I went almost thirteen years loving a band and never getting to see them until May 4, 2016. The ol’ holy night I saw Rooney at the Independent. For me, the whole day wasn’t about Star Wars or Arrested Development references – all of the day was leading to the show. I listened to every album Rooney has ever released on repeat until I made my way to the venue.
Today was for Rooney. Tonight was for 13 year old me. Tonight was for that girl that day dreamed about going to shows constantly, being around musicians, and getting paid to be around them. Tonight was for that girl who was beyond insecure and never got to go see all her favorite bands, even though she lived 8 minutes from The City. Tonight I let that girl come back to life, more confident, more loud, and more proud than ever. Tonight was a dream come true for me.
When I got inside, I felt the realization of where I was and what I was there for. I waited for that first band to come out. Wild Wild Horses, not Rooney. They were more of One Direction meets Imagine Dragons meets “I think I could be into it but I just want to see Robert Schwartzman in person right now.”
I was beyond impressed by Deep Sea Diver, to the point that I was reminded about my love for Seattle’s music scene. The lead singer has such a stage presence and voice, that for a minute I forgot I was there for Rooney. One of them was playing three different instruments, sometimes two at once. You could tell the drummer loved playing in this band, and loved being on stage. Everyone in that band is in it because they love it. I have never spoken to any of them, but I could feel it. I could see it, and now I want to listen to all their albums. I could even see the sea of people below me getting just as into it.
I joined in with that sea before Rooney came out to return me to a place I thought I never wanted to go back to. I actually found The She’s (who are playing Phono del Sol) and we were all excited to be there. To the point that we were all screaming “Rooooooney!” until the band actually came out. Then the screams only got louder. I lost all control of being 24, and became 13 again. Not the angst-like parts of being that age. I felt 13 in the way that it would feel to no longer pay bills and to be seeing one of your favorite bands at 13. I had completely let go of all my inhibited fears and anxieties.
Let me really try to explain this, because at all good shows I’ll let go of those fears, but this was different. I knew every word to every song (even the new ones of the new album Washed Away that comes out this Friday). I was around people who knew every word to every song. We all reverted to the true fangirl inside, and embraced them warmly and let them know that in this moment they were allowed to be make a fool of themselves. We sang at Robert. We sang together. We sang at each other. Sometimes this singing was more belching out everything we had kept hidden for years. It was a release, and the best kind. Rooney is still great live. They sang all their hits, from “When Did Your Heart Go Missing?” to “Blueside.” Robert even sang “Popstars” from the debut album for the encore. He encouraged us to sing along, and he really didn’t need to because nothing was going to stop us. I left feeling unstoppable. I left feeling something I wish I could have at 13. Yes, it was a great show, but the feeling that it left me with is so much greater.