Proud of its ability to work four decades of rock accents into its L.A.-bred vision of rock ‘n’ roll, Rooney concluded its tour for its debut disc on Sunday with an authoritative bang. Concert was peppered with songs penned for the sophomore disc and most bore the stamp of ’70s hard rockers, riff-oriented bands such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Humble Pie, a bit of a shock considering Rooney’s well-exposed admiration of the Ramones, ’80s new wavers and icons of the ’60s.
Entire show, actually, had a far harder flavor than that of the band’s debut. “Popstars,” “Daisy Duke” and “Sorry Sorry” received amped-up renditions that stripped the music of its charms in the name of force; “If It Were Up to Me” was about the only tune that retained the flavor of its recording.
This is a young band that sings about having fun without remorse. Lyrics can lean toward the juvenile, but Rooney has connected with a young, mostly screaming female, audience. Sold-out show belied how popular it has become since the album’s release in May 2003.
Having just finished Jacob Slichter’s enlightening if one-sided book about the cost, effort, frustration and thrill of making it as a musician, “So You Want to be a Rock & Roll Star” (Broadway), one can’t help wonder if Rooney isn’t charging down the same path as Slichter’s band Semisonic. Rooney’s debut has been well received in many quarters; band has opened shows for a range of acts and participated in dozens of promotional activities. Yet its album has never cracked the top 100 and airplay has been limited. The second record better be a winner.