Friday night was a night to be remembered at Bake’s Place in Bellevue – where up-and-coming Seattle act Kris Orlowski delivered an intimate set of thoughtful folk-rock tracks for the lover and dreamer in all of us.
Before Orlowski and Co. took the stage, Spokane native Kevin Long started the evening out, delivering a handful of tracks from his debut release, 2011’s “Small Town Talk.” The singer-songwriter, who opened for Rocky Votolato in Seattle a few months back, was the perfect introduction to the night – telling melodic stories of love and life and loss.
With messy hair, and a quiet demeanor, Long has the kind of voice you want whispering to you in the morning. And while he seemed a bit unsure in his delivery at times – he’d never played in Bellevue and didn’t know what to expect – there’s an honesty in his performance that’s magnetic.
Taking the stage shortly before 9 p.m., Kris Orlowski overcame a minor misstep on the first song (“And now I’m in the wrong key,” Orlowski sang wistfully a few bars in), before jumping into an emotionally charged set that had the whole room glowing. Though the venue was far from packed, front man Orlowski noted, on several occasions, it’s one of his favorite venues to play.
“It’s rare that we get to play in an intimate venue like this, that’s set up like a listening room,” Orlowski said, before slipping seamlessly into the opening notes of “Steady and Slow,” off 2010’s “Happiness is Waiting.”
And the crowd, made up of both familiar faces and new fans, seemed to embrace the occasion.
There’s a richness to Orlowski’s vocals, that, matched with the rawness of the band’s instrumentation, is hard to ignore. Add to the mix the singer’s charming personality and uncanny ability to connect with an audience, and Friday’s set was live music at its best: honest, warm and enigmatic.
Whether delicate and thoughtful or pop-y and upbeat, Orlowski’s songs are beautifully crafted and intricately arranged. Highlights of the night included “Waltz of Petunia,” an upbeat track that had the whole crowd swaying in their seats – and “Cables” a new song from the band’s upcoming release, “Pieces We Are,” out Oct. 16.
Plain and simple, Kris Orlowski’s music makes my heart happy. It’s the kind of stuff that sneaks up on you, takes you on a journey, and never lets you go. It might make you smile. It might make you cry. But at least it’s making you feel.
Kris Orlowski will be back on the Eastside on August 14, playing as part of the Live at Lunch series at Bellevue Place. For more information, go HERE.