E. RUTHERFORD, NJ—Refreshingly eclectic Cali-pop quintet, Rooney, served up a rewarding half-hour set for the screeching girlie masses flocking the Meadowlands-based Izod Center on this cool March evening. Supporting ’07’s stimulating sophomore set, Calling The World, these courteous Beatles enthusiasts kept the estrogen-loaded Jonas Brothers crowd happily entertained in anticipation of their Jersey-based Disney-endorsed teen-based pin-up idols.
Leader Robert Schwartzman made sure the fawning minions stayed enraptured, singing captivatingly multifarious fare after entering the stage wearing dark sunglasses and a tan derby. He got the audience involved in sing-along chants, arm-waving sways and hand-clapped cadences, even doing a Chuck Berry- derived duck walk at one point. After crooning mellifluent universal anthem “Calling The World,” he removed his glasses, waved a brown bear-regaled band banner, went into anxiously upbeat serenade “Paralyzed,” and thereafter, in a candid moment of self-gratifying prosperity, grasped the mike in one hand while filming the sold-out assemblage with the other.
Rooney’s spirited harmonic interplay served them well. Clearly, many female patrons were familiar with their material, joining in on big balladic bauble “Are You Afraid” as well as dependable call and response arena rocker “If It Were Up To Me.” Curly longhaired heartthrob guitarist Taylor Locke exhibited a confident swagger; unshaven bassist Matthew Winter sported a faux-hangover grimace; Louie Stevens kept his head hung low while manipulating manifold keyboards, and limber drummer Ned Brower proved to be the stabilizing force.
Sustaining a scruffier sex appeal than their charmingly sleek headliners, Rooney deserve frontline status and should benefit from the enormous exposure they’ve received. They made great primers for Bergen County’s own Jonas clan, who are, quite simply, poised for Mickey Mouse-backed Miley Cyrus-approved world domination.