FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Nearly half an hour had passed since the opening band left the stage, and the crowd at Northern Virginia’s State Theatre was getting restless.
Still, the night belonged to Rooney, the five-piece rock group from Los Angeles. As soon as Rooney took the stage, the crowd erupted into life. Lead singer Rob Schwartzman plucked a fan-made flag out of the front row and marched it across the stage before jumping into their first song, “Not in My House,” to the massive excitement of the fans.
“This is a new one, but I guess they’re all new to you guys,” Scott Westfall, Cobra Collective’s lead singer joked goodheartedly at one point.
“I know what you’re after / I know why you came here,” Schwartzman sang with a devilish grin. He pointed emphatically at the stage, claiming it with the line, “This land is my land, this land ain’t your land / You had it all wrong, start singing a new song.”
The band is touring in support of its new album, Eureka, which was released earlier this June. Other bands on the road with Rooney include Hanson, The Young Veins and Black Gold.
“Stars and Stripes” was one of early high points of the night. The song’s rebellious political undertones paired well with the venue’s proximity to DC. The song also highlighted each member of the band extensively; Louie Stephens (keyboards, synthesizer, vocals), Brandon Schwartzel (bass), Ned Brower (drums, vocals) and Taylor Locke (guitar, vocals) got their turn under a literal spotlight as they each played a solo on their respective instruments.
Another crowd-winner was Rooney’s cover of Neil Young’s “Rocking in the Free World.” Brower took lead vocals, something he had done earlier in the night with “Wild One,” while Schwartzman took a temporary back seat on the drums. Locke’s skill particularly shined during the song as he played several very intense guitar solos, breaking out of the more reserved act he’d had through most of the show.
The band had the audience shouting along to the lyrics of older songs like “If It Were Up to Me” and jamming to “Daisy Duke” and “I Should’ve Been After You.” Rooney also rocked its newest single, “I Can’t Get Enough,” which was recently voted into VH1’s Top 20. The group’s infectious energy carried the audience through the nearly hour-long set, powering through song after song without faltering in charisma or skill.
That being said, the audience seemed to run out of energy before Rooney did. After joking with the crowd about leaving several times throughout the night, the group finally did leave before coming back onstage to play an encore. The crowd found its last reserves and joined in as Rooney played a mind-blowing rendition of “I’m Shakin’.”
Local Washington, D.C. powerhouse Cobra Collective opened the night with a dynamic set filled with captivating hooks and high-powered rock energy, though the band was met with a largely impassive audience.