A clever amalgamation of classical and contemporary hit songs played at the Crazy Coqs Live at the Zedel by the virtuosic, campy and not to forget pleasing on the eye Well-Strung, bringing a warmth to this cosy venue.
Well-Strung are a New York string quartet/ boy band who have gained critical acclaim and international attention, performing across the world their unique mash ups. Consisting of Edmund Bagnell (first violin), Christopher Marchant (second violin), Trevor Wadleigh (viola) and Daniel Shevlin (cello) this crazy talented group play a varied repertoire, from mixing Mozart’s ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’ with Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since U Been Gone’, to the Sound of Music’s ‘Do-Re-Mi’.
For me, the most notable thing about this group is that their four part harmonies are off the planet. My particular highlight was ‘Part of Your World’ from the Little Mermaid, where Bagnell’s musical theatre voice shone and the acapella harmonies of the group gave what one can only describe as an eargasm. I particularly enjoyed their mash up of Gonoud’s ‘Ave Maria’ mixed with Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, showcasing Shevlin’s sublime vocals belting the high notes.
When the foursome were together playing Britney Spears’s ‘Toxic’ the pure strength of the string quartet was on display, especially from Shevlin, who explored exciting timbres on the cello. This was also showcased partly in their mash up with Copland’s ‘rodeo’ and Taylor Swift’s ‘mean’, where the rodeo theme was played out with eccentricity, speed, and technical excellency. The encore song of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ mixed with the William Tell Overture saw the group have visibly the most fun and bringing out the fun of the classical music too!
However for me, Bagnell’s string breaking at the beginning whilst dealt with professionally, gave an uncomfortable edge as there appeared to be a slight tension from the others on stage, meaning that they didn’t relax as a group till much later in the set. Also, as each singer brings a different singing style and energy to each piece, it didn’t always work for me. Bagnell’s voice, whilst beautiful, felt at times too classical whilst singing pop songs, and Wadleigh, whilst giving an understated energy, was less charismatic when playing, which (being picky) was juxtaposed to Shevlin’s energy on the cello and didn’t quite work. Moreover, a few songs such as ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepson mixed with one of Bach’s ‘Brandenburg Concertos’ didn’t always work and whilst being clever, they never merged together to create a new song, rather two songs put together.
That said, Well-Strung are clearly a highly talented group, and it is obvious to see why their fan base is ever growing. For a light hearted, technically excellent and fun evening I would recommend going to visit them, as I am sure they will be back in London in the near future!
Review by Adam Yorke
Seat: n/a | Price of Ticket: £35