Singer-songwriter Ryan Dilmore's stripped-down performance at the Little Theatre was simple and lyrical. While Jazz Fest typically calls to mind images of funky bands playing on big outdoor stages, Dilmore's music was a welcome reprieve from the fray.
A Victor native, Dilmore said that the opportunity to perform at the festival was "honestly a dream come true." He recalled memories of attending with his friends before he moved to California several years ago.
Dilmore's excitement and nervousness were apparent when he fumbled over words between sets, but he played with a contagious ease. His lyric-heavy songs were chock full of clever rhymes -- something reminiscent of early Jason Mraz. Although each piece was similar and somewhat bled into the next, Dilmore's comfort with his guitar sucked me in. I found myself wanting more.
Unfortunately, festival patrons made it almost impossible for me to keep my attention on Dilmore. He couldn't make it through a single song without a group of people entering or leaving the venue with what seemed like complete disregard for the fact that a musician was on stage sharing his art. I know that this is the nature of music festivals, but in this particular venue, it was highly distracting. At the very least, antsy patrons could have saved their movement for in between songs.
Although Dilmore wasn't the kind of act I expected to see at the festival, I'll certainly be listening to more of his work.
Tomorrow, I'll switch gears completely when I take in the Brubeck Brothers Quartet at Harro East Ballroom. My expectations are high for a group featuring two members of one of America's most accomplished musical families.