“Fall Out Boy meets Glee”


by Erin Gerken

The four-part singing group, XY Unlimited, caught a flight all the way from Connecticut to play here at Simpson College on Friday Nov. 9.

Originally from Los Angeles, the group combines instruments like guitars and keyboard with a capella throughout their show in a mix of pop-rock music styles and humor.

“We’re kind of like Fall Out Boy meets Glee,” lead guitarist Michael Kohl said. “We love love love vocal harmonies, we love a capella, we love vocal jazz so we wanted to see if we could take this love of sophisticated vocal harmony and bring it to popular music and write catchy songs and pick up instruments and tour the world and conquer the world and the universe. That in a nutshell is who we are.”

The guys performed a number of their own songs, which can be found on iTunes with a little searching.

“If you search for XY Unlimited on iTunes you’ll find over 200 tracks because we also sing happy birthday’s to all the common boys and girls names in America,” Kohl said. “If you want to check out our music, the best way is to search on YouTube or search on iTunes and check out the stuff other than ‘Happy Birthday, Justin Bieber’.”

They also performed numerous cover songs including Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, Beyonce’s Single Ladies and Rihanna’s Umbrella to name just a few. All but one of the songs they covered at the show were songs written and performed by female vocalists.

“Not many people notice that,” Kohl said when asked why they almost exclusively cover songs by females. “I don’t think it’s necessarily intentional, but one thing that is really important to us is we want to give the world something they haven’t heard. If we’re going to do a cover song, we want it to be special and communicate something special about us. For us, we love female artists just as much as we love guys, and we noticed that the upper register in songs written by girls really lends itself to re-harmonizing and writing really cool dope harmonies over it. Finally, there’s always the fun-factor, of ‘Wow, these group of four, white, funny-looking dudes just covered Beyonce.’”

It was apparent throughout the show how much the group loved playing music and being able to perform for a crowd. Although the crowd for the show was small, it only lent itself to the feeling of each member’s personality and sense of humor. The members hung out with those in the audience after the show that wished to talk to them and ask them questions.

The group enjoyed Simpson and would love to come back and perform again.

“Ultimately people were incredibly nice here,” Kohl said. “The facility here is gorgeous. We couldn’t have gotten a better impression of you guys. We hope we can be back sometime if you guys enjoyed what you saw.”

For more on XY Unlimited, check out their Facebook page facebook.com/XYUnlimited and follow them on Twitter @XYUnlimited.