ROSTAM brings his electropop odyssey of Half-Light to Union Transfer

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By Chris DeFlitch

Union Transfer played host to the electronic spectacle of Rostam, the moniker for famed indie producer and ex-vampire Rostam Batmanglij. Stepping away from the band in 2016 opened him up to new artistic adventures, leading him to his kaleidoscopic debut solo record Half-Light. Going into this show completely blind made the following one of pure bewilderment and ultimate enjoyment.

Before the Pakistani popstar took the stage, we were treated to a homecoming gig from locals Joy Again. Their brand of jangly pop was greeted with a well-received reception, not at all attributed to the many, many families and friends occupying the venue (shout out to their high school principal Mr. Dave in the pit).

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The vapor-filled venue was topped with anticipation when Mr. Batmanglij emerged behind the massive hospital drape covering the back of the stage to projections of all shapes and colors. Only accompanied by a quartet and percussionist, we got a full album performance mixed with a few classics and a cheeky little Nick Drake cover, created around Rostam’s expansive production style. Switching between cultural influences and pop-programmed hooks, Rostam fronted with that sort of anxious courage that makes for an authentic performance. Tracks like “Rudy” and “Wood” stood out, the latter incorporating his Pakistani roots into a smooth sailing indie pop hit.

Watching Rostam transition into the shining star I saw on stage was breathtaking, truly coming into his own without anyone to trip him on his artistic stride. And in an alternative world full of angry, anthemic electrocopies, Rostam is truly a diamond in the rough.

Full gallery below (photos by Chris DeFlitch)

Chris DeFlitch