By Chelsy Ranard
It was Treefort 2018 in Boise, Idaho, and I was walking through downtown to an all-ages venue. Treefort is a five-day music fest with hundreds of shows sprinkled all over the downtown area. It was the third day of the festival, I had been downtown for almost 12 hours, and I was headed to my last show by myself while my husband and friends went to another. With so many shows happening, being split up was bound to happen. I could have stayed with my friends, but I could not miss The Regrettes.
Once I got there, I realized why this show was at the all-ages venue: The band members were teenagers. Many of their fans were young as well. However, their energy was that of seasoned, punk rock superstars. I knew I had made the right decision.
The Regrettes is a teen punk rock band filled with energy and attitude. There are so many things about this band that makes them special: their ages, being mostly female, their talent, and their message. This band has something to say, and they demand the attention of everyone in their vicinity.
About the Band
The Regrettes are a culmination of their lead singer and rhythm guitar player Lydia Night, Bassist Sage Nicole Chavis, lead guitarist Genessa Gariano, and brand new drummer Drew Thomsen. Being asked about their age is nothing new — the band’s youngest member was only 14 when they started the band in 2015. Needless to say, their ages have been something that catches the attention of many. Their sound is a mixture of punk, doo-wop, surf, and pop. Their music is energetic and raw with an upbeat, dancy sound with in-your-face lyrics. The lyrics in each song are little mirrors of Night’s life.
They’ve now released one studio album and two EPs, the most recent of which being released in February of 2018. They even played at Coachella in 2018 proving that more people are taking notice of this fresh new band.
Not Being a “Girl Band”
The Regrettes is a punk band comprised of mostly women. This is pretty special in its own right considering the percentage of most bands, let alone punk bands, with female members outnumbering the males is pretty slim. However, they’ve said that they don’t like being referred to as a “girl band.” Not because female musicians aren’t amazing or rare, but because it holds the same connotation as saying, “you’re good at playing guitar. For a girl.” They aren’t a great “girl band”; they are a great band, regardless of their gender. Also, I’d suggest never saying, “you’re good, for a girl,” to anyone in this band. This is not the band you want to patronize.
They do love representing female rockers but are careful not to allow their gender to be a gimmick. The Regrettes playing Coachella was a big deal for their genre and gender, and they rocked it as an amazing band representing themselves and others like them.
Women’s Issues and Empowerment
Women’s issues are extremely prominent right now. With women’s marches, increased social awareness, and more women feeling safe enough to speak up on their own behalf, the issues plaguing women are gaining attention. Women are in need of better medical attention for health issues that primarily affect them. Women are in need of advocates to protect them from violence and a sometimes biased judicial system. Women are still treated unequally in many ways and underrepresented. As a result, female empowerment is a political statement in itself. This band and many of its members have been outspoken in their passion for feminist ideals and the importance of empowering women.
Night and the other band members have spoken about their passion for their beliefs and how that intersects with their music. Their music challenges the way that society views women and is aggressive about demanding respect. However, their music also reflects their lives as teenagers and is important for its relatability. For them, that sometimes means love, boyfriends, friends, and heartbreak. That doesn’t make them any less passionate about women’s issues, nor does it challenge their feminist ideologies, and that clarity is important to them. They sing songs about love while still being empowering.
Being bold is important to The Regrettes as a whole. Their outspoken frontwoman has never been afraid to voice her opinion politically or otherwise, and their music lives and breathes authenticity. Each member clearly has a vulnerable side, but there’s strength in that. Each member has an air of confidence about them that tells the world to look out for them.
Their music is about discussing their flaws, both physical and otherwise, and still being proud to be themselves. Punk music sounds like a big middle finger to the world, and you definitely get that with The Regrettes. If you don’t like them, their music, their looks, or their beliefs, they do not care. This is definitely the message I got from The Regrettes, and the attitude I left their show with. Seeing them live made me feel fearless and bold myself.
Encouraging Fans to Love Themselves
The Regrettes have a message in their music, and it’s to love yourself. It’s about self-love, feeling empowered, putting yourself first, not caring about what others think, and using what you’re good at to change the world. They are body positive and acknowledge feeling imperfect while embracing their flaws as a part of themselves.
In a world where society puts so many pressures on young people for what they should look like, how social media can be a negative or positive influence on each person’s well-being, and a largely dismissive attitude on the impact of young people, The Regrettes challenge those ideas just by being themselves. Night sings in her raspy voice that she can be brave and she can be bold, no matter what you have to say.
I may be more than 10 years older than most of the members in The Regrettes, but I left their show wishing I could be like them when I grow up. Their presence on stage was so electric; their attitudes were unapologetic; and they genuinely had fun while playing their music. They ended their show with a cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones. They instructed the crowd to split up, then mosh into each other. Night crowd surfed into the sea of rowdy fans. I was at a raw and real punk show, and it was rad.
I left not being impressed by teenagers, or girls, but by a band that played some rad music and put on an amazing live show. The Regrettes is not just any band; it’s a band with something to say.
Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She is passionate about feminism, is a shark enthusiast, and can be found playing Frisbee with her dog, Titan. Follow her on Twitter.