Arts & Entertainment

The Regrettes Pour Their All Into Free Show at Thalia Hall

This story contains mention of sexual assault.

In a performance filled with emotion, energy and smiles, Los Angeles-based band The Regrettes played a free show in a packed Thalia Hall Oct. 8.

The band blends the light and airy vocals of lead singer Lydia Night with heavier, pop-rock instrumentals from guitarist Genessa Gariano, drummer Drew Thomsen and bassist Brooke Dickson.

The night, presented by Dr. Martens as a free show with limited capacity, featured The Regrettes as the main set with two opening acts.

The first was Child Seat, who readied the crowd as lead singer Madeleine Mathews walked out with guitarist Josiah Mazzaschi. They kicked off their Chicago debut with “Fever Dream” — the first song they had ever written as a band.

They followed with songs about feminism, wildfires, menstruating and a cover of Tears for Fears’ “Shout.”

Austin Hojdar | The Phoenix Child Seat set the tone for the entire night.

The second opener was Finom, a rock duo consisting of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart. The Chicago group’s chemistry was palpable from anywhere in the theater.

A signature of their set was the hypnotic repetition of their lyrics on songs like the eerie and intense “Icon.” Afterwards, the crowd began cheering for one more song, proving Finom had won them over.

“I think we’re gonna play two more,” Cunningham declared.

Their final song was “Water” (2018), which closed with high-pitched, harmonized scatting.

Austin Hojdar | The Phoenix A highlight of Finom’s set was a song about their grandmothers.

The Regrettes finally took the stage as the headlining act, walking out in their Docs to “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn.

“We’re back so soon,” Night said to the crowd, referring to their Lollapalooza aftershow at Lincoln Hall and Friday festival set.

The band opened with “Dress Up” from their 2019 album “How Do You Love?” The song started with a steady drum beat, Dickson’s intoxicating bassline and raspy vocalizations from Night.

Smiling through the first few songs, Night brought warmth to both front row and upper-level concertgoers. 

Following the throwback, the band played two more recent songs from their 2021 album “Further Joy.” 

The beautifully constructed chorus of “Monday,” the album’s first single, led Night to jump up and down, encouraging the crowd to do the same. During the dreamy breakdown of “Rosy,” Night sang directly to the audience, even taking a selfie with a fan’s phone.

Austin Hojdar | The Phoenix Lydia Night commanded the stage and the audience’s attention.

The band has been touring their latest album for the past year, consistently including a cover of Lily Allen’s “Smile.” The combination matches the band’s obvious early-2000s inspiration as the cover began with a tame, slowed version of the intro.

Night continued to take advantage of the platform connecting the stage and front row during the performance of their intensely alt-rock “Has It Hit You?”, which she sang directly above the barricade.

Whether it was the autumn leaves falling outside or a mid-concert burst of energy, “Pumpkin” proved to be a stand-out song from the night. One of the band’s most lyrically intricate pieces, the tune features direct references to film, literature and Night’s relationship with Wallows’ lead singer Dylan Minnette.

“I used to think that Romeo was full of s— / And ‘The Notebook’ was just my favorite chick flick,” Night sings. “But now I get why Sarah was so hard to forget / It’s this feeling that I’m feeling, like Nemo in a net.”

High-pitched guitar plucking from Gariano flowed throughout the next song, “La Di Da.” During the track’s final pre-chorus, Night had the entire crowd crouch as low as possible until they jumped at the beat drop, exploding in a fit of excitement.

While it seemed as though the show had reached a climax with that song, the energy remained just as high for the rest of the show. The crowd shook the wood floor jumping during “California Friends,” and Thomsen’s non-stop drumming during “Lacy Loo” maintained their collective momentum..

Their set came to a close with “Show Me You Love Me,” a song Night said was originally titled “Windy City.”

“I can’t say it beats LA,” Night said about Chicago. “But it really is maybe f—ing equal.”

The quartet left, but the crowd begged for their return. Before jumping into their encore song, Night thanked fans for their outpouring of support over the past 24 hours.

In 2017, Night, who was 16 years old at the time, toured as an opener with a rock band. In 2020, she shared through Instagram she had been sexually assaulted by the band’s drummer. The day before the Thalia Hall show, that band announced their return to making music after their hiatus.

“This one goes out to them,” she said. “I never thought I’d say that, but it’s true.”

This emotion and anger was channeled into a spirited performance from all band members for their thematically-relevant 2018 release “Poor Boy.” 

“Poor boy, what you gonna do? / ‘Cause us girls are coming for you,” Night yelled.

For the song’s outro, Thomsen took Night’s guitar and shredded while she sat on his stool, banging cymbals, toms, hi-hats and the snare in rapid succession.

They ended the night thanking the crowd as Night threw her drumsticks and strutted off.

Further Joy” and the rest of The Regrettes’ discography are available to stream on all major platforms.

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