Pentatonix slips out of harmony with its crowd at the Fox Theater

Kore Chan/Senior Staff

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It’s rare for an a capella group to garner a large following, much less a crowd as diverse as the one that showed up to see Pentatonix in concert at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Saturday night.

Audience members ranged from children to full choir and a capella groups — some of whom performed outside the theater before the start of the show — to parents and older couples. Unfortunately, this meant that for anyone not at the very front of the floor with the younger audience members, crowd enthusiasm was lackluster and unresponsive at best.

This, however, didn’t stop Pentatonix from putting on a high-energy and well-produced performance, incorporating full lights and choreography absent in previous tours. Kicking off the night with their Daft Punk medley and ending with “We Are Young,” Pentatonix sustained a musically mind-blowing and eargasmic hour and a half.

Pentatonix, the winners of season three of NBC’s a capella competition show “The Sing-Off,” has been the only group from the show to go on to notable commercial success. Their YouTube videos, which generate tens of millions of views and include viral arrangements such as “The Evolution of Music” and “Daft Punk Medley,” have spawned a mass online following.

These virtual fans came out in real-time and reacted either passionately or not at all to Pentatonix’s inside jokes and onstage presence. The highlights of the show were Kevin Olusola, who serves as the group’s beatboxer, and Avi Kaplan, the group’s bass, coming out to show off their various talents. Followers of Pentatonix know Avi is capable of Mongolian throat singing, a technique that allows a person to sing two notes at one time. Avi put this talent on full display, performing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” and then let Kevin take over with his cello-boxing — playing the cello and beatboxing at the same time.

Kevin’s performance would then transition into a previously unrecorded cover of “Say Something,” originally performed by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. During Pentatonix’s original song “Natural Disaster,” Vocal Rush, a local high-school a capella group from Oakland School for the Arts featured on season four of “The Sing-Off,” joined the headliners and stomped during the climax of the song. At this point, parents standing in the middle level of the seating area went crazy.

If only that were the case for the rest of the show. Pentatonix deserved far more than the largely uninspired crowd at the Fox on Saturday night.

Contact Lynn Yu at [email protected].