Micah Dalton cordially grumbled about the cold weather outside while the overhead lights splashed down upon his dreadlocked hair like specks of
frost. He proceeded to open his Friday show in front of a small Knightspot audience with "Blame it on January," a soft, folksy tune that echoed his initial sentiments about the single-digit temperature.
Dalton continued on this way for about an hour during the concert hosted by Mac's Place. Dalton played on the dark, intimately-lit dance floor, keeping things casual and relaxed with quirky quips tossed in between numbers and a sing-a-long to conclude the show that got audience members up on their feet dancing and singing.
Dalton looks like Adam Duritz, plays his guitar like Jack Johnson, and when he sees fit can belt out soulful vocals that bring to mind Gnarls Barkley's Cee-Lo. It's quite a unique combination, but somehow works with tremendous results. Unfortunately, it's easy to overlook his gospel singer voice since his material often restricts his singing to a feathery croon. But this marriage of folk and soul is more or less effective for Dalton, who proved with songs like "Kingdom of Glenwood" and "Reverend Ramshackle Run" that he can flip an internal switch and belt out that affecting R and B voice with relative ease.
Those two songs were the strongest performances of the night because they showed that while Dalton is a fine musician, he is also, more importantly, a good vocalist. He conveys emotion very articulately and can inject an Arlo Guthrie-esque storytelling style into his work when desired, adding a new dimension to the performance. At worst, his music is indifferent and unobjectionable. At best, it can really shake the audience.
Along with his voice, Dalton has a good understanding of dynamics with his acoustic guitar, contrasting sounds and volumes. He can utilize an instrument's rhythmic and percussive qualities as well as its melodic ones to their fullest extent.
After the show he joked and chatted with audience-members for a while. It was quite a different atmosphere in the room in comparison with earlier that evening - obviously noticing a lack of energy in the crowd, Dalton had joked he'd have to start playing Parliament songs, a wisecrack that went over nearly all the audience members' heads. Yet, by the end of the evening, he had audience members out of their chairs, singing and dancing well after the last song was played.
It may have been cold outside Friday night, but Dalton warmed things up for the lucky Geneseo students who were able to catch the hour-long show.