Singer-songwriter Imaad Wasif gave a haunting and ethereal performance last Tuesday night at Spaceland in Silver Lake. The second show of his three-date residency at Spaceland stayed within the new-age folk vibe established by Stetson-wearing opener Voice on Tape, and the beautiful voice of Becky Stark as the second act.
Becky Stark has the voice control and timbre of a woman twice the years her young face implies. Moving from falsettos to clear-throated lyrics, Stark was wonderfully accompanied by one or at times two harmonizing female singers. As they sang, a hint of Allison Krauss emerged and the voices blended so well on stage that without careful attention you would think there was only voice alone. The set ended with her handing off her guitar to her friend Chris who played while the two accompanying singers all contributed to harmonizing sweetly behind Stark’s signature voice.
The stage properly set for Imaad Wasif, he stepped up from the crowd and moved from observer to performer. Wasif has the look and feel of a man from a world of only words and sounds. His thin frame a platform for voice and hands, he began his set with intricately plucked acoustic steel strings and a lap steel adding mist and fog for his lyrics to wade through.
His voice was in control throughout, and he would dart glances from behind his thick hair as if to reassure himself the world was still there. The drummer, lap-guitar player, and Wasif were all entranced in the music they created, and you could sense the passion they had for the songs.
As Wasif moved through his set, the lap steel player would switch to bass, adding nice effects and ambiance, and later violin players were invited up. All moved around the poetic lyrics of Wasif, walking together through a “field of withered flowers, perfume of the unknown.”
Though the set was inspiring and mood-full, Wasif remained seated and acoustic throughout the performance, and by the end there was a wanting of more energy and bite.
P.S. Actor, John C. Reilly was a fan amongst the crowd.
Words: Tim Crowley