In the city where acid house was formed, a proponent of its younger Balearic brother took to the stage. Roosevelt’s self-titled debut album never quite captured the magic of his first EP Elliot, nevertheless, I was still intrigued to see how the German performer was going to transfer his productions into a live setting. The result was a positive one. Marius Lauber is already an established DJ throughout Europe and he was able to use his thorough knowledge of production software and naturally gifted vocal range, coupled with his eerily tight rhythm section, to create a night of catchy pop hooks and vibrant instrumentals.
Playing to a packed crowd in the city’s trendy Northern Quarter, Roosevelt’s amassed a following made up of fans that have migrated from alternative corners of the musical landscape. This was reflected in the assortment of stances seen in the audience. Certain people were choosing to stand face on to the band, whereas others were dancing in groups, sometimes not even looking at the stage; as if it were a club night. It was a peculiar environment but one that felt natural.
Northern crowds tend to have less inhibitions than their southern counterparts when it comes to gigs and this proved to be the case on Sunday night. “The last time I played in Manchester was down the road from here to ten people,” he said in his usual humble way, as he gleamed out to a floor that was becoming reminiscent of 1980s Chicago. ‘Wait Up’ is a track with a particular nod back to the heydey of disco, whilst ‘Night Moves’ carries similar aspects only with a more funky exterior. The same can be said for ‘Hold on’ with its delicious guitar riff. ‘Colours’, meanwhile, gains one of the biggest reactions of the night and it’s no surprise considering it could have been taken off the recent New Order record or any former factory release, for that matter.
Drenching rich synth soundscapes with upbeat chords and beautiful melodies , Roosevelt has mastered the tropical pop genre both live and on record. At his best he sounds like an amalgamation of Hot Chip in bed with Washed Out, and although he may sometimes slightly venture towards the dreaded EDM territory, he’s doesn’t linger for too long – ‘Fever’ being a prime example of this. The revellers were even treated to a cover of the Womack & Womack classic ‘Teardrops’ for the encore, in which the (up until that point) muted bass player got involved with some magnificent falsetto harmonies. It was a fitting end to the sun-drenched party which juxtaposed itself against the soaked cobbled streets outside. The weekend had ended, but at least the end was fun.