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Rooney At The Satellite, Friday October 7th 2016 Reviewed

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Rooney’s Robert Schwartman

Rooney announced a free and secret show at the Satellite on Friday night (and by secret I mean announced at the last minute on social media) and although I knew very little about the LA band which formed in 1999, beside the fact that it was fronted by Robert Schwartzman of Francis Ford Coppola fame, I decided to check them out. To finish up with the family history, Robert is Jason’s little brother, Coppola’s nephew and Sofia and Roman Coppola’s cousin, and if this could appear like an impressive and intimidating pedigree, he looked very down to earth, paying close attention to the crowd.

After the very young Alec Benjamin, who sang his hooky pop songs with the most juvenile and sincere voice – he did an impressive rendition of Dido’s ‘Stan’ playing Dido and Eminem parts with the same conviction – followed by the catchy tunes of Mating Ritual, an indie pop band inspired by post punk and new wave with a few interesting earworms – and I actually have to listen to them or see them again as they were a really good surprise – Robert Schwartzman and his band came on stage under a very dim light. However, he didn’t seem to be annoyed a bit by this girl who was standing under the mic and was repeatedly flashing photos at a few inches of his face.

Schwartzman is a nice guy who writes pop songs with hooky choruses that people (mostly girls) want to sing along. A song like ‘Blueside’ has this very indie California sound, almost sad Weezer meets Jon Brion meets the Beach Boys meets ELO, with Beatles-que harmonies, it sure is very catchy and all the people around me knew about it. Not all the songs were that good of course, not everything was memorable, but their self-titled 2003 album – and they played a few from this one— is filled with these undeniable velcro-tunes that Schwartzman delivered with fervor and conviction, an occasional emotive and poignant croon, standing at the edge of the stage, with his mouth glued to the mic, while cheerful guitars and power-pop nostalgia were triggering joyous sing-alongs from the audience. Played live, these songs were entertaining and even cute, as cute as their frontman making solid head bangs, whereas some of them were bouncy dance floors, sounding like alternative versions of bigger and more successful bands’ hits, a bit like some Strokes covers by a boy band.

But what do I know? These screaming girls who pierced my right eardrum with their long shrieks may know better than I do, Rooney may not be huge by any means but their fans are quite dedicated, occasionally pushing me to get closer, and enjoying the fun night. A song on the TV series the O.C. (‘I’m Shakin’) probably helped more than a little bit, but it was already a long time ago, and the audience are not teens anymore, so this show was about nostalgia after all, millennials’ nostalgia for the early 00’s if this is already possible. Ha the joy to feel 14 or 15 year-old again, my own teens may go back way before Rooney existed, but I am talking about all these young women around me, who couldn’t detach their eyes from Schwartzman and his causal but sexy denim-boots look. Sometimes you want life to look like Rooney’s last album cover, filled with palm trees, yellow corvettes and blue guitars, sometimes you want to feel 15 again and spend an hour with the nicest frontman around.

But I was almost forgetting the main part, Rooney has released a new album ‘Washed Away’ a few months ago after many years of silence, so the show at the Satellite was kicking a US tour to promote this new release, as they are gonna hit the road for a few months and end their tour in San Francisco in December. Catch them if you feel nostalgic.

Setlist
Intro
Blueside
If It Were Up to Me
I Can’t Get Enough
Are You Around
Washed away
Why
Love me or Leave me
Simply because
I Should’ve Been After You
Come on Baby
My heart beats for you
I’m Shakin’
H?

More pictures here.

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