Review and photos by Hannah Rohret.
Vancouver Island artist, Ora Cogan, took the stage just after 10pm Thursday night at Oakland’s Thee Stork Club after a performance by San Francisco Bay Area-based Asha Wells, whose intimate set drew concert-goers in close as they sat at the foot of the stage. Completely engrossed in the moment, some closed their eyes as they let Wells’ silky smooth alternative indie folk tunes carrythem off to a presumably delightful and meditative space.
Amidst Thee Stork Club’s hip and cozy, multi-room, 1970s house party vibe scene, a friendly, mellow crowd flocked to Cogan’s irresistibly dreamy vocals as she and her four bandmates took the stage to close out the night. The psychedelic, warped guitar sounds, red lights and velvety backdrop filled the long-time local establishment with an added air of mystique and serenity as Wells and bandmates opened their set.
Ora Cogan captivated audience members not only with her vocals but strong instrumental capabilities as well, playing both guitar and fiddle on stage. As stated ever-so-perfectly on Cogan’s website (where you can also download and enjoy Cogan’s outstanding new album, Formless), her “smoky, psychedelic approach to gothic country and hazy folk merges with post-punk, groove, psych rock, and traditional balladry.” Cogan was exactly that and did not disappoint fans as her layered, rolling and emotionally evocative ballads gave one the feeling of floating freely on a vast, breezy desert highway.
“When I first came to town, They called me the roving jewel; Now they’ve changed their tune, They call me Katy Cruel.” Cogan closed the show with this haunting, beautiful, several hundred-year-old traditional folk song of Scottish and Irish descent, Katie Cruel, leaving the crowd in awe and clearly wanting more from this stunning vocalist. Cogan’s thoughtful artistry is not to be missed.