Last week punk rock quartet, The Regrettes, came to The Key Club in Leeds and put on a show to remember. The Los Angeles band have been touring recently in an effort to promote their second studio album, How Do You Love? And while the gig itself was only relatively short, with The Regrettes only playing around ten songs, no one could leave feeling like they had been short-changed.
Some of you may remember my first ever article for The Yorker, it was another gig review, that time for a Twenty One Pilots concert in Manchester way back in March. Well, if you read that article you may also remember that I gave a special five-line mention to the opening act that night: The Regrettes. Truth be told I really enjoyed the few songs they performed back then and when I saw they were coming to my home town I figured it was well worth getting a ticket. Turns out I was right!
However, as I did in my first article I feel again like it is worth a mention to the opening act, Lauran Hibberd. Now my only prior exposure to Hibberd before the gig had been earlier that day when I found her music video for her song Frankie’s Girlfriend (which in my opinion is certainly worth a listen here), so I was definitely going into it with an open mind.
The songs themselves were lively, tongue-in-cheek and fast-paced, and Hibberd herself was only periodically interrupted by a couple of over-excited, screaming fans that she referred to as “the arms.” And given that so far Hibberd has only released one EP — Everything is Dogs — and a handful of singles, she is certainly an upcoming artist that is well worth watching.
Then, after around a half-hour wait The Regrettes finally made their appearance on stage, kitted out in various bright colours and wearing face masks for reasons that I’m still not sure of. Within a couple of minutes, however, and having said nothing they soon vanished again. But, as the clock turned nine in the evening the background music faded once more and the main act entered once again.
The band played songs from their new studio album and some fan favourites, but make no mistake, the crowd changed the second lead singer Lydia Night took to the microphone. Just in the very first song a pit formed around the middle of the crowd and the energy continued until the very last one.
In doing a bit of background reading for this article it did astound me that Night is only 19 years old, from the performance you definitely couldn’t tell. From the first moment she seemed in her zone, instructing and splitting the crowd as she walked right through the middle of the pit during one of the songs, then going back and forth with the crowd during the chorus of Go Love You.
That being said, my personal highlights of the night came from two fan-favourite songs: Seashore and Poor Boy. Before Seashore, Night made everyone practice sticking their middle finger in the air for the chorus (feel free to go and look up the lyrics to see why), and before Poor Boy, Night split the crowd and instructed everyone who identified as male to go to the back half of the club, focussing her energy on making sure everyone in the front half knew how powerful they were.
That, to me, is punk rock. It’s about having a good time, not caring and empowering each other. I definitely left The Key Club that night feeling like all three criteria had been met. Even just as I was queuing outside the club before the gig began, I loved seeing so many different colours in hair, clothes and accessories. Everyone was there to have a good time and that’s what they got. For the roughly £12 a ticket cost, you certainly couldn’t feel ripped off in any way whatsoever, especially given that in a few years tickets to their gigs may cost a bit more than that.
So, if you haven’t already, go have a listen to some of their music and keep an eye out for both Hibberd and Night. The Regrettes already have a following that seems to be growing by the day, owing to their style of music, and recent performances on the main stage of Reading and Leeds festival and as openers to Twenty One Pilots. So don’t be surprised if you hear a lot more of them in the coming years, they certainly don’t have a problem playing at any size of venue, it’s likely just a matter of time before they become the headline act there.