If your musical tastes include Donna Summer, Jamiroquai, Robin Schulz, and FM-84, a sun-soaked synthesis of the four would be Roosevelt. And no, not Teddy or Franklin: Roosevelt is the stage name of Marius Lauber, a German artist, producer, DJ and vocalist. Hot off the (digital) press is his fourth album, “Polydans,” and he was in town with his band to kick off the North American leg of their worldwide tour, headlining at 9:30 Club on Sunday.
Originally a drummer, Lauber first appeared in 2008 alongside Tim Gerke, Joshua Gottmanns and Moritz Lipper as part of shoegaze band Beat!Beat!Beat! Lauber struck out on his own, as Roosevelt, with his inaugural eponymous album in 2016. By early 2017 he was headlining shows in Germany and across Europe. His style is a bright, electronic take on disco paired with melodic vocals, eschewing the disco-inspired lyrics of escapist love in favor of deeper narrative.
But if you’re expecting bell bottoms, mirror balls and Elvis sunglasses, don’t be fooled — Roosevelt and the group are not ones for over-the-top outfits or flashy sets. Clad in simple t-shirts and washed chinos, Roosevelt gives off that early 2000s garage band vibe in the best way. And like their open mic night-aesthetic, the stage set-up is quite simple: a series of bright colored panels, reminiscent of elementary school picture-day backgrounds, and a handful of lights in primary colors.
But when the music starts, their sound is anything but amateur. Sunny and upbeat, Roosevelt’s youthful appearance and on-stage energy — complete with on-the-fly instrument changes, with Lauber himself playing keyboards, percussion, electric guitar and tambourine — make for a danceable, high-key performance that could go all night. At their set at 9:30 Club, the group relied on bright tones, airy reverb and glittery electronica as they played through some of their newest tracks on “Polydans,” pairing shimmery electronica with twangy bass.
Fans of their back catalog didn’t come away disappointed, either, as they brought the house down with time-tested favorites like “Night Moves” and “Montreal.” Although a technical issue snarled the flow of the concert, the group seemed unfazed and took it in good spirits. It wasn’t long before the lights came back on, and we were back to enjoying the dazzling lights of glo-fi heaven. Keep your eye on Roosevelt — the group isn’t going anywhere but up, and I suspect we’ll be groovin to their tracks for years to come.
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