The all-too-familiar thud of last week’s “I forgot about this and it somehow ended up in the back of the fridge” takeout container after its descent to the bottom of the trashcan is something we don’t think twice about. Yet to those as musically minded as the University’s percussion performance group, Groove, that nuance becomes a source of inspiration for one’s work.
November 21, 2014
Students $5 Adults $8
“It’s mostly just the creative spark, when you hear something,” said LSA senior and Groove president Vincent Sheu. “For us it’s just everyday life, we’re constantly hearing sounds and interpreting that as ‘oh, that could be something we do in Groove.’ ”
Throughout its 11-year presence on campus, Groove has been the University’s premier high-energy percussion and performance group, known for transforming ordinary objects into musical devices. Writing all their own music, and building their own instruments, the group incorporates an unmatched creativity into each performance.
“What we do is we play a lot of music and we drum on things that you normally wouldn’t consider instruments,” Sheu said. “Most people see us on the Diag playing trashcans, and we do that in the week leading up to our big show.”
Groove has certainly grown since its founding in 2003 and has continued to maintain an extensive following.
“It used to be a small group that was performing in Angell Hall auditoriums which only seat a few hundred people,” Sheu noted. “Two years ago we actually sold out the Michigan Theatre which was like 1500 people … a really big turnout and we were all really happy with that.”
Consisting of approximately 30 members and selectively adding only about eight out of 60 auditioning each year, Groove stands as a selective and competitive student organization. In order to make the cut, one must be well versed in the various aspects of the musical creative process — playing, writing and performing original music is key. Though the group is focused primarily on percussion instruments, many members are guitar and keyboard musicians as well.
“We really try to branch out in terms of all the different types of music that we play, but we always try to keep it with that unique sound and that unique instrument feel,” Sheu said. “We compare very heavily to Stomp and Blue Man Group. In our show we actually write a lot of really diverse music ranging from heavy drum line sort of songs to unique songs you would see at a Stomp show or Blue Man Group and also covers of popular music like indie songs or something that’s on the radio.”
This impressive range is sure to be showcased both in the Diag this week and at their upcoming annual winter show, Thanksgroovin’.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun, we’re getting in a lot of new sounds that we haven’t been able to in the past just with new technology and new keyboards and synthesizers, things like that,” Sheu said. “Our newbie class this semester has blown all of our expectations out of the water and some of the songs they’re writing are just amazing.”
This year’s show will also feature a few University a cappella groups, opening with Compulsive Liars and collaborating with The Dicks & Jane’s for the cover of Animal Collective’s “My Girls.” Groove will also be covering “High For This” by Ellie Goulding with Michigan’s Pop Orchestra.
“It’s a really crazy blend of songs this semester, and there’s going to be a lot of really cool covers,” Sheu said.
Also featured is the group’s new exclusive mason jar instrumental, filled with water to create differing pitches. A song stylized after a traditional Filipino dance of coconut shell body percussion is also included in the lineup, along with a song of kitchen cutlery instruments.
“We’re doing a song with all those sort of things, just hitting tumblers and glasses and forks and knives and things like that and that’s also made into a skit … in another piece, we play on ladders, we play on trash cans and bass cans and like Home Depot buckets as well,” Sheu said.
Though a four-year Groove performer, Sheu admits his favorite moment of each show is the audience’s own rhythm of applause.