Live - Rooney Upstaged By The Sounds & Keane In Lovely Grand Rapids

As evening descended upon Grand Rapids, MI, the world's capital of
culture, so it was that three rock bands from lands spread far and
wide descended on Grand Rapids' rock club, The Intersection. Excited
concert goers queued for miles, as the blinding marquee exclaimed
TONIGHT! ROONEY! THE SOUNDS! KEANE! Indeed, it was to be the first time that Keane and Rooney had both
taken the same stage since the epic Everton-Spurs match in this
year's English Premier League, but tonight was to be a battle more of
the rock variety.

Soon after six in the evening, the excited masses gathered around the
stage as 24 year old heartthrob Tom Chaplin from Battle, a small town
in England where some fighting happened about 950 years ago, grabbed
the microphone and launched into the first song of the mighty Keane's
set. Accompanied well by pianist Tim Rice-Oxley and drummer Richard
Hughes, Chaplin grabbed centre stage in this unorthodox pop band's
stage set up, belting out singles such as ìEverybody's Changingî and
îThis Is The Last Timeî just as he would have imagined Bono would have
done at Wembley, nearly 20 years ago. Though veering slightly toward
the M.O.R. at times, Keane showed huge promise and glimpses of what
is surely to come in the future. Chaplin's stage presence was every
bit as entertaining as his 1920s big screen namesake, as well as
encompassing the wit and passion for performing of a Robbie Williams,
only twice as self-assured and half as arrogant and pompous as
Stoke-On-Trent's current most famous.

Keane left the stage with the teenage girls (all wedged down the
front as they would remain for two hours to be close to their
posterboys Rooney) screaming for more, but unfortunately they
wouldn't get more for quite some time - an extended delay between
acts satisfying none, but showing at the very least that The Sounds'
tour manager Daniel was a very skilled drummer in his own right.

At some point after seven in the evening, Sweden's finest took the
stage with the intent of showcasing songs from their smashing album
Living In America. Saucy temptress Maja Ivarsson stunned the crowd by
calling them "motherfuckers" at every turn whilst guitarist Felix
Rodriguez and bassist Johan Bengtsson bounced around the stage,
delivering a true rock vibe to a crowd most of whose last rock show
was the time Flickerstick came to town.

As they soared through classics such as ìLiving In America, ììHit Me! ì
and fan favorite ìDance With Me, ì it was becoming obvious that The
Sounds surely couldn't be stopped. Any act would have to conjure up
something special in the dressing room in order to out-rock and/or
out-sex Helsingborg's own. Ivarsson continued to dance around the
stage, teasing the crowd and enjoying every moment of it, declaring
keyboardist Jesper a "fine piece of ass, bringing you all the hits"
as they launched into their eponymously-titled final song. Exiting
stage left following a stunning drum finale, it was a job well done
for a band who've been touring 18 months with no sign of fatigue.

Hailing from the obscure foreign wilderness that some of us know as
"California," Rooney took the stage around eight in the evening, much
to the delight of the band's teenage girl and middle-aged male
fanbase. Wishing they were born in the ë60s, this rag-tag group of
pretenders had been coughed up by the hype machine around two years
after their last obvious Californian predecessors, Phantom Planet,
and predictably again there's a Schwartzman involved.

A paedophile's wet dream, complete with shaggy ë70s Donny Osmond
hair, all five members of Rooney looked as though they'd stepped out
of a time machine ready for all of the sex, drugs and rock & roll
they could find in the future. But as they could have never predicted
that Arnold Schwarzenegger would one day be the governor of their
beloved home state (as so shown by the big California flag with their
name on in the background), this most Californian of California bands
since the Beach Boys could never have predicted that this sole
journalist would have figured out that all of their songs are really
rather boring.

The band leapt around to the crowd's obvious delight and were
obviously hoping to rival The Darkness for rock clichÈs in the
future. But Rooney take second place in that competition simply
because they're serious about their rock - although you wouldn't
really know that by song titles such as "You Make Me Paralysed" and
"I Got The Juice." However, in the end they triumphed, winning
everyone in the room over with their hit singles and their "can-do"

Rooney are obviously not the finished article. A few more songs based
more around melody and less around masturbatory guitar solos would do
them a world of good, but the potential is obviously there for a
winning formula - perhaps when they get better haircuts and tell
their drummer not to take his shirt off... it's really rather
unbecoming. Rooney are a band you can imagine being around for a long
time, for better or for worse, but unfortunately for the time being
only time will tell whether they'll be looked back upon fondly as a
great singles band of the noughties or another by-product of the
Californian hype-machine.

As we exited into the cold, rainy night, there was a sense that while
Rooney, like their English Premier League namesake, had taken another
step toward realising their obvious potential, but in the meantime
they'd been dramatically upstaged by their more entertaining opening

Source: Josh Kahn,

Live - Rooney Upstaged By The Sounds & Keane In Lovely Grand Rapids