There were no regrets for anyone who attended First Unitarian Church Dec. 5 to see The Regrettes.
Before the Los-Angeles based band blew it away, two opening bands set the scene for a night of true, soul-nourishing punk rock.
New-York native Micky James took the audience back to the ’70s while adding a more contemporary feel with an eccentrically memorable performance. Slickly dressed in a fringed, sequin leather jacket and velvet bell-bottoms with lavish, gold embroidering, James surpassed the role of a musician and became a fantastical performer. He cleverly made the most of the petite stage, bouncing back and forth, his thick, dark locks flopping along with him.
His songs were just as energetic as he was, acting as the perfect crossroad between nostalgic rock and newfangled pop. His songs “Tie Me Up,” “Give It To Me Straight” and “New Heart” not only demonstrated his contagious liveliness but also showcased his wide range of vocals and their catchy lyrics stuck with the young crowd who vigorously jumped along. James wrapped up his set with “Rest Of The Best,” which was just released in November, leaving the audience wanting more.
Luckily, Arkansas rocker Jesse Wells, who performs under the name Welles, continued the theme of melodiously evocative rock. While the songs themselves were individual masterpieces, it was a little difficult to look past the awkwardness of Welles.
Welles could take notes from Micky James on the performance front, but the band’s singles — which added a grungy edge to southern rock — were still flawlessly executed.
The band’s originals like “Seventeen,” “Codeine,” “Rock N Roll” and “Life Like Mine” displayed Welles’ hearty vocals but the band’s covers are what broke through the clouds of unease that hung over the crowd. The audience screamed along to Dead Moon’s “Poor Born,” wildly chanting the lyrics, “I’m pissed off! Pissed off! Pissed off! That’s just the way I am!” Welles also put a grungy twist on The Cure’s “Love Song” — a song that everyone could proudly accompany at the top of their lungs.
Micky James and Welles proved the differing dimensions of rock and The Regrettes showed yet another interpretation — though theirs was far more modern and possibly the most entertaining.
Headed by the fierce, 18-year-old Lydia Night, the LA based band won the crowd over with their energetic charisma the moment they danced onto stage to the song “Dancing Queen.” Night joked that she felt spiritual being in a church and that she knew it was going to be a good night.
“We’re going to have the best time — I’m declaring it,” she said, running her fingers through her bright purple locks.
And she was right.
Night got the audience involved right from the beginning. During the song “Hey Now,” she urged the crowd to crouch down low with her. Audience members were reluctant as first, but several verses later, the crowd was awkwardly hugging the dusty floor, laughing in surprise at the flexibility of the group. She then practically demanded the crowd dance along with her during “Lacy Loo” and even directed the crowd to start a mosh pit, which was a little awkward since the crowd mostly consisted of angsty teenagers and their uncomfortable fathers. And yet, in that moment, the hodgepodge of characters in the crowd were all connected and nobody cared what they looked like. Night made everyone in the crowd feel cool, especially as she directed everyone to whip out their middle fingers during a few songs — which was a little ironic in the church setting, as she humorously noted with an infectious laugh.
But amid the fun, Night also snuck in deeper political statements through her music, like with the song “Poor Boy,” which was inspired by the wrongdoings of Brett Kavanaugh. Night told the crowd that nobody should let anyone ever take advantage of him or her in any way and that everyone needs to speak up when they are wronged.
Everyone was completely riled up and danced their hearts out as the band played other fan favorites like “California Friends,” “Come Through” and even a punky rendition of “Last Christmas” — which was befitting for the holiday season.
In another fan-favorite, “Seashore,” Night belted feisty lyrics like, “I’ll still kick your ass in a skirt” and that summed up her punky attitude. In that moment, everyone in the crowd wanted to be the beautifully confident and ever-smiling Night.
Halfway through the show her fellow bandmates left the stage as she performed a wonderfully intricate solo song called “Pumpkin,” which took everyone by surprise.
But Night couldn’t impress without the rest of the talented band members, including Genessa Gariano on lead guitar and backing vocals, Brooke Dickson on bass and Drew Thomsen on drums. These young rockers surely have a bright future ahead of them. Their ability to interact with a crowd and bring out their wild side is one-of-a-kind. They can get any room of people to have fun, and most importantly, they have fun themselves while doing so, often dancing up against each other and erupting in giggles together during songs.
Out of all the shows I’ve been to, I’ve never seen a band have so much fun on stage. And I’ve never seen so many different versions — all equally impressive — of rock and roll in a single night.