Celebrating the release of its new EP El Cortez earlier that day, Los Angeles power pop band Rooney brought a party atmosphere to a sold-out show at the Independent Friday night.
Frontman Robert Schwartzman and his band kicked off the show with “Blueside,” off 2007’s Calling the World before veering throughout the group’s four full-length albums and the new songs like “Second Chances” and “Day 2 Day,” the latter of which was performed with David Pack of 1970s band Ambrosia, who sang along and played acoustic guitar. Schwartzman said Pack wrote the song with the band and true to Pack’s style, the song was a sort of easy-listening ballad. Rooney also played Pack’s “How Much I Feel” in the same vein, with Pack handling lead vocals.
That wasn’t the only collaboration on this night. Rooney also brought out Jennifer Rim of opening band Run River North to sing on “Why,” one of the show’s early highlights.
Run River North‘s opening set was met with nearly the same level of enthusiasm as the headliners — there were few late-comers on this night. The L.A. sextet’s set shifted among various genres. The first 10 minutes went from The Head and the Heart-esque folk to Coldplay-like pop before settling on prog rock.
The band didn’t save their best-known song, “Run Or Hide,” for the end. When it came third in the set, the crowd went wild. Singer-guitarist Alex Hwang was in a jovial mood. “If there are people here who have no idea who were are, my name is Steve Aoki,” he joked at one point. Another time he introduced himself as Korean Jesus.
The 31-year-old introduced the song “29” as being about the great unknown of what comes after turning 30. He spoke about how when the song was written, he had not yet been married, Trump was not yet president and his mother had not yet gotten cancer. Attendees hooted in approval when he said she had recently beaten it. The last third of Run River North’s set was heavy on blues rock, including rocker “Superstition,” during which Rim hopped from the stage to dance with fans.
— Roman Gokhman