With their unique blend of hip-hop, jazz and funk, Red Kettle bounced along through a set that included a cover of Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” thrown in amongst their own originals. Despite an ever-changing array of instruments that now includes a saxophone and keys, Red Kettle meshes together to create a remarkably tight sound reminiscent of Snarky Puppy’s 40-plus musician collective, “The Fam.”A pleasantly predictable set from headlining band Bronze Radio Return capped the evening. The band’s sound serves as another indication of just how influential the revival of indie folk pop has been within the last five years. They delivered an enjoyable set of easy listening acoustic songs, in the vein of now dime- a- dozen acts such as The Lumineers. While the open air of a Friday evening show on the Union patio was not the most favorable atmosphere for Red Kettle’s jam-heavy dance funk, relative newcomers Soft Cough made the best of their set. Made up of juniors Ben Freiman, Nicholas Koithan, Tom Kohn and Daniel Pugh, Soft Cough’s more traditional sound made for an explosive set. Thanks to the influence of three different writers––with Freiman as the only member who has yet to write for the band––Soft Cough presents an exciting variation. The band offers 1990s-influenced garage rock in the vein of Pinkerton, only to cut back to guitar-led charges accompanied by Pugh’s searing, take-no-prisoners vocal style. Considering the position Soft Cough holds as the flag bearers of Geneseo’s current music scene alongside Red Kettle, the variation in their music becomes more important. “The thing is, last year there were only a couple bands,” Pugh said. “We’re trying to motivate our friends who are talented to start bands.” Pugh affirms Soft Cough’s role as the forerunner in a push for an expansion of musical interests on campus. It was a return to the funky unfamiliar on Aug. 29 as Geneseo welcomed back fusion band Red Kettle and the up-and-coming Soft Cough alongside headliner Bronze Radio Return for the Welcome Back Jam in front of the College Union.
Red Kettle’s fusion of genres and Soft Cough’s ever-evolving sound are indicators of the ear for the new and exciting, shared by many of Geneseo’s own talented musicians. “Our aspirations right now are collaborating with everyone,” Pugh said. Given that the members are still only juniors, it appears that Soft Cough still has a lot more to do before their time at Geneseo is done. While they are yet to release any recorded material, Kohn noted that is something the band is currently working on. Soft Cough, like Red Kettle before them, is a band that above all looks forward to having a good time performing their music. So, look out for more from the big band on campus, because according to Koithan, “Soft Cough really just wants to play a bunch of shows.”