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July 18, 2007

Rooney's CD Release Show feat. Coconut Records & Hello Stranger @ The Roxy 7/16/07

This blog will not only serve as a review of last night's Rooney CD release show, but also of a story of a 14 year old girl trapped inside a 20 year old's body who had the absolute time of her life last night. So apologies in advance if this seems like a journal entry intertwined with a show review. See, let me put this into perspective before I begin the review. I still remember the day I picked up Rooney's self titled CD at a little music store somewhere in Silverlake back in 2003. Scanning the used CD section (yes, I'm a cheap-o), I came upon Rooney's self titled album and my first thought was "I think this is Jason Schwartzman's little brother's band...." and before I go on, it's crucial for me to say this but I have had the biggest most disgusting school girl crush on Jason Schwartzman since I was 14 and he drummed in Phantom Planet and starred in various movies. Upon further inspection of the Rooney CD is was quite clear, it was Michael Moscovitz's band. And yes, I did just call Robert Schwartzman by the name Michael Moscotvitz, because you can ask most any girl my age to scan their tween years and Robert's character in the Princess Diaries movie was pretty much our dream boy for a long while. Yes, I realize by calling Robert that I am forever damned to Rooney hell. Moving on...

So when it was announced that Coconut Records (aka: Jason Schwartzman's music project) was opening for Rooney, I just about had the biggest freak out of all time and I knew that this would probably be the one show of the whole year that I would NOT want to miss in order to make that fangirl inside of me happy.


Thanks to my amazing friend Crystal who got in line to save us spots at 8:30 in the morning, I was guaranteed a spot front and center for the show (for the record, the next people did not show up to get in line until around noon). Let me tell you I am not exaggerating when I say I could hardly sleep the night before and was super antsy at work that day just waiting for this show. I had seen only part of a Rooney show before, as I had to leave about four songs into their set, so the anticipation of finally seeing the boys live was nerve wrecking - let alone the fact that Coconut Records was opening.


The first band to go on was a Los Angeles based band called Hello Stranger. Now, I usually do not write about openers unless they're well known or I really like them. I had not heard about Hello Stranger prior to last night and had no expectations of them. The second the curtains at the Roxy went up to reveal a five piece band led by a girl in cut off hide shorts, knee high string up boots, a shirt that read "genuine jugs" toped by an Indian inspired vest and top hat - I was sold. Did I mention she was rocking out on a keytar? Absolutely and totally sold. The music also, was amazing. I later learned that the lead singer was named Juliette, and let me tell you that her vocal ability reminded me so much of so many female powerhouse rock vocalists. There were times where I felt as if I was watching some kind of reincarnation of Janis Joplin (and I would really love to see Hello Stranger cover "Take Another Little Piece of My Heart" because I bet it would kick ass). The band sang a song in Spanish and told the audience it was a tradition for them to do so at each show. In between songs Juliette would drink out of her bottle of some sort of hard liquor which almost solidified her image as this bad ass hot rocker chick. They closed with a song about Juliette's 'favorite thing' - her boots. All I can say is that I cannot wait to check out this band some more and I'm so surprised it's taken me this long to hear about them.




When the curtains came down that's when the anxiousness hit. Coconut Records was next. My friend Amanda looked at me and laughed and said "You're going to freak out when Jason's on stage" and i just nervously chuckled. We all started to talk about what the set up would be. Would he be playing with an acoustic set? Perhaps with a piano? I think my favorite assumption though was that Phantom Planet was going to show up and back him and in the event of that happening I would've died multiple times of complete and sheer happiness. We all knew though, that it was a pretty far fetched idea but what we got was the second best thing.

When the curtains rose up, Jason was standing side stage with an acoustic guitar to play his first song, which was actually only part of a song, as he sang the ending to "Slowly." And for the record, NO I did NOT freak out. I just stood there with this big cheesy grin clapping, dancing and singing along. After the song, he announced that his band 'The Coconuts' would be joining him on stage. Out from the side stage door comes the members of Rooney dressed in white shirts and hand written in black sharpie on them was "THE COCONUTS." Let me tell you, it was so adorable it was borderline disgusting. For real.




