FACE Vocal Band | Boulder Theater | 12/14/11 | Review | Photos
FACE Vocal Band is a Boulder-based, six-man a cappella group featuring Jayson Throckmorton, Forest Kelly, Mark Megibow, Ben Lunstad, Stephen Ross, and Ryan Driver. All six versatile performers share the spotlight equally and take turns performing lead vocals. The group achieved national fame in 2009 when they were featured on the NBC Show ‘The Sing-Off.’ Everyone in the group brings their own special talent and, when combined with the others, produces something extraordinary. This years’ annual Holiday show at the Boulder Theater drew a huge crowd filled with young kids, families, couples, and seniors.
Looking their most dapper, clad in suits and ties, FACE kicked off the Holiday show with a Christmas/Rock medley, mashing together “Angels We Have Heard on High” with Train’s “Calling All Angels.” The whole show was a fun blend of traditional Christmas songs, rock songs, and originals. The band covered a few favorite classic rock songs like Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love,” U2’s “In The Name of Love,” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.” They also blended together several Holiday favorites like “Little Drummer Boy,” “The Grinch,” and “O Holy Night.” One of their original songs was even inspired by African tribal music. The way these performers band together during every song is truly a sight to see.
Throughout the show, I had to keep reminding myself that there wasn’t a drum and bass track in the background and that the sounds we were hearing were all coming from the voices of the six men on stage. No tricks, no instruments, and no special effects- just six guys using what their mamas gave ‘em. A few really impressive moments came from Ryan Driver, who made his voice sound almost exactly like a harmonica. Mark Megibow, the “percussionist,” performed a drum solo, beat-boxing fragments of unique and familiar rhythms.
The holiday-inspired lighting of the theater played well against the group’s subtle choreography, precise vocal harmonies, and storytelling from various band members between songs. All six guys were highly personable and encouraged audience participation and engagement. I usually have to duck into the shadows when the audience is encouraged to sing along, but even I had to admit to myself that it worked out well, due to the ambiance of the room and the infectious personalities on stage.
The term “a cappella” conjures up images of barbershop quartets, bow-ties, and cheesy black & white variety hours. All of these things have their place, but FACE seems to defy all preconceived stereotypes about vocal bands. The demographic of their audience is as diversified as their musical catalog. While most of the songs they choose to sing are family friendly and feel-good, one could easily envision them owning any 80’s punk or Hip-Hop song with the same ease as a 1920’s jazz piece. I can imagine them fitting into almost any setting, from a swanky New Orleans lounge, to a huge stadium in the middle of Chicago, to an impromptu concert in a park on some random sunny day.
This was an all around awesome show. Anyone who appreciates live music and showmanship will walk away from a FACE show feeling joyful and inspired. Most of the men in the group have families and full-time jobs. They mostly play shows around Boulder County and have currently released three CD’s.