Review & photos by Rachel Jablonski
Dazzling the crowd at Gabe’s Oasis in Iowa City, IA, Orenda Fink and her band lit up the stage with grace and decorum. The genuine smile and cute innocence of Atlanta based front woman Orenda Fink created a welcome atmosphere for the college aged crowd residing on the Hawkeye campus. Adding to the charm that heightened on stage was random gulps of liquor, harmonious melodies, and intent emotion.
The singing trio – Orenda and her two female backup vocalists – was the awe-inspiring feature of the night. The meshing combination of tones was a stimulating display of melody and harmony that had many females familiar with the music singing right along. Many of the up front gentlemen may not have shared in vocal participation, but were akin in appreciation for the folk/rock type sound.
“Thank you so much you guys, this is really great. Last night the crowd just stood there and looked at us like…” Orenda proclaimed with an impressionable dumbfounded look.
Enhancing the feature presentation of vocals was Orenda and her guitar, a keyboard played by one of the backup vocalists, male drummer and guitar player, a female bassist, and those shaky bead things rattled to the beat, as well as an occasional tambourine. Oh yeah, and I almost forgot the trumpet that Orenda personally incorporated during one song. Though the gender of musicians seems a minor detail, the focus of the traveling band is no doubt on the female contributions. Both males, though visibly present on stage, seemed to lay low, the drummer hidden back in the shadows and the guitarist rarely facing the crowd directly.
Orenda’s set consisted of the songs “Played,” “Leave it all,” “Invisible Ones Guard the Gate,” “Invisibles,” “No Evolution,” “Dirty South,” “Easter Island,” and a cover song that wrapped up the show. Most songs, pulled from Orenda’s first solo album called Invisible Ones recently released on Omaha based Saddle Creek Records, were very passionate and mellow with few exceptions. But whatever style Orenda displayed worked for the crowd, myself included, though I could have done without Orenda's ghastly pointed toe shoes that are unfortunately in style. All in all, the Iowa crowd was dazzled by the style and grace of Orenda Fink.