The Regrettes are a female-dominated punk band with members all under the age of 20, and they don’t give a shit.
Comprised of lead guitar and vocalist Lydia Night, guitarist Genessa Gariano, bassist Sage Chavis, and drummer Maxx Morando, The Regrettes combine the sweet harmonies and swayable melodies of the ‘50s with snarling guitar and bass more indicative of Bikini Kill than The Ronettes.
The result is an exciting female reclamation of a male-driven musical past.
“It’s a different perspective,” said Night before a show last Tuesday at Rochester’s Montage Music Hall. “Like, we experience so much, [and] young girls are angry. Like, are really angry, and a lot of young girls are too scared to express their anger because of stereotypes of like, ‘crazy girl,’ ‘crazy girlfriend,’ just, like, shit like that.”
“So it’s really cool that nowadays there’s young women who are speaking out and are mad about stuff,” she added.
And it’s about time that they are. On Tuesday, local, all-male band The Interrupters opened the show. This occurred much to the excitement of two males in the crowd (one was wearing a Rancid patch and the other a Misfits shirt, so you knew they like “real music”), who attempted to instigate a mosh pit in the otherwise placid room.
After their set came The Regrettes. The three girls commanded the stage with the confidence of people comfortable claiming the space they take, while Maxx coolly slid behind the drum kit.
At the sight of three girls setting up on stage, one of the two mosh males called out, “This is a fucking punk show!”
The Regrettes didn’t really react. Maybe they didn’t hear. They instead launched into their set, beginning with “I Don’t Like You,” a rolling, thrashing ode to realizing you don’t like a guy. Fitting.
An unapologetic account of the teenage female experience is very much a fixture in The Regrettes’ lyrics, perhaps seen most clearly in their debut single, “A Living Human Girl,” where Night pledges allegiance to “pimples on my face / and grease in my hair,” stating that she’s not “being bossy, I’m saying how I feel / and I’m not a bitch for stating what is real.”
“Someone who is feminist believes in equal rights for all genders, and something that is feminist just promotes that,” said Night.
What makes The Regrettes exciting is their willingness to support women so fluidly and openly. The feminism is inherent, its existence in their music a conceptual fixture. The word “feminist” doesn’t even need to be said — it’s understood.
But just because it’s understood, doesn’t mean everyone will like it.
“Where’s the fucking Interrupters?” said the guy with the Rancid patch.
“Okay, ha-ha,” replied Night.
They went on with the set, Night bouncing around in time to the pushing of the real mosh pit that had began to form.
As they played, the two guys left, scowls on their faces. After the song, Night peered into the audience searching for the one with the orange beanie. (Rancid Patch Boy was also wearing an orange beanie.)
Chavis was the first to notice that the two had disappeared.
“He fucking left ’cause he’s a fucking pussy,” she said. “Pieces of shit.”
The crowd lost it, letting out cheers affirming its fidelity to the band, three girls and all.
Almost as if the disturbance in the crowd was planned, The Regrettes next played “Seashore,” a plucky, ‘50s-inspired groove avowing that “I’m like nobody else / so you can just go fuck yourself.”
There’s a sense of power that comes while watching someone express themselves fully. The Regrettes are brazen and unrepentant, which comes through not only on stage, but also in the entirety of their debut album, “Feel Your Feelings Fool!”
But why should you feel your feelings?
“Because if you don’t, then you are just a dick,” Night said. “Like, you turn into an asshole if you suppress your feelings, you’re making other people feel stupid for feeling theirs because you’re ashamed of yours.”
She continued: “It’s just, like, this constant cycle of shit. If everyone just accepted their feelings more, everyone would be so much nicer to each other […] and themselves, which is the most important thing. Like it’s so much more important to love yourself before loving other people.”
That night, we accepted our feelings. The Regrettes radiated pride — in their youth, their femininity, and their identities as legitimate musicians deserving of respect and equal treatment. And there’s nothing to regret there.