Friday night I went to see the Groove Barbers at 51 Walden, not knowing quite what to expect. It turns out that three of the barbershop team were the original founders of Rockapella. One of them, Charlie Evett, lives in Concord, which explains why the others came to town.
They started off with “Love Potion Number 9,” and I knew I had come to the right place. The evening was super entertaining. It wasn’t exactly Oldies Night, but I liked hearing some songs I recognized from my youth. I also appreciated some of the musical jokes. The guys did a jazzy “Angels we have heard on high,” with the Deo of “in excelsis Deo” gradually morphing into “Day-o.” And they premiered of a new orchestration of one of my all-time favorite pop songs, “You don’t know me.”
They brought on a few guests: a young guy who makes those snare drum sounds so essential to a capella and a niece from Barnard College. Really terrific was lead singer Sean’s wife, Inna Dukach, a professional opera singer, who sometimes performs opera as they doo-wop in the background.
Sean Altman, Charlie Evett and Steve Keyes are the ones who were in Rockapella. Kevin Weist is the fourth Groove Barber. In addition to barbershop, the four perform rock, doo-wop, and jazz. Their website says they were featured in national TV commercials as The Astelins, offering “Astelin nasal spray to seasonal allergy sufferers.” (Available on YouTube.)
The Groove Barbers wound up with a bread and butter song from their past life, “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego,” which Suzanne’s dad suspects had a key influence on her love of travel.