Generally, anything to do with teenagers is looked upon with disdain by those past their adolescence — often by those just freed of the teen years themselves. In the case of rock outfit The Regrettes, a quartet of teenagers (frontwoman Lydia Night is just 15) based in Los Angeles that have recently been making waves within the garage-pop scene, the exception proves the rule. Night, along with her bandmates, are everything we all wished we could be at their age. Scratch that — they’re everything any rock musician could hope to be now.
Besides the fact that guitarist Genessa Gariano made both the art for their cassette and the images on the tees they sell at their shows, and the other fact that their music is just as good as any other garage rock band in Brooklyn, it’s the group’s personality that really cements the fun in their sound. During their set on Sept. 21 at the Studio at Webster Hall, Night appeared in a bright white pleated skater dress and no shoes, a perfect look to coordinate with her white guitar and rhinestones at the corners of her eyes. Gariano had an entirely different look with her pinstriped jumpsuit and red guitar, bassist Sage Nicole had a colorfully patterned shirt and high-rise shorts for her wooden-paneled bass (plus shimmering eyebrows). Even drummer Maxx Morando looked picture-perfect effortless despite having debatably the sweatiest role in the band.
Their personalities came through as clear as their outfits, and in fact made the outfits absolutely unimportant in comparison. Their flash had plenty of substance to go around, with punchy guitar lines to back up Night’s impressively poignant lyrics. Her lines put the crowd-sourced choruses of so many other musicians her age to shame, going straight for feminist-leaning, unabashed lamentations of a teenage girl that are still relatable for a crowd of (mostly) women several years older. Their spunky “Hey Now” drew plenty of shoulder shaking and hair flipping from both band members and their audience, and their much-lauded single “A Living Human Girl” drew smiles not only for its lyrics but for the way that Night, Gariano and Chavis were clearly having such a great time singing it together.
It seems like it’s discouragingly rare that teenage girls ever prompt hollering outside of the context of grossly inappropriate cat-calling, but after only their second song, the crowd at Webster was shouting their appreciation. And for good reason: The Regrettes jumped from song to upbeat song, switching from perfectly executed three-part vocal harmonies to guitar melodies somehow both straight from the ‘60s and contemporarily unique without thinking twice. Even a guitar strap that came detached during the opening song didn’t deter the group — with some laughter, Gariano helped Night out, and the song’s flow wasn’t interrupted for a moment.
The Regrettes give hope for an undeniably overly-berated generation, and give release and joy to those who aren’t too busy complaining about teenagers to have a bit of fun. If this is them at 15, one can only speculate what they’ll be like at 20 and beyond. Hopefully, still rocking.
Email Hailey Nuthals at [email protected]