Nine-piece acapella group Straight No Chaser performed at the Fred Kavli Theater in Thousand Oaks, CA December 27th as part of their Sleighin’ It Tour. The group would also perform at the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, CA on New Years day, but doing a medley from the Blues Brothers movie.
Straight No Chaser formed at Indiana State University back in 1996 and two years later there would be a recorded performance of their comedy version of 12-days of Christmas. Once the SNC members graduated they would be replaced with a new group of students. The original group would come back together in 2008 a year after that video went viral (now 25 million views) and they would sign a five record deal with Atlantic. The group still consists of four original members and all members have all been part of the college group. The college SNC would be renamed Another Round in 2012.
Since 2008, SNC has released four Christmas albums, most recently Stocking Stuffer released November 3rd. In 2023, SNC also released a live album for their 25th anniversary and a covers album Yacht on the Rocks. The show was broken into two sets with the first being covers. Following a video with celebrity cameos by Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath and Actress/Comedian Jane Lynch SNC took the stage. SNC kicked off the show with a dance medley of Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night,” Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance,” Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) and Kool & The Gang’s “Ladies Night.”
SNC went all the back to 1961 with Sam Cooke’s “Twistin’ the Night Away” mashed up with Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry be Happy.” SNC would follow with Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” renamed A Capella Man and an unforgettable mash-up of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean complete with the moves and outfit and Bel Biv DeVoe’s “Poison”. There was also a medley of nine songs from the artist with the biggest tour of the year, Taylor Swift. The first half would come to an end with Elton John’s “Yellow Brick Road ” and it had just been the one year anniversary of his final U.S. shows a month prior as well as a medley of Toto songs from their new album. The medley was “Hold the Line,” “I’ll Be Over You,” “Rosanna,” and “Africa.”
Following an intermission, SNC would return for the Christmas part of the show starting with “Christmas Time.” The second set included classics like Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” and The Trapp Family Singers’ “Little Drummer Boy.” The last song before the encore was the hilarious “The Christmas Can-Can.” SNC would return for “The 12 Days of Christmas” with various Christmas songs and even Hanukkah songs added in as well as bits of The Token’s version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Africa,” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” The last time SNC performed at the Fred Kavli Theatre, there were some power outages resulting in the band singing without microphones and without their usual lighting. To close the show the group stood together without mics and with simple lighting for “O Holy Night.”
Words and photos by Alex Kluft