Roosevelt Live Concert Review
Three of Five Dangers
(DM) — Philadelphia. The Fillmore at the Foundry in Fishtown. Concert review: Roosevelt.
Does a contemporary pop update to 80s New Wave Disco appeal to you? If so Roosevelt is for you. Chances are you already know about Roosevelt if you’ve found this review.
What if you don’t know Roosevelt?
Roosevelt is Marius Lauber. That name is iconically attached to a US President. Learning about Roosevelt in a search will be a task. To find Marius under his Band name Roosevelt in searches you will need to long tail keyword search Roosevelt the musician. His web address is iamroosevelt.com. Talk about an identity issue. As you familiarize yourself with Roosevelt, you think of him as a one man band. He does, after all, do it all. What a treat it will be to see him with other musicians on stage.
Music. A subject few claim a superior understanding of if they are not a musician. Admittedly, I’m no longer a cutting edge teen. I’m no longer a savvy twenty-something. No, this audiophile is a one-time artist and music snob since being able to stand between the two front seats of my parents’ car and sing American Pie as a five-year-old. It is from a lifetime of input I claim the right to judge with your respect to my opinion.
I submit to you — Roosevelt.
I first heard Roosevelt through my eldest son. Like most adults who reached parenthood, my kids have reversed roles with me. They no longer listen to what I offer. They suggest new music to me. It took one song. The genre was uniquely identifiable. Contemporary synth pop with an intentional 80’s edge.
With couple years exposure to Roosevelt’s self-titled debut album (Roosevelt) I’ve been eager to catch Marius live. In the summer of 2018, there was both hype for a new album and a US tour. December rolled around and I attended with my youngest son (age 16).
Before the Concert
December 5th. A typical cold night on the east coast. I drove from Delaware to Philadelphia to pick up my son at the train station. We shot across Center City to the Fishtown’s Fillmore. The Fillmore is one of a few clubs with stages in a collection of cozy buildings called the Foundry.
The Fillmore is definitely a small club which claims to hold 2,500 but that seems impossible from what I experienced. Fortunately, the night we attended, attendance wasn’t a concern. The house was half full.
The stage arrangement is awkward but it works. As you walk in what feels like a wide hallway for 25 feet, the stage is immediate to your left. It has a small riser for the band with your standard metal sectional pipe barriers to separate the attendees from the stage. A small three-foot egress allowed photographers to get their stock images when their set began.
General admission tickets meant claiming your front row view early. My son and I, however, noticed something strange. Along the far wall next to the door where the band entered was a raised section with tall table tops. Of eight tables, the very first table nearest the stage was still open. Upon claiming it, I realized this location had the perfect view of the band members when they arrived.
We were now comfortably waiting and seated. Sure enough, when Marius and his fellow three members began their set, both keyboardists faced my son and I stage left. I considered shooting some of the concerts on a hand-held gimbal prior and was permitted to bring it in. Now, with our view and set-up. I shot the entire concert. It’s up on the DangerMan YouTube channel.
The Concert Experience – Roosevelt Up Close on Stage
Roosevelt is Marius Lauber. He’s got a boyish face but every bit a consummate professional. His confidence and comfort is ignorant of all things but performing. His bandmates seemed to adopt his persona, it was a four-man ‘we know what we are doing’ experience.
To this end, there was no connection with the audience. Marius just didn’t seem the type. There were a couple of greetings along the way but on a whole, this was a straight through the show. The set started with Take Me Back. It’s mystical intro made sense of course.
As we were so damn close, the absence of affection towards the audience was of no consequence. However, for me, it was noticeable. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. The audience was of course primarily twenty to thirty in age group, but a good full quarter of the crowd looked age forty to sixty. That was easily attributable to the 80’s sound Roosevelt became identifiable for. To get an 80’s new wave dance sound without the tinny drum machines is something any 80’s fan will come out of hiding and admit they love.
The sound was spot on. Close your eyes and the sincerity of the lyrics jump to life and your feet begin to tap. Open your eyes, I should have been excited and impressed. I was so close I could see the bands earbuds which were used instead of stage monitors. Backing tracks ensured the sound was full, but it was minimal cheating if you want to think of it that way.
The audience had room to dance in place with the club half full. Most of the tunes were from the Young Romance.
Here’s the setlist:
- Take Me Back
- Yr Love
- Colours (Long Outro)
- Under the Sun
- Losing Touch
- Moving On
- Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac cover) (Encore)
- Night Moves (Encore)
Roosevelt is a band that is heavy duty in my playlist. The music is indispensable for my city skates in the spring and summer. The catchy dance tunes Marius produces are repeat play worthy for years. However, I don’t see myself feeling the need to see another Roosevelt concert, even if I was front stage. It was fun, but more to the level of going out to see a movie and quietly going home after, not something I found myself reminiscing later.
Was it the venue? Was it the band’s lack of audience interaction? Those things had some level of influence, but in the end, for such an amazing band, and the dead on perfect sound all night, it was just not a memorable experience. That is hard to say because the music itself was fantastic.