Robert Schwartzman, the lead singer of the California rock band Rooney, casually walked by the line of fans waiting outside of Brighton Music Hall in Allston with his takeout food in hand on Friday night. He flashed a warm smile at the people in line, who were impatiently anticipating his second-to-last show on his “A Cosmic Interlude Tour.” Schwartzman then walked into the venue as his fans continued to process the spectacle that had just occurred. At that moment, the show had truly begun.
After waiting for an hour that felt like an eternity, the first opening act, Arms and Ears, took the stage. The band was entertaining, with an electric violinist up front. The crowd, however, was only anxious for Rooney to come on.
The second opening act, Mating Ritual, had a cool sound and was a very eclectic group. They were a great opener with a chill alternative vibe. It would have been sufficient to just have Mating Ritual open for Rooney rather than have two opening acts.
After a few funky and fun songs, Mating Ritual left the stage. As the lights dimmed, the members of Rooney casually took their positions and began playing with little fanfare. Even in the pitch darkness, Schwartzman was visible with his iconic flowing hair, skinny jeans and boots. The crowd roared as he began with a fan favorite, “Blueside,” from the 2003 album “Rooney.” The music was rapturous, the vibe of the venue intimate and the fans ravenous for more.
Rooney played an amazing selection of songs throughout the show, ranging from their early years to more recent releases. A few favorites of the evening included “Second Chances”, “I’m Shakin'” and “All the Beautiful People”. They even played a few songs that have yet to be released. One of these included a remake of the classic Hall & Oates song “Maneater” (1982). Schwartzman announced proudly that it would be released around Halloween — clearly not a coincidence given the subject of the song.
After a giddy haze of music and dancing, Rooney announced they would be performing their final song. The crowd let out some complaints, but they thought it would be the song that put them on the map, “Where Did Your Heart Go Missing?” for the finale. To everyone’s surprise, as Schwartzman began to strum his guitar, Rooney started playing a different song. The lights went black and Rooney left the stage once Schwartzman sung a final, beautiful note.
After a good 10 minutes, Rooney came back on stage. The crowd cheered and chanted for them to play their hit song, and they did an encore set of “Where Did Your Heart Go Missing?” along with a few others. It was the perfect way to cap off what was already an amazing concert.
After the concert had ended, fans crowded around the booth at the back of the venue trying to snag band merchandise while stocks lasted. On sale were surfer T-shirts in multiple designs — the band’s sound oozes California surfer vibes — buttons and albums. Then, Schwartzman appeared out of nowhere. He chatted with small groups of fans, took pictures and signed shirts and posters. Positive energy radiated off of Schwartzman as he wandered around the room introducing himself to everyone that he could.
Rooney clearly cares tremendously about their devoted fan base, so the band does what they can to show their appreciation in return. They went as close to the crowd as possible during the concert to jam and interacted with fans before and after concerts. These seemingly small acts on Rooney’s part were huge for everyone that attended the concert. It simply demonstrates what Rooney and their fan base are: a family.