FreeTulsa! 2011 featuring Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Fiawna Forte, The Pretty Black Chains and more
Friday and Saturday
Blue Dome District, Tulsa
In an age of increasing gear and growing complexity, it's almost counter-cultural to rock it with little more than the instruments you brought in.
Fiawna Forte and her band brought in exactly three pedals; one for each of the two guitarists and bassist. The stage was remarkably uncluttered, which was necessary for the band to move around. And move they did. Fiawna and her band went nuts on stage: dancing, headbanging and generally strutting their stuff. Even the drummer couldn't stay on his seat, routinely standing up and banging with fervor.
But the stage was not enough for Forte; twice she entered the audience while performing, once with guitar in hand and once with just her mic. She roamed around in the audience, trying her hardest to invigorate the listeners.
Antics aside, her music was enough to arrest the audience; her brand of no-frills rock and roll was sold by her roaring voice. Even though there was a power to her vocal cords, it never became guttural or non-feminine; her voice is just powerful. When paired with body-movin' riffs and ear-snagging melodies, it became an irresistible formula that I and the audience could not take eyes off.
Fiawna Forte has an electric stage presence, great songs and a bright future. I am blown away.
Kite Flying Robot was a striking change in pace from Fiawna Forte, as their mellowed-out, electronic pop songs serenaded the audience. I've talked about how much I like Kite Flying Robot before, and their show is a direct continuation of their album.
Violin, trumpet, keyboards, electronic beats and more went into their songs on record and on stage, and it was a blast to hear. "Solid Gold," the title track from the band's album, was a special highlight. The set didn't include much motion (instrumental work took up the members' time and energy), except for "Color TV," where lead singer Nikolas Thompson descended to the floor and sang the majority of the tune from the audience.
Great songs performed well. That's a good show to me.