On Saturday, November 20th, “paleotones” and “mezzotones” alike came together from across the country to celebrate the Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones’ 25th anniversary in Sanders Theater. The excitement and pan-Veritone love was palpable from the very beginning, as alumni from as far back as the class of ’89 (the so-called “paleotones”) gathered to sing with the newest generation of Veritones. This energy fueled the concert, in which various elements came together seamlessly: the Veritones boasted impressive new members, strong soloists, and tight blocks. Despite the occasional hiccup, such as slightly low performance energy and digressive jokes, the concert was a wonderful foray into 25 years of Veritones music.
But before the Veritones took the stage, the MIT Logarhythms warmed it up for them in an absolutely delightful opening act. The all-male group effortlessly accomplished what most a cappella groups only dream of: they were almost flawless musically while charming the audience with their contagious energy and hilarious choreography. After extensive deliberations, we decided that the best way to describe them is as “cheek-pinchingly spectacular.”
The Veritones then took the stage with “1985.” It was slightly low in energy, and Dan Masterson ’12 seemed a little tense during his solo, especially on the high notes (though he later more than redeemed himself on “Brass Bed”). The oldest class of Veritones then followed with “Hodja” and, despite a strong block, also seemed to suffer from low performance energy. But with “Something About You,” the concert’s energy level finally picked up. The block finally seemed to get into the music, feeding off of their very enthusiastic soloist. The following pan-Veritone songs continued to build the excitement: “Mood Indigo” was intoxicating—it was strong and full-bodied. “Come to My Window” was sweet, as all the Veritones seemed to enjoy singing with each other. This progression from older Veritones to newer Veritones offered a unique view into the evolution of the group, growing more exciting and contemporary as the set went on.
After the brief trip down memory lane, the newest Veritones reclaimed the stage. They were remarkable for their impeccable tuning and cohesiveness. However, there were a few instances, noticeable precisely because they were rare, when the block seemed to suffer a little. The block during “King of Anything” was murky, a combination of chaotic vowels and difficult rhythms. Elliott Rosenbaum ’12 was great in “Walking in Memphis,” but the block could have been fuller on the chorus to make the build-ups and dynamic contrast work better. “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” was the only time the block showed any evidence of tuning issues—this was possibly due to the fact that this song had the most extreme choreography (there was a lot of horse and cowboy riding). The solo, too, sung by Henry Mumford ’13, seemed just a bit on the low side, losing a lot of its melodic quality.
The comedic interlude was commendable for its topical references but, despite the fact that the inferiority of Yale will always be appropriate joke material, some of the other skits seemed to linger on too long. Their merchandise plug, however, a parody of the Old Spice commercial, was concise and funny (“what’s in your hand? Tickets to that thing you love…but you’re already here! Look again, it’s a Veritones CD!”).
Stand-out soloists abounded in this concert. Jyoti Jasrasaria ’12 was a rich alto soloist on “Landslide,” and her solo was supported by a strong block that sounded especially good on its unison lyrics. “Trickle Trickle,” a barbershop ditty, was also tight, and soloist Riana Balahadia ’14 brought both the sass and the voice. “Beautiful Disaster” clearly captivated the audience, most of whom leaned in ever-so-slightly to listen to soloist Christina Buckley ’11. Her voice carried such profound emotional depth—only a little more dynamic range could have improved it. Greta Solinap ’13 positively wowed on “If I Ain’t Got You.” The intro was a little bit low for her, but she swept up the audience as soon as she got to the chorus. The seemingly endless applause at the end of the piece suggested that the performance was a crowd favorite.
Indeed, all Veritones, old and new alike, delivered a concert that seemed to sit well with the audience. With strong music, outstanding soloists, and a love for each other, it would seem that the Veritones can look forward to another solid 25 years.