I found it quite odd that Jason stood off to the left of the stage instead of performing front and center. I truly believe it's because he does not see himself to be a front man. My friend noticed he had his eyes closed half the time but I just noticed how he seemed to hug himself frequently throughout all the songs. Either way though, it was quite amazing. I enjoyed the way the crowd (or at least my group of friends) totally got into "West Coast" when he performed it, singing along to the "Nananananana..." part as loud as we could. After only two songs, "The Coconuts" walked off the stage and Jason started to talk about how he wanted to perform the song "Nighttiming" since it is the name of his album and probably the most popular song on it as well. Problem is, he probably couldn't fit a whole string section on the stage, I believe he said 30 violinists? So what did he do? He plugged in his iPod and sang over the track. Complete and pure genius. After that, his set was over. He only played four songs and it felt so short, but then I was reminded that he may have played less songs than Britney Spears did on her "Comeback Tour" a few months back, but he still played longer time wise. Not to mention he was a whole lot better, speaking from personal experience (I love you Britney, even if you're crazy, but that show was such a waste of time and money).



The turnover time between Coconut Records and Rooney was amazing, mostly because Rooney didn't really have to set up since they played with Coconut Records. It was seriously less than 10 minutes between sets and I wish all shows were like that. Rooney opened with the ever so catchy tune "Shakin'" and set the mood for a super fun evening. The crowd was absolutely great, dancing and singing along like our lives depended on it. Of course, the boys looked great; for awhile Robert was rocking the leather jacket and bassist Matthew Winter, of course, was wearing his sunglasses throughout the whole performance (and I am fairly convinced he never takes them off. Ever.) Although I was quite elated to be right front and center, photo-wise I ended up getting quite irritated because Robert's mic stand was in the way the whole time. I can't complain though, as I know there's a ton of Robert fans who probably would probably kill for the spot I had right in front of him.




Now I feel it an opportune time to address a huge issue. An issue so huge, I feel the need to put it in bold lettering. Taylor Locke is probably the most underrated guitarist ever and he needs way more credit. Let me tell you a quick story that I promise has to deal with this - about a month ago I saw The Police in concert and I was completely and totally blown away by the guitar work of Andy Summers. Thing is, in all my rock history classes and every book I've read that mentions The Police, it never gave credit where credit was due. So when I saw them, I was honestly most excited to see Stewart Copeland on the drums in person but I left in complete and total awe of how awesome the man known as Andy Summers is, and I have NEVER felt that way before about any one on any instrument... until last night when I realized all I was thinking about is "When is Taylor's next guitar solo?" Am I comparing Taylor Locke of Rooney to Andy Summers of The Police? You bet I am. I would dare say his guitar playing stole the show, for me at least. I have two things of advice for Taylor though (not as if he'd ever read this, but hey, it's all good).One, I know it was my first time seeing a full Rooney set and who knows if he's done this before, but I really think for a few of those solos Taylor just needs to push Robert out of center stage and just own the crowd. He stands off on the side during the solos and I just kept on thinking that it seemed way too modest. I truly believe that when guitarists get cocky about their playing on stage that THAT is when the good stuff comes out. Taylor is already amazing as the modest boy who owns his guitar solos off to the side, I could only imagine the monster that would emerge if he would just acknowledge how amazing his guitar playing ability really is. The second thing is, SMILE MORE! Please? :)


The boys obviously performed many songs from their new album "Calling The World" which actually just came out today. However, one of my favorite parts of the night is when Robert said something along the lines of "Sing along, I know you know the words because I know this album has been leaked on the internet for like a month!" Rooney performed a perfect mix of old and new songs, including one of my favorites, "Sorry Sorry," which made me a happy girl. Also, I must say their performance of "Are You Afraid?" was pretty damn good, and that's saying a lot as it's definitely not one of my favorites on the new album (sorry to be blunt! But it was great live).

