Show Reviews

Show Review: Elliot Root Brings Soul to Schubas

A show review of the Nashville-based alternative soul and R&B band Elliot Root at Schubas Tavern in Chicago.


Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to see Elliot Root perform at Schubas Tavern – a performance venue and bar in Lakeview. I had discovered Elliot Root months ago on Spotify – the streaming service that I always praise. Spotify has continued to do a great job at giving me new artists to listen to and really is a phenomenal tool that continues to find me new music that matches my tastes.

Despite the band name, nobody in the band is actually named Elliot Root (but it does have a nice ring to it). The members, Scott Krueger, Sean Truskowski, Todd Bond and Melissa Mattey have been on the scene since 2011, and have continued to their mark on the extremely competitive Nashville music scene, racking up over 10 millions streams on Spotify alone. Their poetic lyrics and soulful sound have garnered the band slots as opening acts for the likes of Zac Brown Band, Neon Trees and X Ambassadors (to name a few).

Elliot Root produces their music independently but work under Thirty Tigers, a Nashville-based entertainment company that provides marketing, distribution and management services. The company also works with bands like The Avett Brothers, St. Pau & The Broken Bones and many more.

After the August 2017 release of their debut album, Conjure, the band was excited to gear up for a series of headlining shows to support the album, one that is emotionally driven and “soulful” while “infused with an R&B edge.” Fans of John Mayer, Hozier and James Bay would admire the band’s clean, cohesive and intricate sound with complicated, layered production choices that gives the band the ability to create a dream-like effect to their overall alternative rock, R&B vibe that’s evident from start to finish in the album.

The intricacy of the songs off of Conjure, 13 self-written tracks, came across in the live performance – performing an impressive 15-song set, featuring songs off of Conjure as well as their two previous EPs that were both released in 2015.

Members of the band grew up in the Midwest – Kenosha, Wisconsin, to be exact. The band noted at the show that performing in Chicago felt like a homecoming of sorts, which was really special to see. Despite the venue being on the smaller end (the capacity is 165), I could feel the band’s touring and performing experience shine through the small feel of the crowd: it’s a hard balance to maintain an intimate performance style while still give off a powerful, confident vibe that can emulate to the crowd. I would assume that Elliot Root is ready to perform at bigger venues and to larger crowds, and I hope that’s something we can see from them in the future.

From an interview with Clture:

“For people who have never heard of us before, they can expect a band that really wants to support what we did with our record and high-energy live shows,” Krueger said. “We’re a band that believes our music is very true and honest to ourselves, and we hope to communicate that to the audience.”

My favorite moments from the show included their performances of “Lost Man Running” and “Wicked Lies” – a song that I think does a great job encapsulating their sound completely. Since I did discover them while only their EPs were released, I particularly gravitated towards the live performances of “Punks and Poets” and “June, After Dark” which is probably my favorite song by theirs. I discovered that song at a very specific time in my life and found it to be a track I have continued to revisit at different stages in my life but it has always transported me back to the first time I discovered it. I think songs like that are very special and I loved being able to hear it live.

I have mentioned in previous posts that I have attended shows at Schubas where the performance barely sold 30 tickets and I’ve been to shows where the performance was sold out. While I am unsure if this show was sold out, I was truly impressed with the turnout and felt like the majority of the fans in the audience were very much dedicated to the music. In my experience, shows that take place at bars tend to draw in more casual fans who don’t mind having long-winded conversations while the musicians perform – which can get annoying. I felt as though this was not happening nearly as much at this show, which was a nice change of pace.

Elliot Root has a few more shows on their current Conjure Tour:

Click here to follow the band on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

If you’re interested in reading more of my show reviews, click here.

What’s next on my concert calendar:

March 1 – Gabrielle Aplin
March 9 – Declan Mckenna
March 27 – Lorde
March 30 – Wolf Alice
March 31 – Billie Eilish

– Kristin


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