The inside of UT Connewitz before the concert Saturday night. Photo by A. Ribeiro.

A spontaneous night out in Connewitz


Last Saturday was one of those days spent mostly in my pajamas, wasting time doing absolutely nothing, feeling guilty I wasn’t catching the little bit of sunshine we were being graced with as those moments become rarer moving into wintertime. I had the feeling that laziness would win out in my internal struggle, that it would render me unable to drag myself out of the house even in the evening, despite the array of interesting events going on right at my doorstep.

You see, I live near alternative nightlife hotspot Connewitz, where even wonderful semi-random encounters with famous musicians have been known to happen. But for some reason I often insist I should travel across Leipzig to have fun, the thought of which often compounds my laziness and makes me do uninspiring, repetitive things such as ending up at the same city center dives or settling for a B-rated Netflix movie under my covers.

Roosevelt at UT Connewitz, Dec. 5, 2015. Photo by A. Ribeiro.

Fortunately, this time I spontaneously decided, as in half an hour before the birthday concert at UT Connewitz was supposed to start, that I would undertake the 10-minute walk and shell out the €14 (the life of a journalist without a press pass) to take a peek and have a listen at the bash and try to come up with an article about it for LeipGlo.

The inside of UT Connewitz prior to the concert Saturday night. Photo by A. Ribeiro.

It would be a chance to step out alone and learn to feel more comfortable doing that, and to *finally* get to know the historic Connewitz venue, whose nondescript facade makes it look even more striking on the inside as a contrast.

I made it on time, but since the 8 p.m. start was pushed back, I went to hang out at Goldfish across the street for a bit and do some freehand writing, while guzzling virgin beers as if they were water. (I liked the low-light, cozy, somewhat grungy atmosphere there, so I can see myself going back with my notebook.)

A little after 9 p.m., I returned to UT Connewitz, just as the first act of the night, solo performer Lùisa (electro-folk singer currently touring Germany), was about to start.

Yes, Lùisa has a remarkable voice (one that reminds me of Nico), and her mellowness and soulfulness  on stage were nice for a couple songs – but very soon I was restless since I didn’t have a buddy next to me to talk to, didn’t want to drink at all, and wanted to dance.

Just as I was about to leave the venue to hop over to nearby Werk 2, where a “dance-til-dawn” party was taking place, the second act took the stage. Their name was Roosevelt: With their command of live instruments, synthesizers and an Apple laptop, as well as evident knowledge of what familiar-sounding electro-pop loops can really hook an audience, they managed to get pretty much everyone at UT Connewitz dancing, or at least jumping or swaying, for their entire performance Saturday night.

Listening to Roosevelt go through their set, drinking up their beats and loops and the atmosphere, I thought of hits I very much enjoy by Daft Punk, The Temper Trap and 2000s Depeche Mode, and also specifically the Alex Adair remix of Jessie Ware’s “Say You Love Me,” which I obsessively listened to for a few days after a dear friend showed it to me.

The Roosevelt guys have the DJ remix conveniently already built into their songs, and the intoxicating light configuration to go with it on stage – bouts of yellow, red, blue went well with the slightly ancient-amphitheatre-like background of UT Connewitz…

Here’s what The Guardian had to say about Roosevelt when it featured them (or at least their frontman) as “New band of the week” in 2013: “If we decided to spin an annual awards ceremony out of this column – and if we did we’d call it the Newbies – then today’s act would be a hot contender for the gong for Best EP By a German Who Sounds Like a Displaced Los Angelino… Roosevelt makes dance music for people who don’t dance because they’re too depressed. It’s commercial but it cuts deep, like New Order in Ibiza.”

Not sure when Roosevelt will come this way again, but I’d definitely keep an eye out. In the meantime, you can check out their live performance in Prague, also in 2013…

I did make it to Werk 2 after all, when Roosevelt had finished. But only for a quick bratwurst, because I didn’t want to stand in line trying to get into the club. Besides, my Connewitz experience had sufficed already for that night. I got back into my pajamas and under the covers with a sense of mission accomplished – on any night out, there’s very little I can hope for more than discovering a “new” band I like.

A Global Studies doctoral degree holder and former newspaper reporter, avid eater, pseudo-philosopher and poet, occasion-propelled singer, semi-professional socializer, movie addict, Brazilian-American nomad. In this space, she will share some of her experiences and (mis)adventures regarding various topics, with special attention to social issues.

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