After one of the songs towards the end and I totally forget which one, Robert was away from the microphone towards the end of it and he yelled something totally incoherently at me. My friend Doug turned to me and asked "Did he just yell at you?" and I was just like "I think so, but what did he say?" and Doug just shrugged in confusion. When the song was over Robert looked down at me and asked "Did you steal my water bottle?" as he had placed it near my purse. I responded with "No!" and pointed at my friend Amanda, even though I know she didn't steal it either. Robert looked at Amanda and said "So you stole my water bottle!" to which she in defense responded "No I didn't!" and pointed back at me. "We have two thieves in the front row!" Robert said into the mic pointing at the two of us. He then grabbed a new water bottle, drank some and handed it to my friend Amanda going "Watch this, okay?" making her the honorary water girl of the night. After songs he'd have her hand it up to him to drink and give it back to her to watch in case any thieves tried to steal it again. And for the record, I'm thoroughly convinced the drunk squealing girls to the left of my group of friends were the bandits of the water bottle. They seemed a bit crazy.




Rooney ended their set with their new single "When Did Your Heart Go Missing," which I constantly warn my friends about because if you listen to it once, I promise you it will be stuck in your head for a really really really long time (it's stuck in my head right now!). Of course we all knew it wasn't the end after the boys walked off stage. A few minutes later after the crowd cheered as loudly as they possibly could, they reemerged from backstage flinging autographed drum heads into the crowd for a few lucky fans. They closed it off with a track off their album called "Paralyzed," which is easily my favorite song off the new record and the old favorite "Simply Because" before calling it a night.



After the show the boys stuck around and did a signing of their new album which was already available at the show last night.I didn't realize that there was a no re-entry rule at the Roxy and stepped outside for a few minutes and missed the signing since security wouldn't let me back in. Oddly though, I did see Jason and Robert's mother, actress Talia Shire (who still looks as great as she did when she played Adrian in "Rocky" by the way) and she was autographing something for a paparazzi who was actually waiting for Jason to come out, and telling him to listen to Coconut Records. Obviously, she is one proud mom, and why wouldn't she be? Her sons are only some of the most super talented guys in the industry.

I really did however want the super cute Coconut Records tote bag that was on sale at the merch booth still, so when I noticed a new security guard at the front door one of my friends went up to him and explained the situation and we were let back in. Good thing we were, since Jason was hanging out at the merch booth! I got him to autograph my new tote bag and I had brought my one-of-a-kind polaroid that came with the "Nighttiming" pre-order which he ended up autographing multiple times (not that i cared at all though) as well as getting a picture with him. While my friends were talking and getting their stuff signed, I just had to let his girlfriend know what a striking resemblance to Molly Ringwald she has and ended up talking to her for awhile. Though we mostly talked about Molly's dress in "Pretty In Pink" she did mention that she has a clothing line that her and her friend do called Souvenir, and yes this is a shameless plug, but you all should check it out if you have a chance. :)

Oh, and I know my friends are wondering as I haven't been around much today to talk to you, but yes, I was amazingly able to contain myself in front of Jason and it wasn't until I had left the building that the 14 year old inside of me came out and I grabbed one of my friends, shook them and yelled "DO YOU REALIZE WHO I JUST MET?" No, I don't know how I able to hold it in that long either.

To round this long blog off, I just want to say a few things:
1) Please check out Coconut Records. "Nighttiming" is an amazing album and there was a lot of hard work put into it as well as a lot of hard work to get it out to the fans (Jason told us last night that the label, Young Baby Records, has a grand total of four workers, two of them being Jason and his girlfriend).
2) BUY ROONEY'S NEW CD "CALLING THE WORLD"!!!!!!! It's great and the boys are absolutely amazing. If they come to a town near you, please go see them. It's worth it. Promise.

