By: Ashley Berry
If Kan Wakan didn’t already have a dedicated fan base at the beginning of their February 2013 residency at the Echo, they most certainly did by their final performance on February 25th. When lead singer Kristianne Bautista addressed the crowd and let them know that this was their last Monday night at the Echo, the crowd groaned in disappointment briefly, before shifting into joyful cheers as Kan Wakan began to play the songs that had become the Monday night soundtrack at the Echo for the previous few weeks.
The Silverlake-based band is a collective of artists formed by Gueorgui Linev (multi-instrumentalist and composer) just over a year ago and now includes Peter Potyondy (guitarist/ producer), Kristianne Bautista (singer), Dannon Rampton (violinist), Randy Wagner (percussionist), Ian Anderson (bassist), and a selection of featured musicians. Together, they create a layered sound that is a smooth blend of loungey soul music infused with funky acid jazz elements.
Their final residency set included eight songs, many of which had become crowd favorites, starting with “Forever Found”, a cinematic piece that oozes the somber desolation of a Southwestern landscape while conveying a moody, noir-inspired drama. “Like I Need You” features echoing guitars, haunting violin, and slow, steady drums the creep and curl around the music in vine-like tendrils. “Moving On” opens with upbeat percussion that has hints of reggae sound and gives the sense of being at a relaxed late-night party on a tropical beach. The fifth song on the set list has been deemed “untitled” and incorporates more of an experimental sound that is reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s brand of psychedelic rock with an eerie, dream-like quality.
Throughout the evening, Bautista’s sultry vocals shift from silky crooning to grittier achy sounds. As she sings, she moves her hands delicately in front of her, emphasizing the lyrical and tonal shifts as the stage lighting illuminates her sloping cheekbones and smoothly arced features. The other members of the band have an equally understated performance style, all lightly swaying and nodding to the music, with the exception of the violinist, who becomes a little more animated as he picks the strings of his instrument emphatically.
The crowd cheered and danced throughout the set and various audience members called out for “Midnight Moon”, which features an epic instrumental segment towards the culmination of the song, and was appropriately saved for last. After the final song came to a close, Bautista thanked the crowd for a beautiful residency and the members of Kan Wakan drifted slowly off the stage. Despite the crowd’s tangible anticipation of an encore, the band did not return to the stage, leaving those of us wanting more to wait and wonder what will be next for Kan Wakan.