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the Silver Lake Chorus at the Satellite on Monday, May 30th, 2011

The Silver Lake Chorus can bring the religiosity out of any pop song with their a cappella, multi-layered-vocal renditions of famous indie or not-that-indie hits. As I was watching them performing at the Satellite on Monday night, I thought you would expect to see them rather performing in a church,… what they actually do sometimes, at the Echo Park church.

They are officially 25, but around 15 of them were there, without their choir director, performing for once ‘with no buffer’, but giving their best covers of songs from Bon Iver, Temper Trap ('Sweet Disposition'), Phoenix (‘1901’) Muse (‘Starlight’), SIA (‘The Church of What's Happening Now’), Beck (‘Lonesome Tears’), and Radiohead (‘Idioteque’), with a sort of sadness and solemnity, despite the smiles on their faces, and the real pleasure they visibly have to just sing together.

They all seem a little too much inspired and way too happy to be there, and of course, it looks and sounds like an episode of Glee at times,… although I never watch Glee, but you see what I mean. Needless to say, there is a certain boldness to sing a cappella in a bar, where people are used to listen to loud music and are way too busy talking and drinking; at the beginning of their quiet Beck cover you could hear a lot of ssssshhhhs coming from fans trying to make the place more silent than the ordinary.

Some songs, like the Radiohead cover, seemed more ready for this treatment than others, but the chorus managed to bend everything at their will, replacing the instrumental arrangements by more vocals and hummed bass lines, making some of the songs barely recognizable at times, and  I am not saying this in a bad way, but reinventing them.

Half way through their set they had stayed quite indie, but then, they asked for the audience participation, dividing us into three groups, and making everybody sing a three part harmonies which ended up into Lady Gaga’s ‘Born this way’, making them jump of pleasure. I knew it was a gay thing!

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