Timing is everything. Los Angeles-based garage punk upstarts The Regrettes have been growing their fan base through a combination of tireless touring and relentless songwriting. Tonight’s show with Beach Goons and headliner SWMRS showcases a band on the verge of something truly big.
Singer and guitarist Lydia Night possesses the timeless swagger of an artist who knows she can change the world. The band’s playfulness on stage never overshadows their underlying message of female empowerment and equality for all. A working band in every sense of the word, they casually line check their instruments in the shadows as the young audience cheer even a guitar being tuned. After a few minutes backstage, Night leads the four piece back into the light and a rush of adrenaline comes quickly with “California Friends”, one of several new songs they’ve already released in 2019. Sadly, newest single “Pumpkin” is crossed off the set list last minute, possibly due to the time constraints of three bands playing an all-ages show in Vegas with a curfew.
Displaying the maturity of a songwriter far older, Night convincingly shifts from tough and independent on “Come Through” to uncertain and hopelessly romantic on “Red Light”. The mosh pits that erupt throughout the set feel like whirlpools of shared emotion for the mostly female audience. From “Hey Now” to “Seashore”, Night speaks to the conflicting feelings that haunt our teenage years and turns every fear into a rallying cry. Guitarist Genessa Gariano, the other constant member of the band, kept pace with Light’s energy and displayed a cool confidence reminiscent of Jane Wieldin.
Closing with a near 7 minute cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In the Name”, The Regrettes leave the audience exhausted and ecstatic. As Lydia Night leans over the crowd and shouts, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me,” the meaning of the song takes on a new direction. At the heart of The Regerettes’ music lies an unapologetic refusal to give into patriarchal norms with regards to everything from gender to relationships, no matter how incredibly sweet the melodies might sound.
While The Regrettes may find themselves as commercially successful as No Doubt someday soon, their ability to write and perform songs that reach that one uncertain teenager who gets bullied in school will be their greatest gift to music. I don’t know who that teenager is in the Las Vegas audience but I’m certain that Lydia Night looked into their eyes and made them feel good about themselves for a few moments.