After their successful first show on campus this semester, the members of the CU a cappella group In The Buff are surely taking a well-deserved break from rehearsing.
Being one of two all-male a cappella groups at CU, In The Buff drew a surprisingly large crowd of a cappella enthusiasts for their performance Friday in the math building. Nineteen-year-old sophomore business major Erin Sumpmann, said In The Buff was worth coming out to see.
“I saw [In The Buff] once last year, they were really good,” Sumpmann said. “This year my friend is in In The Buff so he made sure I came. They’re just really cool.”
Another CU a cappella group, On The Rocks, opened the night, bringing their all-female sound to round out the concert. Wanting for a little confidence, the girls started off shaky with standard upbeat a cappella numbers that couldn’t quite energize the audience. But as soon as their chilling choral arrangement of “Helplessly Hoping” by Crosby, Stills & Nash captivated the audience, it was clear these talented girls have a spark.
Concluding their brief set with a pulsing version of “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics, the audience was roped into the vigor of a cappella sound and ready for more.
Like a playful water balloon of energy, In The Buff burst on the stage with a lighthearted spirit that instantly had the audience smiling. Kicking off with “Army” by Ben Folds Five, soloist Taylor Hamill poured himself into the song with an easy theatrical edge while the rest of the group sang and moved with charming choreography behind him. Watching them, it was immediately apparent that for them music is just a synonym for fun.
Morgan Spellman, a 19-year-old sophomore psychology major, said she was impressed by In The Buff, having never seen an a cappella show previously.
“I just like the atmosphere and how they work together to create great music,” Spellman said. “Their hand gestures are really great too.”
Their unapologetically cheesy dance moves (if one can call them that) were never more enjoyable than during a tongue-and-cheek version of “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. Not expecting to be “rick-rolled” during a concert, the audience couldn’t help but chuckle along as soloist Tom Reis dramatically donned a trench coat and sunglasses.
Despite various silly pop culture references, the band showed a well-developed maturity in singing, highlighting their range in challenging songs. They tackled difficult harmonies in “Hard to Concentrate” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers and displayed a sense of humility when beginning “Because” by the Beatles a second time after an issue with note-precision.
Without any sort of instrumental back-up, the group capitalized on the beat boxing talents of such members as Joe Cutshall, Tristan Wolff and Zach Green to give their songs a contagious throb.
Nick Travino, 19-year-old sophomore political science major, said the beat boxers were a vital and exciting element of their performance.
“I personally get a kick out of the beat boxers,” Travino said. “I mean, they literally sound like drums and it’s just their voice. It’s cool to watch because they get so into it, and without them the beat kind of falls apart.”
After a standing ovation, the group agreed to sing one more song, a moving version of “Hallelujah,” originally written by Leonard Cohen. During a poignant solo from Bobby Ross, the audience was silently enchanted. With an ability to be both relevant to college-age students as well as create sweet moments such as this, In The Buff couldn’t be a more enjoyable example of a cappella done well.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Stephanie Riesco at Stephanie.email@example.com.