FACE Vocal Band brings rockin’ a cappella to Underground Sound Series
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What: FACE Vocal Band, a six-man a cappella rock band, the final concert of the 2015 Underground Sound Series.
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek.
Cost: Single tickets are $24.
More information: Tickets are on sale now at the VPAC Box Office, by calling 970-845-8497 or at http://www.vilarpac.org.
Most rock bands are made up of some pretty recognizable parts — probably a guitar, bass and drums are viewed as prerequisites. FACE Vocal Band has none of those. Instead, the all-vocal rock band from Boulder features several tenors, a bass, a baritone and a beat boxer.
“It’s not that we try to make our voices sound like an instrument — that’s impossible — but we try to disguise the voices, and that’s why it sounds more like an instrumental rock band than a band of voices,” said Mark Megibow, the group’s vocal percussionist. “People can’t believe that we don’t use any instruments or electronics to change the sound.”
Besides Megibow, FACE includes countertenor Stephen Ross, tenor Ryan Driver, tenor Cody Qualls, baritone Ben Lunstad and bass Forest Kelly. The group calls itself a rock band, due to its, well, rockin’ nature and upbeat sound. However, they tackle everything from Garth Brooks to Pink Floyd to their own original tunes. The acappella group performs at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on Sunday as part of the Underground Sound Series.
FACE has long been a favorite at venues around the Front Range, but in recent years, they’ve gotten some broader attention, competing in the NBC series “The Sing Off “ and “America’s Got Talent” and touring on both coasts and in Europe. They partly attribute the rise in popularity to shows such as “Glee,” and movies such as “Pitch Perfect,” but then again, they’ve also been singing together for 14 years.
Until recently, the band had been a passionate hobby for the members, but now it’s their full-time gig — and they are psyched.
“It’s a dream come true,” Megibow said. “Five of the six of us are married with kids, and this doesn’t work without our families being behind it. It can be stressful, but it’s the kind of feeling that you’re doing what you love. I’ve known all my life I wanted to be on stage as a professional performer. It’s been worth the wait.”
It wasn’t too long ago that acappella was an art confined mostly to barbershop quartets and college performance groups, the latter of which is where many of the members of FACE Vocal Band got their start.
“A lot of us got into it in college, and afterward, we wanted to form a professional group. At that point, not many people were doing that,” said Megibow, who got his start a Northwestern University, where he studied classical percussion and helped start a student acappella group.
Throughout the years, they’ve worked to perfect their art, working separately and together to perfect their sound. Megibow said he’ll regularly sit in front of his drums to create his part and then figure out how to create a similar sound with his voice. They’ve released five albums to date, with a sixth, a live concert album of their European tour, set to be released on Nov. 27.
Audiences can expect a personal and high-octane performance, and you’ll hear songs that range from a near-duplication of your favorite top 10 smash hit to completely unique takes and mash-ups of classic tunes. Take their soul-shaking rendition of “House of the Rising Sun,” made popular by The Animals.
“‘House of the Rising Sun’ is actually an old American folk song, although it was popularized by The Animals,” Megibow said. “It’s a song of regret and warning, and I think The Animals’ version is actually a little bouncy for the subject matter. So we rearranged it completely to what we thought was more fitting. We also have a mash-up of ‘Sound of Silence’ that people really like.”
But perhaps the thing that will strike you most about a FACE concert is the enthusiasm the six bring to stage.
“We love to perform together, and we love to perform for the audience,” Megibow said. “By the end of the show, people will have gotten to know us a little bit as people, too. It’s upbeat and fun music, so some people might be moved to sing along or dance — it’s all totally acceptable.”
Assistant Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.