On a Thursday night, in an intimate room inside the Moroccan Lounge, a night of sublime music was slated to soon begin. An affable crowd of fans gathered in anticipation of not only a killer lineup, but also the premiere of new material from Bulgarian artist Kan Wakan’s upcoming triple LP.
Starting out the night was Avi Buffalo, an acoustic guitar toting singer-songwriter who took the stage alone, serenading us in his uniquely androgynous falsetto. His half hour stripped-down set was full of sweet and melancholic love songs, marked with striking vulnerability. Following this was the effortlessly seductive Jesse Jo Stark, who growled her way through a set of sensual grunge. A skilled performer, Stark teased the audience with pale blue eyes that pierced straight through to the back of the room, even as she gazed at onlookers with heavy-lidded indifference.
Led by creator Gueorgui Linev, Kan Wakan took the stage at last around eleven. Encircling the front of the stage, a sheer projection screen created an air of mystery and separation, and black and white visuals danced over the faces of Linev and his band like a virtual lightning storm. Vocalist Elle Olsen’s enchanting voice cut powerfully through the small room as she crooned her way through the first few tracks of the set, including the harmonica rich “Molasses” and the symphonic “Phantasmagoria, Pt. 1.” As Olsen bid the audience farewell, fellow vocalist Tien Nguyen aka SAÍGO took her place, beginning with heavy hitting recent release “No Line” and working his way through several unreleased tracks. Taking the mic to round out the show was powerhouse Rachel Fannan, whose musical theater belt shone on a cover of Johnny Mercer’s “I Remember You.” Even at the ripe weeknight hour of half past midnight, the steadfast crowd demanded an encore, prompting Fannan and SAÍGO to return to the stage for the languid duet “I Had To Laugh.”
Overall, the show was a dramatic showcase of what’s to come, and we cannot wait to give it all a lengthy re-listen. Poised at the very intersection of the terrestrial and the ethereal, Phantasmagoria is sure to exceed all expectations.