock” by Twisted Sister.
The group then went on to perform a live version of their popular YouTube series called “ACA Top 10” where they have categories of songs they perform. The night’s categories were bro-country songs and old-school hip hop songs. For the bro-country songs, the group sang tracks by artists like Tim McGraw, Craig Morgan and Kenny Chesney for bro-country. For old-school hip hop, VoicePlay covered artists such as Salt and Peppa, the Fresh Prince and L.L. Cool J.
After performing songs from a variety of genres and some Disney hits, the group went on to sing a mashup of well-known Panic! At the Disco tracks. As VoicePlay performed songs like “Victorious,” “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” and “This Is Gospel,” the group’s popular music video projected behind the members.
VoicePlay then went out to the crowd and chose a member named Robert, to whom they subjected to an audition to become the group's sixth member. There, Robert had to show skills such as percussion vocals, lyrical knowledge and test his dancing skills.
Throughout the night, the group gave an eccentric performance and entertained the crowd with their banter, goofy dance moves and audience involvement. The crowd never stopped dancing and singing along during the show.
VoicePlay was able to bring more to an a cappella performance than just covering songs Thursday night. The members used their vocal talent for comedy like the road trip skit, and the group’s interaction with the crowd made it appear as though the audience was a part of the show.
At the end of the night, the group rocked the crowd with Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” and left the stage with a standing ovation. It’s a shame more people weren’t able to experience the group, as VoicePlay knew how to keep the crowd invested with a charisma many people could have enjoyed.