“It’s been 20 years, can you believe that?”
Robert Schwartzman brought the nostalgia and two decades of music to The Rebel Lounge last week to celebrate two decades of Rooney.
The Break the Wall Tour was just Schwartzman and his guitar as he elected to eschew openers and a full band for an intimate night up close and personal with some truly diehard Rooney fans. The audience provided the (always slightly off-tempo) percussion with Rooney-branded egg shakers, tossed into the crowd at the start of the set.
Schwartzman is a charismatic performer, keeping the fans entertained for a set spanning his entire catalog while spending almost 90 minutes onstage. He stopped songs midway to tell jokes or share stories and memories of how Rooney came to be. Many moments had fans laughing and interjecting their own memories for a show that felt more like a fireside conversation.
While some audience members were visibly surprised at the lack of a full band, Schwartzman kept them as engaged as one can be at a fully acoustic show. It was the memories that got to people, especially on songs like “I Can’t Get Enough” and “Blueside”, the first track ever written for Rooney back in the late 90s.
Getting a behind-the-scenes look at Schwartzman’s writing process over the years was the true highlight of the show. He laughed explaining songs like “Not In My House”, which was written in the hopes of being a sports arena anthem and “I’m a Terrible Person”, an homage to The Cars.
The end of the set found the crowd shouting requests and Schwartzman played a medley of song snippets for every track he could remember to the delight of the group. He told more stories of songs like “That Girl Has Love”, written for a college dorm mate who committed suicide and snuck in a new song called “Time and Time Again”.
Rooney’s sunny indie pop holds up fairly well against the test of 20 years in the business and the proof is in the pudding. People showed up. They sang all the words and even demanded more. Eventually, the night came to a close and Schwartzman pulled out the hits as everyone swayed and sang louder to “I’m Shakin’”, “My Heart Beats 4 U” and the perpetual encore “When Did Your Heart Go Missing”.
The Break the Wall Tour is a testament to how music can stand the test of time as long as the artist perseveres. Being in the music business is not an easy life and Schwartzman was candid with his experiences- the good and the bad. Fans stuck around long after the music ended to share their memories with Schwartzman and, based on the love in the room, we’ll be seeing 20 more years of Rooney with ease.
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel