The Clog had the honor of attending the first night of the West Coast A Cappella Showcase this past Friday, and we were blown away by the never-ending vocal talent. To those who were able to attend both nights – we commend your ability to survive an A Cappella overload (of the good kind). Needless to say, the show was full of awkward introductions by pairs from the California Golden Overtones and UC Men’s Octet, but the performances made the audience forget that initial confusion immediately.

DeCadence started off the evening right, performing at what we think may be their best yet. They opened with “Cry Me a River,” which initially surprised us as an opening song, but they sang it flawlessly and with a great soul that carried through the rest of their performance. “Drumming Song” by Florence + the Machine was their next song, and they sang again with a contagious fervor, accompanied with equally passionate choreography. They ended with “Renegade” by Styx, opening it with haunting intensity, and then jumping into a dancing rhythm full of spirit. Their instrumental and sound effect vocals shined in the song.

Next up was Noteworthy, our all-male group known for performing student-written pieces. They are always hilarious, and didn’t disappoint, opening with their own rap-anthem. And of course, they are able to blend humor with talent – both vocal and choreographic. Next they sang a sad love-song, “Robo Jenny,” which the audience really responded to. They ended with a song-synopsis-spoof of the classic movie “Alien,” “starring Sigourney Weaver back when she was hot.” The movie reference may have gone over some of the audience’s heads but it was funny nonetheless.

After Noteworthy, UC Davis’s female group The Spokes performed. They opened with the Ben L’Oncle Soul version of the White Stripes’ song “Seven Nation Army,” which was unique and refreshing. Although they started off a little quiet, once the ball got rolling, The Spokes charmed us and continued to do so through their performances of “Happy Ending” by Mika and “Eye 2 Eye” from “The Goofy Movie.” The girls showed that they were more than just adorable, but have great voices, and their song choice had a nice variety.

Before intermission, the Cal Jazz Choir performed, and left us wondering where they’d been all of our lives. The group sang a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “Eleanor Rigby,” and followed it with a stunning performance of “Summertime.” The main soloist of “Summertime” was able to reach phenomenal notes, while still maintaining a low, blues-y quality. They ended with a stunningly layered arrangement of “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” proving once and for all that it really doesn’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. Each of the arrangements were refreshing and unique, and we are definitely attending their Fall show on Dec. 3, and suggest you do too.

After intermission, Cloud 9 started everything up again with their always fantastic energy and quirky outfits. This year they showed of their excellent taste in sweaters. Starting off with “Can You Feel the Love,” Cloud 9’s own Timon, Pumbaa, Simba and Nala truly made us “feel the love.” They were a little bit funny, a little bit sultry and extremely talented. They followed with a well-arranged blues medley, which included a soulful call and response that we enjoyed. They ended with “Something to Believe In” by Parachute. The variety of songs was impressive, something we appreciate in an a cappella performance. And their ability to have a unique energy and an amazing set of voices was fantastic.

Next up were the Liquid Hotplates, who we assure you are more than just an awesomely random name. Opening with “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2, the group powered through their setlist. Next was the popular song “Jar of Hearts,” which the soloist really carried well, and we liked their cover better than the original song. Although we felt there could have been more of a variety of soloists, the performers had a vibrant energy and got really into each of the songs. They finished with what could very well be our favorite song choice of the night. When the vocal-instrumental intro began, we couldn’t believe our ears. But it was true, we realized when the enthusiastic soloist began belting out “I wanna be the very best … !” Yes that’s right, the Pokemon theme song.

The California Golden Overtones performed next, with a lot of new faces since last year. We were quite impressed with this “new” group of Overtones. Sporting snazzy suit jackets and with a little more quirk, they rocked through their set list with some great new talent (at least since this clogger had last seen them). Opening with Adele’s “Rumor Has It,” they showcased their amazing voices well. They also gave us a rather surprising cover of “Super Bass,” with a little more class and a lot less pink hair than Nicki Minaj, artfully balancing their rapping skills with some great singing. They also sang Whitney Houston’s “I Look to You,” and Madonna’s “Material Girl.” The latter was interesting; we felt they performed it well and maintained some quirky energy throughout the song that prevented it from becoming too sugar-coated. Bringing us back to the good ol’ days, they ended with a Destiny’s Child Medley. Whatever it is you’re doing, Overtones, keep at it.

The last group to perform was the UC Men’s Octet, with as much spunk as ever. Our favorite that they sang was “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit,” and they did great justice to Neil Patrick Harris. If you don’t know that song, you need to watch more “How I Met Your Mother.” We seriously love these guys. Their voices are priceless and their energy dynamic – we don’t need to rave more.

Just kidding! In their traditional encore, the Golden Overtones and Men’s Octet performed their “nice-n-easy” then “nice-n-rough” rendition of “Proud Mary,” leaving the audience satisfied and singing a little themselves.

If you need more a cappella, do not fear! Many groups are having their Fall shows soon, and be sure to be on the lookout for them on Sproul. In addition, Nov. 16 is the Big Sing-Off vs. Stanford, which many of the Cal groups will be performing at.

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