Former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp told Street last week that he didn't understand distorting guitars these days. Sharp would have felt out of place at Saturday night's TLA show, which featured three of Weezer's alt-rock children: headliner Rooney and supporting acts Straylight Run and Ozma.
Robert Carmine, Rooney's lead singer, pranced about the stage like a saner incarnation of The Hives' Howlin' Pelle Almqvist. There's no question that Rooney is aiming for the cool, melodic alternative rock that groups like Weezer perfected in the mid-90s.
Rooney's execution, however, is flawed. Their live show, much like their debut album, fluctuates between Carmine's vocal melodies and his backing band's energetic, sometimes aggressive, playing. When it works ("Blueside"), the music is playful and bouncy, never emphasizing one aspect over the other. When it doesn't work ("I'm a Terrible Person"), the song juggles weak rock with weak vocals, never bringing the two together for something better than the sum of its parts.
The only thing stranger than Carmine's yellow suit was the best act of the evening: third-billed Ozma. The California group stole the show with their multiple vocalists, heavy percussion, and alluring keyboardist, Star Wick. In true alternative fashion, the least likely of bands walked away the winner on Saturday night.