Roommate, The Cure, Burlington

Roommate Covers The Cure LIVE Burlington Chicago 11/8/2014

By Kirstin Osgood
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Chicagoans may recall a series at the renowned Whistler bar a few years back called “Playing Favorites.” In 2012, Chicago’s Kent Lambert signed up his band, Roommate, to perform music from the Cure as a part of this series. And what would you do after learning an entire repertoire of another band’s music for a one-night-only performance? Lambert’s answer: book an annual gig playing those very songs.

Last Saturday, Roommate played their third Cure Covers show, this time at the Burlington Bar in Logan Square. They performed two sets spanning eight of the Cure’s 13 albums. They selected songs from Missing Boys to Disintegration and everything in between. Most arrangements were straightforward replications with only slight, necessary variations.  The band is comprised of Kent Lambert (lead vocals/synths/electronics), Sam Wagster (guitar/vocals), Gillian Lisée (vocals/ bass), Seth Vanek (drummer), and making a guest appearance, Luther Rochester, former member (vibes/snyths/vocals). They played an enchanting 19-song set plus an encore from behind a collection of twisted stick arrangements eerily illuminated by blue lights. One stick formation, placed on stage next to the drummer, looked rather like a prop out of the Blair Witch Project. Brilliant!

Most everyone took turns on vocals, although Lambert and Lisée sang the majority of songs. Their set list was a dream for Cure fans and was more engaging than any I’ve heard at an actual Cure concert as of late. Of course, Roommate is under no obligation to promote new material or pacify the crowd with overplayed hits as the Cure would be. The evening’s highlights included seeing the band switch-up instruments and vocals, the lovely harmonies on “A Night Like This” and hearing other deeper catalogs songs: “the Walk,” “Plain Song” and “10:15 Saturday Night.”

It is not a stretch for Roommate to be skillfully executing Cure songs as their original music is keyboard-heavy and Lambert’s style is reflective, weighted, and often epic.

Look for their Cure show sometime in 2015. Although, someone from the audience shouted a proposal for a quarterly Cure cover performance which was met with humor by Lambert who chortled that the crowd should also turn in all expense reports to him by end of week.  It was a night of good people, talent and fabulous songs. I’m putting in my vote for adding Charlotte Sometimes to the next set list. It might be challenging to replicate but from what I saw last weekend, Roommate can pull it off. For more information on Roommate visit www.roommatemusic.com.

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