Sh-Sh-Shakin’ it at the House of Blues in Chicago this past week were fans grooving to the sounds of Rooney with guests Tally Hall and Crash Kings. This indie rock performance swept the fans off their feet for those who were there. The weather may have proven to be a factor in the lack of crowd, but that didn’t stop any of the bands from doing what they love and they put on a good show. Don’t let these bands fool you with their short list of record releases because what they throw at you is musically talented.
I can’t say I have ever heard of the first acts, Crash Kings & Tally Hall, but I can say this won’t be the last time I will be listening to them. Not only do they have great energy and awesome stage presence, but their music is just mind blowingly different from what’s out there right now. Crash Kings was first to grace our presence and their sound is just so much different from what I normally listen to, but I like it and wanted more. Think progressive rock, with big beats, fast sound, and a giant whammy bar on a keyboard. With vocalist/keyboard artist Tony Beliveau at the helm, expect great things from this band in the future.
If you’ve watched The O.C. back in the day, you may have heard Tally Hall in a few episodes (I knew I heard one of the songs performed from somewhere). They have this strangely unique but familiar sound that you could relate to and can’t help but to enjoy it. I can’t really explain it, but you have to listen to it yourself to understand what I am saying. Their lyrical prowess and fast tempo rock crushes radio pop/rock that draws you in with their charm and mixture of many musical influences. None of their songs are exactly the same sound, but can all be brought together in a great collaborative experience that is Tally Hall.
One fact boggles my mind before headliners, Rooney, hit the stage. Before they hit the stage, a word from sponsors or some marketing team decided to drop a nice advertisement on the curtains that got the crowd riled up with laughter of the whole ordeal. I’ve never seen an ad just dropped down in front of a stage before a performance, but hey, there are always firsts for everything.
But I digress……
Rooney hit the stage with the crowd at high anticipation for the headliners. Waving the Rooney Flag, lead vocalist/guitar, Robert Schwartzman came on with his posse as the crowd got louder and louder. This was an all ages show as fans from little teens to an older crowd could be seen. I wouldn’t say that they are a band for a specific age, but I was surprised to see a few older people there; most likely in their late 30s.
Being the “Wild One” tour, they played there songs from their new EP album, “Wild One,” that was only available to purchase on tour. Their new songs are pretty good with more of a mature sound and a little bit edgier. Robert’s voice is brilliant and easy on the ears throughout the show, which follows by a great back up from his band mates. This is only their third release since their first self titled album release in 2003 and their sophomore album, “Calling The World” in 2007.
Now Rooney isn’t the most fast paced, in your face, rock n’ roll that is loud and can fire up a roaring crowd, but they do not fail to please. They have a wide array of songs from mellow to very up beat songs that are well put together. This California native band have great sound and you can hear the multiple influences that create their sound; from The Beatles to The Beach Boys, Rooney has a great mixture of talent that produces their own identity.
I can’t say they have a lot of energy compared to some bands out there who go all out on stage, but they do show you a good time. Bassist Matt Winter had the most serious face throughout the show and maybe cracked a smile once. When I go to shows I do like to see bands having fun and pumping up the crowd, but Matt may have had his game face on high that night. I’m sure he loves what he does and his fans, but he sure had no sign of emotion. The guitarist, Taylor Locke, shredded his solos and plays a pretty mean guitar. Taylor really throws down and is one of the better guitarists I have heard in quite a while at a live show.
For an interesting twist of events, although I’ve never been to a Rooney show, drummer Ned Brower took the mic and performed a Niel Young cover of “Rockin’ In the Free World” as Robert took the drums. It was a good cover, but unfortunately it didn’t seem as though some of the younger audience could follow along and knew the song as well. Robert and Ned switched back to their respected positions and continued the show with a song that they haven’t played live in a while, “Popstars,” which many of the fans were happy to hear.
They closed with the crowd very hyped up at the end with people dancing in the HOB. They played more of their familiar songs “I’m Shakin” and “When Did Your Heart Go Missing” to get bring the crowd to their knees as you could tell these songs were fan favorites. As the band left, the crowd wanted more and more they received. Rooney came back on stage, as most bands would, for an encore of not one but two songs.
Rooney is a great live band that anyone could enjoy to see. You can tell that they love what they do especially love their fans with offering a free meet and greet with a purchase of any of their CDs. You can’t say many bands really give you that chance. They are really nice guys and really appreciate the fan support that they saw. Aside from a mellow song here and there that changed the tempo of the show, the energy was great and Rooney really delivered an awesome performance. The weather may have been a factor that night for the show not to be sold out, but that didn’t stop these guys from what they loved and aimed to please. I do wish that they could have had more releases for how long they have been a band for, but with what they got, they bring their “A” game to the show. With their new EP release, “Wild One,” don’t expect Rooney to go anywhere and keep the spirit of California rock alive. Check them out on their official website at rooney-band.com