On Friday evening, the Grind in the Union filled with students who had the pleasure of listening to acoustic singer/songwriter Dave McGrath perform from 10 p.m. until midnight.
McGrath's presence pulled fans to the eatery and likewise created a coffeehouse atmosphere by providing a relaxed and refreshing musical backdrop for customers.
McGrath, who hails from the Rochester area, put out his first album three years ago. Since then, according to the performer, he has been playing gigs regularly, opening for the Charlie Daniels' Band last week.
McGrath couldn't place himself within one genre of music. He described himself as playing a range from "country to rock to blues."
In addition to his own original work - his second album will be coming out next week - McGrath played many covers of classic songs by artists such as Train, Eric Clapton, Gavin DeGraw and others.
Though the show was by no means a full-blown concert, it did prove a refreshing experience for listeners; the show's humble quality allowed customers to easily sit and converse while still enjoying McGrath's charming voice and skillful guitar playing.
McGrath began the show with a cover of the well-known song "Drops of Jupiter" by Train. The slight twang of his country-style voice as well as the soothing tones of his guitar gave this number a very calm feeling, which pervaded the audience and set the mood for the rest of the performance.
His cover of the slow version of Clapton's "Layla" kept the atmosphere of the Grind very mellow. In addition, McGrath's voice made his rendition sound nearly identical to Clapton's own acoustic cover of the hit single. Michael Buble's "Home" was also on McGrath's set list, and the musician admirably provided the song with a much-needed acoustic version.
Songs like Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Wanna Be" and Tonic's "If You Could Only See" injected a few moments of rock into the show, picking up the pace as necessary and allowing McGrath opportunities to show off his skills with the guitar.
Some of his original work introduced a strain of southern blues into the mix, such as the tracks "Mississippi Mud" from his self-titled first album, or "Change My Luck" from his yet to be released second CD.
Due to the length of the show, many viewers only attended intermittently but a small core audience was always ready to meet the conclusion of one of McGrath's songs with an approving round of applause. The presence of an entertainer such as McGrath not only brought the fun of Geneseo Late Knight to the Grind, but managed to make the atmosphere of the small eatery seem even more inviting and enjoyable.
GLK should consider bringing in acts like McGrath in the future - after all, what is a coffeehouse without live entertainment?