Once in a great while, you see a band for the first time and you can sense from the first minutes of their performance that they’re going to be something special. That’s the feeling I got from catching Seattle 8-piece Rose Windows last night at a fairly packed Black Lodge. Midday Veil’s Emily Pothast recently had been hyping them to me, and she was not hyperbolizing.
Fronted by the charismatic, incantatory Rabia Qazi, Rose Windows are a young group who un-self-consciously get totally absorbed in their music while still radiating an extroverted joie de vivre. (Crowd-surfing bassist? Check.) They don’t have trad verse-chorus-verse songs, per se, but rather mantric jams that conjure a primitive, Dionysian psychedelia that throbs and soars into rapturous, clangorous climaxes. (Bonus points for having a flautist [Veronica Dye].) Even a mutated, distended take on that hoary George Gershwin-DuBose Heyward chestnut “Summertime” appeared, and the effect was charmingly ridiculous and revelatory. At some point in every piece, crowd members were impelled to put their goddamn hands in the air and make some motherfucking noise, uncoaxed by the musicians. How rare and refreshing.
Late in the set, a difficult-to-please, 40something friend walked over, suitably impressed, and said, “Is this Shinki Chen?” Later he remarked, “This is like some Aguaturbia shit.” Yep, that’s the sort of heady territory into which Rose Windows are blossoming right now. They’re still relatively new and one can apprehend a lot of potential for growth. (That being said, they seem like a safe bet to be booked for this year’s Escalator festival.) I suspect you’ll be hearing a lot about Rose Windows in the coming months, much of it in heated prose and Bacchanalian “woo”s.