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The Regrettes in Los Angeles: One Last Time

Lydia Night and crew have no Regrettes as they put on one last show – well, three last shows.

 
band
The Regrettes
 

On Nov. 14, The Regrettes announced on Instagram they were breaking up. This came as a shock to both their fan base and the wider indie scene as the band seemed to be reaching new heights of popularity and mainstream appeal with “Further Joy” – their latest and now, perhaps, final album. The breakup announcement came with a parting gift for fans: a final show in their hometown of Los Angeles. What was initially announced as a single concert quickly expanded into three nights at Hollywood Boulevard’s historic Fonda Theatre, with the final two shows selling out. After seven years and three studio albums, the Regrettes would not be going gentle into that good night.


The Regrettes
Alithea Tuttle

Before the final show of the brief residency, the line outside the Fonda wrapped around the block even amid an unusual downpour for Los Angeles. Still, the feeling on the sidewalk was electric. Up and down the line, stories of past Regrettes shows were swapped, with fans comparing how many times they’d seen the group live -- this writer has been lucky enough to catch five shows – and some tears were shed at the thought this may be the last one. As the crowd filed in and filled the Fonda’s iconic checkerboard floor, the energy was somewhat strange. It was, after all, an unusual situation: What up-and-coming band announces its breakup, only to play three back-to-back shows?





Sure, the old-timers play farewell tours – and, often, multiple farewell tours – but their younger counterparts tend to dramatically implode or simply disappear (and then, sometimes, get back together years later). They don’t pack up their things and politely say goodbye with hugs and kisses.


The Regrettes
Baron Rinzler

But before the Regrettes came Rocket, with its opening-act performance the culmination of a long friendship between Regrettes frontwoman Lydia Night and Rocket lead singer and bassist Alithea Tuttle. Tuttle was the Regrettes’ first “merch girl,” and the set was almost like a passing of the torch. While Rocket’s discography is modest, with just one EP released so far, the band commands the stage like veterans. Opening acts often get little love, but the crowd ate up the distorted guitar riffs of “On Your Heels,” and “Portrait Show.” Tuttle stood out with her moody and almost detached stage presence, but other members delivered their own energy, with Cooper Ladomade bringing a wild control to the drums, and guitarists Baron Rinzler and Desi Scaglione seamlessly swapping lead and rhythm roles from song to song, without undermining Rocket’s consistent sound, as the band played its entire discography during its set.


The Regrettes
Lydia Night

The lights went down again, and the curtains opened to the Regrettes – minus their frontwoman. The opening chords of “Anxieties (Out of Time)” floated from the stage as Night emerged from behind the barricade, climbing over and leaning closer to the crowd as guitarist Genessa Gariano, bassist Brooke Dickson, drummer Drew Thomsen, and guest keyboardist Adam Henderson held down the instrumentals on stage.


One thing that’s always made Night unique as a performer is her love of physical proximity to her fans, often singing entire songs surrounded by mesmerized concertgoers.  Over an hour and a half, the band played songs from across its diverse discography, from the youthful feminist resentment of “Seashore” off its debut album, “Feel Your Feelings Fool!,” to the lovesick bliss of “That’s What Makes Me Love You,” off the group’s final album. Emotions swelled, with Night on the verge of tears between nearly every song, but the feeling remained celebratory, with the Fonda packed with diehard fans singing along to every lyric.


For the 1,200 in attendance that night, it obviously wasn’t just another concert. For many, this was a band they grew up with – and, having released their first album when the members were teenagers, the Regrettes grew up with their fans too, giving them music that felt like a perfect score for each period of their lives. The feeling in the theater was a bit like the last week of high school, when you look around at your classmates – some you know well, some you’ve hardly ever spoken to – and realize it's unlikely you’ll all ever be in the same place again.


The Regrettes
Brooke Dickson

After the first encore, Night told the crowd the group had been planning a second but decided to use the time for a fan request instead. After hearing the titles of nearly every song they’d ever written shouted at them, they landed on “Red Light” from their 2018 EP “Attention Seeker.” To close the set, the band launched into the final track in the Regrettes discography, “Show Me You Want Me.” Night made her way through the crowd, stopping occasionally to sing both to and with audience members as some presented her with roses.  Keyboardist Adam Henderson kept the track going as the rest of the band took a final, extended crowd surf. Night, Gariano, Dickson and Thomsen ultimately returned to stage and took a final bow to both cheers and tears as fans showered them with more roses.

 

 

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