Harmonics’ winter show ‘Blacklisted’ proves alt-rock anthems, indie solos never go out of style

March 4, 2020, 11:11 p.m.

After a stunning, goosebump-inducing show, it’s clear that the Stanford Harmonics should not be blacklisted from the Stanford a cappella scene. In their first full-length show of the year, “Blacklisted,” The Harmonics delivered with show-stopping vocals and contagious energy. The indie and alternative-rock a cappella group took the stage of Toyon Hall on Feb. 29. Decked in its trademark all-black, leather attire, the group strutted into the theater and was met with an enthusiastic crowd. 

The Harmonics kicked off the night with a rendition of The Cranberries’ 1993 hit “Zombie,” which featured freshman Cleopatra Howell’s strong belt. They followed this with an emotion-packed version of “Bad Liar” by Imagine Dragons, featuring the group’s vocal percussionist Grayson Armour  ’22. After this, the group sang “Devil’s Backbone” by Civil Wars, with Mitchell Zimmerman ’22, Lauren Ramlan ’22 and master’s student Shawn Manuel taking the lead. The three of them complemented each other well and captured the eerie, pining nature of the song. 

Though the group’s collective energy was incredible, the show’s solo and duet performances were some of the most memorable. Armour sang a solo and charmed the audience with his self-written song, raspy vocals and impressive guitar technique. Sopranos Ella Gray ’23 and Ramlan also sang a duet. Their rendition of “For Good” from the hit Broadway musical “Wicked” was as touching as the original, with their clear vocals complementing each other perfectly. 

Other memorable numbers included “White Flag” by Bishop Briggs, which was also featured on The Harmonics’ recent album “Signal Lost” (2019), up for nomination at this year’s Contemporary A Cappella Singing Awards. The piece featured sophomore Suah Cho’s rich and dynamic voice, as the group increased in volume and energy building up to the chorus. 

More intimate and tender songs added to the emotional impact of the show. The group’s performance of Imagine Dragons’ “Birds” starred Howell, Armour and Maia Rocklin ’22. Backed by softer harmonies, the trio’s voices wove together beautifully as they sang about lovers flying in different directions. Following “Birds,” the performance of “Change” by Rockapella was also an emotionally impactful number. The group invited alumni onto the stage to perform alongside them, as Tianna Trept ’23 shone with her vocal depth and maturity. 

Trept continued to show off her control and range when she was featured in “Dirty Laundry” by All Time Low, supported by a distinct soprano countermelody. Her performance was followed by Imagine Dragons’ “King of the Clouds,” which featured Zimmerman, Rocklin and Ramlan. Zimmerman in particular stood out in this number, showing off his deeper range during the song’s softer moments and his powerful upper range in the louder ones. The group ended with an emotionally charged rendition of Mariana Trench’s “Ever After,” featuring Cho and tenor Joshua Buchi ’22 belting about holding onto a broken relationship. After overwhelming encouragement from the audience, the group returned to the stage for an encore performance of Fall Out Boy’s “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” helmed by Zimmerman. 

Overall, “Blacklisted” was full of both emotionally and vocally powerful performances. The Harmonics nailed both the technical difficulty and raw energy of each and every song, delivering an entertaining and enjoyable night of music to close out Family Weekend festivities.

Contact Amy Miyahara at amymhara ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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