Review: MICappella display the joy of making music in home-coming show

Micappella members (left to right) Peter Huang, Eugene Yip, Goh Mingwei, Tay Kexin, Juni Goh and Calin Wong.
Micappella members (left to right) Peter Huang, Eugene Yip, Goh Mingwei, Tay Kexin, Juni Goh and Calin Wong.PHOTO: UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Since their second-place finish in the televised competition The Sing-Off China in 2012, local vocal group MICappella have been honing their craft and growing as a band.

They released their debut album Here We Go in 2013 and followed that up with an ambitious album of original material, MICappella Reloaded, in 2016. They have toured as far afield as Europe and Australia and finally performed again in Singapore after four years at the Capitol Theatre on Nov 4 in their biggest ever solo show, titled MICappella You And I Live In Concert 2017.

Over two and a half hours, they showed the sold-out crowd of over 1,000 fans just how far along they have come since they formed in 2009.

The sextet was at its strongest on the high-energy original numbers One Of These Days and Never Be Defeated. They showcased the tightness of MICappella as a music-making unity where everything fit together perfectly from the vocal percussion to the harmonisation.

The band comprises leader and vocal percussionist Peter Huang, soprano Tay Kexin, alto Calin Wong, tenor Juni Goh, baritone Eugene Yip and bass Goh Mingwei.

It was all too easy to forget sometimes that every note and sound is generated solely by the six of them. And if there seemed to be quite a reliance on video clips during the evening, it is worth bearing in mind that there were no other musicians, or dancers, to take over even for a little bit to give them a breather.

Huang's beatboxing solo was a potent, not to mention entertaining, reminder of the musicality of the group's members as he gave us drums, thumping bass and even turntable scratching in the course of his showcase.

Each member had his or her moment to shine and they also took turns at the mic to share little anecdotes, including how they came to cover legendary English band Iron Maiden's The Trooper.

It was in response to a gauntlet thrown down by some musician friends who asked: "A cappella cannot do heavy metal right?" The stomper of a cover with an impressive wall of sound certainly proved the doubters wrong.

Even as MICappella stretch themselves by composing their own material, they did not neglect the fans who first got to know them through their covers.

They took on Pharrell Williams' Happy, Bobby Chen's One Night In Beijing, and of course, Hu Xia's Those Bygone Years and Hebe Tien's A Little Happiness. The music clip for their Hu-Tien mash-up has garnered more than 1.6 million views on YouTube.

The evening had also started with two mega medleys that went through 22 songs in Mandarin, English and even Korean. But actually, that felt like packing too much in as it did not give the audience a chance to settle down as the band were constantly switching gears.

Good thing the pacing became less frenetic once the show got underway.

The final number was a rendition of Mayday's Minnan dialect ballad Peter & Mary - the first song that MICappella did, back when they had no idea where the band was headed.

What came across loud and clear, in that track and throughout the evening, was their joy and excitement in coming together to make music - and that is really the heart and soul of a cappella.