Rostam in concert: a review

Rostam is one of the founding members of Vampire Weekend, an American indie rock band. He played guitar and keyboard in the band and was also the backing vocalist. Rostam is also known as a producer for the Vampire Weekend and for other artists like Frank Ocean and Solange. In 2016 he went solo and in 2017 his first solo album Half-Light came out. He is an openly gay artist and recently he was in Amsterdam to promote his album with a concert in the Melkweg.

Rostam in concert, but not as you know it

Rostam Half-Light Album cover
Rostam, Half-Light album cover

The new album was generally well received. Since Rostam was one of the leading men in Vampire Weekend, you might recognize some bits in his new songs. But he also lets new Arabic, Indian and other musical influence come together in his new songs. The album is very layered, with lots of sound effects and electronics. So how did bring that live on a podium?

The first surprise for a rock concert was the set-up of the band: Rostam on vocals and guitar, a drummer/electronics wizard and a quartet of stings! Four young men, three on violin and one on cello, formed the core of the musical background of this concert. And that worked very well.

When you listen to the album, you might think this can be quite overwhelming when brought live on stage. But the quartet of string players gave a warmth to the concert, that brought an extra depth to the music. Despite this almost chamber music set up, the concert was a pure indie rock/pop concert as you might expect in the Melkweg concert hall.

Rostam has a great voice, especially live. It is an almost boyish voice, but still very powerful and capable of evoking an emotional depth within the songs. His voice, the string quartet and the rhythm section sucked us into the music. From beginning to end the musicians grabbed our attention and kept it. But unlike an average rock concert it wasn’t all adrenaline. It was almost a meditative way of enjoying music.

A special shout out to the opening act: Nana Adjoa

Nana Adjoa was the opening act this evening. This Dutch-Ghanaian singer and multi-instrumentalist stunned us with her simple, but beautiful performance. She just went on stage with her guitar and with her beautiful voice she brought the songs from her upcoming album. Think of melancholic indie-dream-pop songs like her closing song of the evening The Resolution.

She alone was worth the tickets for the evening and together with the great concert of Rostam we went home inspired.

Rostam at the Melkweg and Nana Adjoa as opening act: ♦♦♦♦♦ (five out of five diamonds)

Rostam, Half-Light on Spotify or Apple Music