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Arts and Entertainment

Newtones lights with the stars

By Shayna Sage
Published: May 2009

If you thought that recording a CD with Ben Folds was as awesome as Newtones could get, think again. Newtones, Newton South’s a cappella group took their intensity to the next level on April 25 at MIT’s Johnson Athletic Center when they shared the stage with Ben Folds, Sarah Barielles, and Hotel Lights. The concert was a great way to end April vacation because of its upbeat feel and the intimacy between the bands and the audience.

“The concert was incredible. We got to chat with [the other artists] backstage and [Ben Folds] is just the coolest, nicest guy. He is so down to earth, and he treats us like adults. I personally think he is a genius, so it is so bizarre to be singing for him. He is an amazing performer, so the entire night was a blast, and a great opportunity, said senior and Newtones member Maddie Sharton.

 Tickets costed 15 dollars at the door and seating was general admission. By the time the door opened at 7 pm the line stretched back as far as the eye could see, filled with fans and supporters of Ben Folds, Sarah Bareielles, Hotel Lights, and most importantly, Newtones.

 “It is huge that we could open for such an incredible artist. Recording was amazing, too, but the concert was a chance to perform for 3000 people, which was so much fun, Sharton said.This highly anticipated event opened with Hotel Lights, who came out with a new album on August 19, 2008 called Firecracker People.

Hotel Lights is an indie band with a star-studded crew. The founder, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Darren Jessee was a former drummer for Ben Folds Five.

In addition, their music has been featured on the TV shows One Tree Hill and Grey’s Anatomy.

Musical celebrity Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne contributed by helping with arrangements.

Their soothing voices and harmonious tones created a relaxing atmosphere that prepared the audience for the musical styling’s of Sarah Barielles.As a special treat, Sarah Barielles preformed a new song that the crowd seemed to enjoy.  She also played her popular songs, “Gravity, “Bottle it up, “Come Round Soon, and the popular “Love Song.

Despite the fact that Barielles did not dance throughout her performance, she still managed to find a way to excite the audience and connect with them on a more personal level.

She also talked about the meaning behind her lyrics, which helped the audience bond with her and relate further with her songs. Barielles threw the audience a curve ball when she performed a cover of “Umbrella, by pop singer, Rihanna.

After a quick set change, the long awaited Newtones took the stage. Singing one of Ben Folds’ own songs, the group sang their well prepared (a capella, of course) version of “Evaporated.

Newtones’ short but sweet appearance during the concert brought chills to the audience and left them wanting more.

 This opportunity to perform with professional, world famous musicians did not just fall into the Newtones’ lap though.

“Ben Folds was inviting some of the a cappella groups to sing with him, so we decided to contact his people and bring it up… We figured nothing would happen if we didn’t assert ourselves. I guess it was a good idea, because we received an e-mail back saying that they would love to have us at MIT, said Sharton.“That was the largest crowd we have performed for so far, and maybe will ever perform for.  It was so exciting; in the beginning of the year none of us would have expected to record with Ben folds let alone perform with him, said sophomore Newtones member Rachel Schy.

Ben Folds took the stage after Newtones’ performance and wowed the crowed with his musical talents. The songs he played “Army, “Brick, “Zak and Sara, “Rock This B****, and, “You Don’t Know Me. Not only did Ben Folds play his songs, but he showed the audience some of the secrets of how he makes his music sound so authentic, which made him seem down to earth and approachable.

The combination of bands and groups that performed at the concert were a perfect mix of upbeat and relaxing songs that kept the crowd content throughout the entire event. “[The concert] was amazing, it was honestly unbelievable¦it didn’t hit me that we were doing [singing] until we were sitting back stage¦I think I can speak for everyone on Newtones by saying it was just surreal, said Schy. 

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