Gentlemen rule, Streetlamp shines at Civic Center

Adam Larck
mtn@timestoday.com

Plenty of oldies filled the air Oct. 7 at the Peoria Civic Center, mixed in with some newer tunes.

While Under The Streetlamp focused on classic hits, Gentleman’s Rule mixed up newer and older tunes to open the show.

Gentleman’s Rule, an a cappella group, showed that the Civic Center theater is great for voices only.

The group, which featured Sam Bartel providing a drumline with his vocals, showed great vocal range with plenty of solos during its 45 minute performance.

Each of the tunes the group sang had a soloist showing off their vocals perfect. Take, for example, Luke Mechling, who sang Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Mechling started with a rumbling bass voice before going to the opposite end of the spectrum to mimic a trumpet solo. He finished mid-range, putting a perfect ending on the song.

Gentleman’s Rule had songs for everyone. From Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” to Florida Georgia Line and Nelly’s combination song “Cruise,”there were plenty of songs I caught myself humming along to.

Whether it was leading a tune or performing the back-up voices, each member hit their parts perfectly, with very little downtime between songs.

There were only a few times that the group stopped to talk to the audience and introduce themselves.

Most breaks were just a few seconds to grab a drink and tune up for the next song.

After seeing how an a cappella group sounds at the Civic Center, I’m hopeful that more groups like Gentleman’s Rule are brought back in the future.

Meanwhile, Under The Streetlamp reminded many audience members of the rocking days of the 1950s-1970s.

The group, formed from former “Jersey Boys” members, had some of the songs from the show mixed in to their performance, probably the most captivating of which was the combination of songs “Who Loves You” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” toward the end of the show.

Prior to that, Streetlamp performers took time to joke between each other and the audience between songs.

The group drew quite a laugh when Christopher Kale Jones said it was time to get away from big songs and sing a “soft romance” tune before busting out “She’s A Lady” by Tom Jones.

While each singer led different songs, the other three members would perform perfect backup, complete with dance moves now normally seen only in videos of this generation of music.

Singer Shonn Wiley channeled his Fred Astaire while leading “I Believe In Music,” showing off tap dancing skills he and his father worked on while he was growing up.

Michael Ingersoll followed up the fancy footwork with some corny jokes and jabs at the dancing, showing how the group could give and take the humor.

After being on the road for years, being able to still take the jokes, such as Jones’ choice for a “soft romance” tune, and laugh at them is great for the group and helped keep the audience’s interest.

For me, the highlight voice came from Michael Cunio.

He belted out “Oh! Darling,” complete with the high notes at the end, and followed it up later with a solo on “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World,” which drew huge applause.

The group ended on a medley of dance songs, including “Land of 1,000 Dances,” which had the audience clapping and dancing along.

This was the second time the group has been through Peoria and, given the reaction of the crowd and the great performance put on, I don’t think it will be their last.