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January 17, 2018

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The Monday List: Five revelations about ace a cappella act Mo5aic


Christopher DeVargas

Vocal group Mo5aic rehearses at their new home inside Shimmer Cabaret at LVH on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2013.

Mo5aic at Shimmer Cabaret

Vocal group Mo5aic rehearses at their new home inside Shimmer Cabaret at LVH on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2013. Launch slideshow »

The Monday List this week focuses on a numerically and vocally driven ensemble that has be-bopped around Las Vegas for nearly a decade. We talk of Mo5aic, or “Mo-Five,” as some of us have begun to refer to the five-dude a cappella outfit of Josh Huslig, Jake Moulton, Roopak Ahuja, Heath Burgett and Corwyn Hodge.

Mo5aic has opened its first headlining residency in Las Vegas, at Shimmer Cabaret in LVH. I caught them in rehearsal the afternoon of their opening show on Sept. 27. They were in fine voice and disposition, and the show is roaring right along at the 350-seat venue that is either a large lounge or a small showroom.

The guys are entering a yearlong commitment (with tickets set from $29 to $60, absent fees) at Shimmer, where “malleability” is the order of the day. A wide assortment of acts have played the room (impressionist Greg London, song-and-dance man Rick Faugno and the musical “The D Word” among them), and Mo5aic is unique even in that varied field. No one does what they do.

Following are Five Revelations about Mo5aic:

No. 5: That’s Not a Bass. Your ears are playing tricks on you when hear a bluesy baseline emanating from the stage. That’s from one of the guys, and it’s up to you to guess from whom.

No. 4: You’re the Right Age. The show’s setlist touches on opera, Dave Brubeck (“Take Five,” fitting nicely with the group’s “five” theme) and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” from “The Lion King.” As the guys say, you can bring your 5-year-old. You can bring your 95-year-old, too.

No. 3: Singing is the Best Medicine: If a member of Mo5aic is a little under the weather, the others know how to cover temporary vocal restrictions caused by illness.

No. 2: This is Not a Concert: No, it’s an interactive experience. The guys drop into the crowd and invite — well, demand — singing accompaniment from the audience. This is especially true during “The Name Game” — and the moment when founding member Hodge grabs any random slip of paper from an audience member and creates a rap from what is written.

No. 1: George Wallace is the Sixth Member of Mo-Five: It was Wallace who first showcased the original version of Mo5aic during his show at the Flamingo in 2006 as a specialty act during his regular set in the showroom. It’s taken a while, but the guys have their own platform now. Wallace deserves a handshake, or, more fittingly, a high-five.

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