Words by Molly Segers – Photos by Jon Whittaker (www.jonwhittakerphoto.com)
After a six year hiatus, a solo album, film scores, and directing a feature film (Dreamland), Robert Schwartzman has pulled Rooney out of hibernation and dusted off the cobwebs with new record Washed Away and tour that had them at The Loft Friday October 21.
While Rooney has always been Schwartzman’s brainchild, this seems to be especially true this time around, as it’s the first album and tour without longtime band mates Taylor Locke, Ned Brower, Matthew Winter, and Louis Stephens. Instead Washed Away has Schwartzman on guitar, bass, synth, piano, and engineering duties. Watching them perform, there was a stark contrast in the dynamic between Schwartzman and the other musicians compared to how he used to interact with his Rooney band mates. Once upon a time everyone onstage looked like they were having fun performing with friends and bandmates. Schwartzman barely interacted with the touring musicians who looked like just that, disinterested hired guns there to do a job.
The set did still have the summery, 60’s tinted pop that fans expect from Rooney, focusing on tracks from the new album and 2003’s self-titled debut more so than Calling the World and Eureka, which veer more into tinges of power pop and arena rock. This makes for a fun and lush set, but some more of those soaring moments would have been nice. We did get “Not in My House” from Eureka, who’s throbbing bass makes it seem more appropriate much larger than The Loft.
Along for the ride of this tour is the indie dance pop of Royal Teeth and soulful and anthemic Swimming with Bears.