Rooney Stellar in Long Awaited Return to Boston

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It’s been over five years since Los Angeles power pop group Rooney made their way across the country to the east coast. In fact it’s been nearly five years since Rooney has toured at all. After touring for a couple years in support of their 2010 album “Eureka,” the band quietly dissolved as the members decided to take time to focus on other projects.


Now, in 2016, lead singer Robert Schwartzman has reformed the group, bringing on an entirely new lineup, and with it, a new album. “Rooney is my baby and I really love it and I miss it.  I came to a place where I felt creatively ready to make new Rooney music.  “On Washed Away, I wrote, produced, engineered, mixed and performed all of the songs which, I hope, will serve as a direct line from me to you.  I hope you enjoy it.” Schwartzman says about the new record.


With new music having just been released earlier this month, Schwartzman brought the new incarnation of Rooney to an old favorite venue for him, The Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA. Knowing full well it had been a while since fans had their last look at Rooney in a live setting, Schwartzman kept the setlist heavy on the classics, all total playing seven songs from the landmark self-titled debut album Rooney released in 2003.


A pair of those classic songs, “Blueside” and “I’m Shakin” were tracks immortalized in 2000’s pop culture, the latter of which being played in an episode of “The O.C.” and the former on the soundtrack of the movie “The Princess Diaries.” But the night wasn’t all nostalgia, as Schwartzman & co. would also display five tracks from the new album, including the wittily named “My Heart Beats 4 U” which is perhaps a titular nod to the late, great Prince.


While bantering with the crowd, Schwartzman noted how “Washed Away” was now streaming and that when Rooney last released new music there was no such thing streaming services. Evidence of how long fans of the band have been awaiting a new release.


Loyal Rooney supporters danced and swayed their way through the entire nearly 80 minute set, even dancing with the house lights turned completely off during “When Did Your Heart Go Missing?” during the encore. That same enthusiastic crowd prompted Rooney to return for a second encore even, as they finished the night going back to the first Rooney record for “I’m A Terrible Person” before Schwartzman headed out into the crowd to meet his fans.


The current lineup proved to be quite on their mark, especially taking into account they had only played a small handful of live shows together prior to Wednesday night. Where Rooney goes from here still remains to be seen, it’s unclear if Schwartzman plans to move ahead with Rooney full time in the long run, but for the Los Angeles rockers the near future is very bright.


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