Milly Waters headed down to Key Club to check out if, after a year of relentless touring and the release of their second album How Do You Love?, The Regrettes still knew how to charm a Leeds crowd.
Donning surgical masks, The Regrettes open with ‘Are You in Love?’, a spoken word piece that encapsulates the album aesthetic. From this they launch into ‘California Friends’, a clear fan favourite which represents a departure from their punk roots and a transition to establish themselves sonicly. In this track it’s evident that front woman Lydia Night has truly come into her own as a lyricist.
Night has the audience in the palm of her hand, they obediently part for her to enter the pit during ‘Go Love You’, a riotous ode to her previous toxic relationships. The feeling in the room is electrifying, the excitement of the crowd contagious. Bands like The Regrettes suit venues like Key Club, Night’s lyrics are nothing but intimate and deeply personal. ‘Pumpkin’, a love letter to her long-term boyfriend Dylan Minnette reminds the crowd that despite her aggressive calls for self-emancipation, settling down is not selling out. It is a treat to see them perform in a venue as small as Key Club, they’ve spent much of the year opening for twenty øne piløts on a sold-out arena tour.
‘They’ve spent much of the year opening for twenty øne piløts on a sold-out arena tour. ‘
With a dedicated online fan-base, and a concise aesthetic, The Regrettes embody are an archetype of the ‘modern band’. It is clear from the bobbing heads of young women in the crowd, that the hearts beneath their eyes is an ode to Night’s signature look, that this band’s influence goes beyond their music. Taking inspiration from classic riot grrl bands from the likes of The Donnas and Bratmobile, The Regrettes have their sound pinned down. Despite a scattering of ventures into different genres in their latest album, their set is still united and polished, a sure sign of this band’s capability to craft and create without losing their edge.
Ending with ‘Poor Boy’, perhaps The Regrettes’ most powerful single to date, they dive into their open letter to the Weinstein’s and Kavanaugh’s of the world. Night’s anger is cold, the sinister lyrics punching home. Between ‘1 in 3 and 1 in 5’, she wails the sexual assault statistics in perfect sync with the crowd in an unsettling atmosphere unnerving considering the age of the crowd – a saddening sign of our cultural climate.
The Regrettes perfectly realise the female experience in a Me-Too era, signifying the influence of majority female bands like them on the new generation. Despite her youth, 19-year-old Night proves herself as a musical tour de force. If sets like these are what the band have accomplished to date, they’re certainly one to keep an eye on in the future.
The Regrettes return to the UK in March.