That's Bacchanal, Folks
Losing It to Rose Windows' Wild Psych Jams
Revelations rarely happen at shows by new local bands, but I had one the first time I caught Rose Windows live in August at the Black Lodge. The eight-piece launched into a set of sprawling, baroque psychedelia that soared into the stratosphere without sacrificing memorable hooks and galvanic riffing. From the jump, Rose Windows had the crowd enthralled with songs that overflowed with raw, bacchanalian energy and the sort of climaxes that conflate orgasm with spiritual enlightenment (figuratively speaking). They leaned into their roles as if they were headlining Woodstock instead of a small DIY space. The bassist crowd-surfed while playing, and audience members' faces beamed with bliss as they raised their arms as if to welcome new messiahs. (No, I wasn't trippin'.) Rose Windows made an instant believer out of me and many others that night.
The young group began life with vocalist Rabia Qazi and guitarist Chris Cheveyo. "Rabia and I started writing together in the early winter of last year in my 40-degree room," Chev- eyo says. "We recorded a demo and started showing the songs to our friends. Our friends, as luck would have it, were incredible musicians." He speaks the truth. The lineup's filled out by guitarist Nils Petersen, drummer Pat Schowe, bassist the Duke, keyboardist David Davila, flautist Veronica Dye, and violinist Austin Larkin. Their onstage interaction shows a keen intuition with regard to the ancient art of jamming with a sense of purpose, not just to flaunt virtuosity—although there's nothing wrong with occasional flaunting of virtuosity.
Amid Rose Windows' kinetic stage demeanor, Qazi rises above the clamor to assert a kind of mystical-diva regality. She radiates a sensuous charisma, and her voice boasts a pulchritudinous huskiness that recalls psych queens such as Aguaturbia's Denise Corales and Shocking Blue's Mariska Veres.
"When we started, we were very much inspired by Sun City Girls, Amon Düül, and John Fahey," Cheveyo notes. "Much of [Rose Window's first] demo is mostly acoustic, but when the band came together to interpret the songs, the effect of just jamming with [our] friends turned into something that felt much more visceral and less calculated."
With a turbulent burner of a show at last month's Escalator festival and an upcoming date at City Arts Fest, Rose Windows are gaining momentum for what should be a spectacular ascent—even without an official release yet. As Cheveyo puts it, they just want "to communicate in a universal language the life we intend to live, and play the hell out of it."