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Rostam Batmanglij performs at Ladies Literary Club

Photo+courtesy+Rostam+Batmanglij%2C+Joy+Again+US+Tour+and+Calvin+SAO.
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Rostam Batmanglij performs at Ladies Literary Club

Photo courtesy Rostam Batmanglij, Joy Again US Tour and Calvin SAO.

Photo courtesy Rostam Batmanglij, Joy Again US Tour and Calvin SAO.

Photo courtesy Rostam Batmanglij, Joy Again US Tour and Calvin SAO.

Photo courtesy Rostam Batmanglij, Joy Again US Tour and Calvin SAO.

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Former member of Vampire Weekend Rostam Batmanglij performed a concert at the Ladies Literary Club last Friday, Feb. 9.

Set opener Joy Again brought a combination of dream pop, grunge and garage rock that began to get the crowd warmed up. A band that was founded in Philadelphia in 2015, Joy Again played an entertaining set that felt very much in the same vein as Batmanglij.

Following Joy Again, Batmanglij took the stage. Batmanglij originally joined Vampire Weekend in 2006 while studying music at Columbia University. Over the next ten years, he helped the band produce several albums, while also developing his own music as a solo artist. In 2016, Batmanglij announced he’d decided to leave Vampire Weekend to pursue his own work full time, also saying he would still work with his former bandmates from time to time.

Fans of Vampire Weekend may have walked away a little bit disappointed from the concert, as Batmanglij only played one song from the group he previously was a member of  — “Young Lion,” the two minute interlude from “Modern Vampires of the City.

However, this was done with purpose, as the message is clear: Batmanglij refuses to be tied down by his past affiliations; he is, in every way, his own artist.

This was made evident through Batmanglij’s use of instruments — as there were far less than one might have imagined. Other than Batmanglij and his occasional guitar work, there was only a string quartet and a small collection of percussion instruments, both digital and analog. With these few instruments, Batmanglij put together a set of songs that ranged from string pieces and hypnotizing drum beats to fun and light reggaetronics that had the entire audience dancing in their seats.

The range of this band is best exemplified in the song that bracketed the entire set, “Don’t Let It Get to You.” The version of this song that opened the concert, labeled on the record as the reprise version, came off as spacey and more piano based. The version that closed it was a rip-roaring romp full of drums, wailing strings and strong beats. The two versions showcased not only Batmanglij’s abilities as a performer, but his competence as a composer as well.

In the conversation after the concert, Batmanglij stated that he tends to go through phases in creativity — that he doesn’t like to hang on one particular idea for too long, lest it become stale or boring.

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