Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

BENT NIGHTS Rostam
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Vern Hester
2018-02-27

This article shared 526 times since Tue Feb 27, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Thirty-five years ago, the debut single of an unknown band called The Culture Club was delivered to radio programmers in a brown paper wrapper—lest the sight of a smartly coiffed drag queen offend the public.

Boy George and that song, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?," were widely embraced but that couldn't prepare listeners for the current tsunami of gay vocalists on the airwaves. With gay men trilling their hearts out in every shape and flavor ( for genderfluid we have Ezra Furman, for androgynous we have Perfume Genius, for arch we have Tyler Glenn and for weepy we have Sam Smith ), it comes as something of a shock to get Rostam Batmanglij ( better known as Rostam ) and his relatively recent full-length, Half Light ( on Nonesuch Records ), as additions to the mix.

Rostam did not exactly come out of nowhere, being that he was a founding member, producer and co-writer of platinum darlings Vampire Weekend; has a degree in musical composition from Columbia University; and a slew of collaborations to his credit ( Discovery, Ra Ra Riot, Kid Cudi, Charli XCX, Simon Le Bon, Carly Rae Jepsen and Hamilton Leithauser ). For all of his subtly, gently rumpled demeanor and the promise of brilliance, he's even managed something quite shocking: presented his queerness without elaboration.

Actors Ben Whishaw and Zachery Quinto have smartly used the same approach by coming out and then refusing to kiss and tell, focusing the spotlight on their work. Rostam, on the other hand, has not only offered a glimpse of his personality but managed to use it like a shell game. Half Light, if anything, is a low-key, rumbling delight—an art-rock indie masterpiece without pretension and a whole lot of heart.

"Never Going to Catch Me" may be the most conventional song here, with its muted brittle percussion, sleek sheen and alluring melody, while "Don't Let it Get to You" hardly has a melody and largely works with Rostam's lazy cracked croon gliding over a bed of arid percussion and strings. "Rudy" reminded me of mid-period Paul Simon, with its conversational tone, until Rostam started playing with the song's structure giving it an improvisational and unexpected finish. As if all of that weren't enough, the single "Bike Dream"—which, at first, sounds like one long run on sentence—dovetails into a shimmering bliss out of a song. It's wordy, sweet, uncynical and addictive, to a fault.

In front of a packed room for a sold out show at Lincoln Hall on Feb. 10, Rostam managed the feat of not only reproducing and elaborating on High Light, but charming the bejesus out of his audience. If anything, he looks like a cuddly college student ( it was no wonder that there was a group of seasoned bears front-row center ); though he exuded shyness, that didn't stop him from cracking jokes while astounding the room. Fronting a four-piece string section and a lone percussionist ( Rostam picked up his guitar on occasion ) "Never Going to Catch Me" and "Bike Dream" had a shimmering elegance that made them otherworldly. "Rudy" and "It's Not My Fault," a dip into the Discovery discography, came with a degree of brittle aggression that hinted at what the future could suggest.

The rumor was that one of the reasons that Rostam left Vampire Weekend was that he preferred being a studio mouse over touring. At the mid-point of his set it was clear that he was having a problem hiding his smile, debunking that rumor.

Heads up: In case you missed the act last year, queer country pioneers Lavender Country will hit The Hideout for a show on April 26.


This article shared 526 times since Tue Feb 27, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

REVIEW Randy Rainbow tackles politics, shows talent at The Chicago Theatre 2021-10-24
- YouTube sensation Randy Rainbow brought The Pink Glasses Tour to The Chicago Theatre on Oct. 22. Best known for videos that parody musical numbers with a focus on politics, the heavily curated show began with a ...


Gay News

MUSIC Indie band Fleece is queering country 2021-10-24
- Eight years ago, gay songwriter and lead singer Matt Rogers and his friend, bisexual drummer Ethan Soil, founded Montreal quartet Fleece. A few years later, bisexual vocalist Megan Ennenberg and straight man Jameson Daniel—who are both ...


