Local bands light up Muddy Waters

Last Friday night, local bands A Very Valiant Duo and New Socks jammed at Main Street's Muddy Waters, a café that is becoming quite the hub for students, musicians and artists.

Seniors Ben Morey and Becky Lovell alongside Geneseo alumna Molly Kerker, 22, performed as New Socks - a band creating a folk fusion through wordier lyrics and a set combining slow and mellow with light-hearted styles.

New Socks' specialty seems to be their lyrics, which are based on observations of ubiquitous experiences. In what they refer to as a "song about lessons that children learn," the band members explain that children learn not all are lucky enough to live life with a full head of hair.

In "Family Tree" Morey sings, "My family tree is brown and green / there is a face on every leaf and at the very top is me." The song combines an accordion, trombone and keyboard, in addition to the traditional guitar.

The band's imaginative side is also shown through "I Was Very Small in Her Stomach," which tells a tale about the life of the singer's mother before his birth.

A more lighthearted and jovial song, "Apple Farm," began with banter from Morey and Kerker: "Apples are the best fruit, whoever doesn't agree with us cover your ears, or kindly leave." This style was well suited for the wide range of ages at Muddy Waters that night.

A Very Valiant Duo, a Rochester-based band, followed the News Socks' set with a more alternative sound. Sullivan Slentz, 18, Valerie Dana, 17, and Geneseo junior Avery Argenna, played an acoustic set that was stripped down but far from simple.

According to Argenna, their first song, "Waking Up," was about "waking up, which I don't know about you, but I find kind of hard." It was soft, featuring Dana and Slentz splitting the lead vocals with a similar sound to Straylight Run's John and Michelle Nolan.

A verbally active band between songs, Slentz said to the audience that, "Every song has a soul," a notion that A Very Valiant Duo exemplified when they explained how their songs came about before they sang them.

The band also did a medley of two songs originally performed by The Format, "Matches" and "I'm Actual," converting the pieces to strings and accordions with accents of flute. Slentz's voice lent itself well to The Format frontman Nate Ruess' tough-to-imitate vocals.

Their encore, "Epilogue," was accompanied with piano and was much slower and softer than their more acoustic rock set. A more serious tone with lyrics like, "We were ripe for the picking / we were right in our thinking / we were set in our ways like the set we made for our plays / we were young and inexperienced," the song was deconstructed, cloudy and demonstrated depth in the relatively young band.

A Very Valiant Duo and New Socks will be playing in the Rochester Independent Music Festival at Boulder Coffee in Rochester on Saturday, Oct. 3.