Music

Review: Chicago Knows the Music Sounds Better with Roosevelt

St. Nicholas Day always has a special significance to me as it is one of my best friend’s birthdays. Last Monday, it held a little more excitement with a sold-out show at Thalia Hall featuring Roosevelt. This show marked the band’s third live appearance in the Windy City, first at Subterranean and second at The Bottom Lounge. Marius Lauber (singer, songwriter, and producer) recalled mid-set his memory of playing at Bottom Lounge and now seeing a sold-out crowd. His face, a little sweaty, was beaming with pride and gratitude for an electric crowd sharing the little anecdote. A larger stage, more expansive sound system, sold-out audience, and third album, Polydans, mixed for the perfect recipe of musical excellence.

The cover art of the band’s third album served as a backdrop with four white chrome spotlights “set the stage” with the opening song, just like the album, “Easy Way Out.” The lights began to pulse with the beginning of the song. Marius and mates entered from stage left, and the crowd roared in anticipation, myself included. Banging synths, steady and tight drums, and a fine pairing of guitar and bass came together seamlessly. As the pianist and bass players were the same from the 2018 show, the band did have a new drummer. You could sense how much the group has grown closer from the band’s poise and eye contact. As Lauber is the main lead of the band, his vision for the project continues to excel, as shown in the interludes, improvisation, and re-imagined sound to studio-recorded tracks like “Colours,” “Sea,” “Echoes,” and “Yr Love” to name a few. The beauty of having three full-studio albums is the way you can arrange and revisit songs, which they intricately picked for their 15-song setlist, with a unique surprise cover of Stardust’s “Music Sounds Better.”

The band continues to excel in ways that many in their music-making careers can undoubtedly struggle with: identity and creative outlets. Roosevelt stays true to their sound, in a style that doesn’t seem to have as much prominence as it used to: the indie rock and electronic genre associated with blog house. Before they know it, they could be headed onto the festival circuit if that interests their vision. Whatever the future holds, it’s an endless opportunity for Roosevelt as they keep music lovers dancing, smiling, and singing.

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