To end, here's a picture from today's Rooney acoustic in-store performance I went to in Anaheim. Yes, it's been two days of Rooney for me. Keeping it short and simple, the in-store today was great and I absolutely loved hearing "Stay Away" acoustic, since it wasn't played at all last night.


Set List from CD Release Show:
"Calling The World"
"Daisy Duke"
"Are You Afraid?"
"Tell Me Soon"
"Don't Come Around Again"
"Sorry Sorry"
"I Should Have Been After You"
"Believe In Me"
"If It Were Up To Me"
"All In Your Head"
"When Did Your Heart Go Missing"

"Simply Because"

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loved your review, made me feel like i was actually there. makes me totally excited to see them on the 29th at the glass house.
and again good pics, awesome review and ill be sure to check that stuff out.


First of all, let me just say great review. Even for someone who was standing next to you the entire night (not to mention the designated water girl (: ), reading your review helped me to relive it all in my head. Hahaa.

Secondly, I must agree with you about Taylor. I heart that kid like no other, he needs to get the recgonition he deserves!

And lastly, I was highly impressed you were able to hold it together in front of jason. Yay!frances!


great review, dude! i wish i could ahve been there with youuu

Mary Morrissey

Great review! I wanted to be there, but I had to work. Thanks for making it seem as though I was...now I can go cry about what I missed...lol...:)


Once again, a great review. Your writeups almost always make me feel like I was at the show!


haha that's too good. thanks for sharing!


Awesome review Frances! I agree with Amanda, this really helped to re-live it in my brain again. Loved all the little details you put into it.

Coconut Records/Rooney and Hello Stranger rocked that night!


great review! I love Jason Schwartzman.


your writeup was great, and I love the pictures


That's an interesting review - I really think highly of Jason's Coconut Records album, but I was massively (and not surprisingly) let down by Rooney's latest release. I was a big fan of Rooney (like, message-boards-posting-obsessed) when I was younger (the first semi-independent artist I ever got into, before they signed to Geffen), and it was a downer for me to hear them devolving on this album into a overly slick pop-rock sort of sound. But it's really good to hear they played a great live show, despite their new album.


wow! i loved this review! you added that personal touch to it that i'm sure pretty much every rooney fan can relate to. awesome pics!!!! keep up the fantastic work! :D


love the pictures, sounds like it was a great show


Such a great review! at times I felt like I was living the night over again...i wish. Jason is THE BEST, not a nicer human being out there!


I love this review. I don't even know anything about most of these bands, but now I sure as hell want to!
I'm glad your teenage fangirl self is at peice after this event. I like how personal all this was. It wasn't just a blahblah show. It's obvious you were really passionate about the thing from start to finish.
Fan POV is the best.


Great review Frances. Your work kicks ass! Love it!


I love the review, it made me excited just reading about it! I envy everyone who attended, haha. The pictures are a plus as well. :)

Linda Hunter

I really enjoyed reading this review, i live in the Uk so i don't get to see Rooney very much so its nice to have really good reviews to make me feel like i was actually there,
Love the pictures too....thank you


Hey Frances-From one blogger to another, congrats on having such a great night and of course on meeting Jason (and containing yourself in front of him....not an easy task)!


I saw Rooney a few weeks ago (they were so great), and have read several reviews of their show since then, but none have personalized the experience the way this one did. Keep up the good work, I always look forward to your reviews :)

Ashley Engbrecht

This is the best review ever. The pictures are beautiful and I so wish I could have been there! Rooney+Coconut Records=1000000 AMAZING's haha Your reviews are crazy amazing keep up the brillant work!


i love your review of the concert! It made me feel like i was actually there, and based on your review i really wish i could've been there! i especially love how you incorporated Jason! I was so happy to read that you met him. haha! well, you are an amazing writer! i look foward to reading more of your reviews!



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