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all photos: Nick Balleza
all words: Robb Scott

There comes a time in every music lover’s life when they get the opportunity to meet their idols. Now I’m not saying they’re my idols, but they are pretty high up on my list of favorite bands. In promotion for their third studio album, Eureka, Rooney made a stop in our fair city to play Rock-n-Roll Hotel—(shameless plug, though warranted, check out my interview with the guys before the took the stage).

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Opening first for the guys, was Chapel Hill, NC natives The Old Ceremony. There isn’t much to say about them—they came off pretty lame; just another folk band with obvious rock/blues influences. I opted instead for a bit of drunk-spelling bee spectating at the upper-level bar.

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Next up, Eisley—a five piece rock band from Tyler, TX who invoked comparisons to The Donnas, Paramore, and Tegan and Sara. Their version of moody rock works perfectly with the predominantly female ensemble’s vocals. For openers, they provided a decent set; they brought a change of pace from the slower-paced The Old Ceremony.

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The chemistry within the group is quite obvious, beyond the expected cohesion one would expect from a family band. I’m slightly disappointed in myself for not making my way back upstairs to meet-and-greet with them.

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Ten o’clock couldn’t have come quick enough—I’ve loved Rooney since the days of middle-school angst, so seeing them literally 5 feet away from me was like a dream come true. Looking around, I couldn’t help but notice the ages of everyone—soccer moms, teeny-boppers, burly bouncers, collegiate hipsters; who doesn’t love diversity?

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Throughout their set, the guys bounced around their three albums, offering up slightly variant versions of all of the songs. Though, I’d wish they’d at least teased a bit of their post-sophomore album EP, Wild One, I was thoroughly pleased with what was presented. Rock-n-Roll Hotel was a most appropriate venue for the type of band that Rooney is, and for the types of fans they draw in.

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From “I Can’t Get Enough” to “Paralyzed” to “That Girl Has Love”, Rooney made it nearly impossible not to jump around and shout, not sing, the words along with them. Frontman Robert Schwartzman played the part well of heartthrob, playing into the front-row of adoring, screaming, teenage girls—at one point even bowing into the crowd to be fawned over by said fans.

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At one point, the guys got mighty comfortable (guitarist Taylor Locke took his place seated upon a sub), and slowed down the pace, transforming the crowded venue into a NOLA blues joint during “Stars and Stripes.”

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For those who have followed the band over the past decade, their growth is quite evident—yet they certainly did retain that same youthful energy from their first album. They were able to still deliver the poppy tunes like “I Should Have Been After You” and “Shakin'” without them sound immature against tracks like “Not In My House” and”Don’t Look At Me.”

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Thank You Rooney for making my life complete for those 90minutes of pure euphoria.

Setlist:
Stay Away
I Can’t Get Enough
Blueside
Don’t Look At Me
Sorry Sorry
All or Nothing
Don’t Come Around Again
Paralyzed
Shakin’
Stars and Stripes
Only Friend
I Should Have Been After You
That Girl Has Love
Heart
Not In My House (encore)

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