Gay News

MUSIC Elton John's 'The Lockdown Sessions' now out 2021-10-22
- Elton John's The Lockdown Sessions is now out, courtesy of Interscope Records. An album of collaborations recorded remotely over the last 18 months, The Lockdown Sessions features UK #1 single "Cold Heart (PNAU remix)," with Dua ...


Gay News

THEATER E. Faye Butler to star in 'Fannie' Oct. 25-Nov. 14 2021-10-21
- Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., will host the run of Cheryl L. West's Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer), which will run Oct. 25-Nov. 14. E. Faye Butler stars as U.S. civil-rights ...


Gay News

Lyric Opera presenting 'Florencia en el Amazonas' Nov. 13-28 2021-10-21
- During Nov. 13-28, Lyric Opera of Chicago will run the company premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas—the first Spanish-language work to be presented as part of Lyric's mainstage opera season. There will be evening performances on ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Superman, TheWrap, Oscar Wilde, Billy Porter, Cher, 'Dragula' 2021-10-17
- The ongoing comic Superman: Son of Kal-El, by writer Tom Taylor and artist John Timms, launched in July and saw Jon Kent officially take up the mantle of the Man of Steel now that his father, ...


Gay News

CIFF, featuring LGBTQ+ films, running through Oct. 24 2021-10-15
- North America's longest-running competitive film festival, this year's event expands throughout Chicago with presentations at venues across the city, including at AMC River East 21; the Music Box Theatre; the Gene Siskel Film Center; special drive ...


Gay News

MUSICALS 'Pretty Woman' tickets go on sale Oct. 15 2021-10-15
- After a pre-Broadway run in Chicago and being on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical, based on one of Hollywood's most beloved romantic stories of all time, returns to Chicago. The production will run at the CIBC ...


Gay News

'Tapping into Ca$h' : CaSera Heining lives double life as DJ Ca$h Era and radio producer 2021-10-14
- Minutes before DJ Ca$h Era hosted Lollapalooza's first drag show, the Black queer woman behind the stage name was pacing nervously behind the scenes and listening to a drag queen animatedly remind her they were "making ...


Gay News

MUSIC Janis Ian's last Chicago concert May 14 2021-10-13
- In what is being advertised as her last concert in Chicago, LGBTQ singer Janis Ian will be performing at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave. on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at 8 p.m. Tickets ($48-$50) will ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog' running through Nov. 6 2021-10-12
- Black Button Eyes Productions is welcoming back live audiences with the popular internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog—an authorized fan production to benefit the Chicago charity Season of Concern—playing through ...


Gay News

Lyric Opera running seven performances of 'The Magic Flute' Nov. 3-27 2021-10-11
- Lyric Opera of Chicago is running seven performances of The Magic Flute, Mozart's final opera, on Nov. 3-27. There will be performances at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3; matinees on Nov. 7, 11, 14 and 17, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race' winners, Playboy, punk band, The Dinah, Daniel Craig 2021-10-10
Video below - As part of VH1's #LGBTQHerstoryMonth project, five winners from the RuPaul's Drag Race winner's circle—season one's BeBe Zahara Benet, All Stars 4 winner Monet X Change, season 11 winner Yvie Oddly, season 12 victor Jaida Essence ...


Gay News

Madonna's latest concert film, Madame X, now out 2021-10-09
- The concept film to Madonna's acclaimed Madame X Tour has debuted in the United States Latin America, Australia, the Nordics and Canada exclusively on Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS. Fans outside these markets can watch ...


Gay News

Book about musician Tori Amos' works coming out 2021-10-07
- The book Tori Amos: every album, every song—by rock journalist Lisa Torem—will be out in the United States on Friday, Oct. 29, courtesy of Sonic Bond Publishing. In 1992, Amos—an acclaimed singer, pianist and composer—achieved fame ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.