Rooney is back with their latest EP El Cortez which is a pleasant mix of new lyrics with hints at retro sounds. My theory is this, Robert Schwartzman is an 80’s kid through and through. Learning from the greatest like Hall and Oates, Chicago and Ambrosia, t name some contemporary songwriters of the past. Fans will agree that every album the band has dropped has hints of 80’s synthesizers, beats and groove and El Cortez is no exception.

The band just warped a 37 city tour that kicked off in Kansas City, Missouri and ended last week in San Diego, California. I was fortunate enough to attend their stop at the House of Blues in Anaheim last Sunday (June 30th). where they played with Run River North.

As the opening band, Run River North was fantastic. Going from a slow tempo melody and building to some sick fast paced beats. Lead singer Alex Hwang interacted with the crowd, getting everyone pumped up for Rooney. At one point he left the stage to perform in the middle of the crowd to a roaring cheer from everyone.

By the time Rooney took the stag the crowd was pumped and ready to rock out to some old and new tunes. Having spoken to some of the attendees prior to the show i learned that the crowd was a mix of old time fans (from the early 2003’s) to new fans who had not really heard much of their music. New fans would be introduced to the newest incarnation of the California Rock band wile older fans would get a chance to see the new members at work. Boaz Robets (lead guitar), Sean Sobash (bass), Maxwell Flanders (drums) and Matthew Jordan (keys) did a stellar job in winning over the crowd as they showcased their talents and love for the music. Each member had their moment to shine and steal the spotlight from front-man, Robert Schwartzman as the band transitioned seamlessly between songs.

Some of the songs included in the set list where fan favorites like “Blue Side,” “Stay Away,” “If It Where Up to Me,” “I’m A Terrible Person,” “Popstars,” “Daisy Duke” and “I’m Shaking” from the self titled debut album. They also performed “When Did Your Heart Go Missing” from Calling the World, “My Heart Beats For You” and “Why” with assist from Run River North’s Jennifer (from the Washed Away album released last year. Of course, having just released the EP El Cortez a few days prior, Rooney also played a few of those songs including the first single “Second Chances” and “Day 2 Day” (whose album version contains an assist in vocals by Ambrosia’s David Pack). One of the highlights for the “old school” fans was having the band do a cover of “West Coast” from Coconut Records, whose singer just happens to be Robert’s older brother, Jason Schwartzman.

In an industry that’s currently obsessed with teen heartthrobs, studio artists and social media/reality celebrities that have zero originality, it is a welcome breath of clean air to have bands like Rooney to get back to the root of rock and roll. Schwartzman doesn’t go with the flow and puts out music just for the sake of being on the top 40 radio sequence, rather, he writes from the heart and sticks to his guns on what he wants the band’s sound to be and portray. Rooney might have been on hiatus but this EP and tour proves they have what it takes to be here for the long haul. Not only that, but Robert is also branching out to films as he has put Dreamland under his belt and also wrapped production on The Unicorn. In between that he managed to drop a solo album, Double Capricorn and produce the score for Palo Alto.

Hopefully, he continues to write more music for Rooney also we have more opportunities to catch the band perform live as every Rooney concert leaves you with a sense of giddiness, nostalgia and a huge smile on your face. Check out some photos and footage from the concert at the House of Blues below!

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Karen is a self proclaimed bookworm and entertainment junkie. Which is why you'll find her blogging about the current TV, film and music news.. that is if you can drag her away from nerding out over Marvel, book to film adaptations and current Pop culture events. Always at a concert, a premiere or geeking out at Comic Con she is a proud to call herself a Moonie and kid at heart and is the go to girl for anything an everything you want to know about on the site.