Photo: Claire Marie Vogel
Sometimes it is hard to fight the overwhelming sense of injustice emanating from the world we live in, but on those days we can thankfully turn to punk rock. Pissed off about political corruption? Give Anti-Flag’s “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” a spin. Frustrated that your parents don’t understand you? Turn up that Blink-182. Recently, we here at Ones to Watch have been mulling over the less-than-stellar state of gender politics. So naturally, we swung by The Regrettes’ sold-out homecoming show at The Fonda on September 20 for a curative dose of female-fueled punk anthems.
Bursting onto the scene in 2017, The Regrettes embody so much of what has been pervasive in punk culture since it first hit the streets of New York and London in the ‘70s. Defiance, youth, and equality. You can hear it all in the voice of the group’s fire-breathing frontwoman, Lydia Night. In a steely-edged alto, Night lit up The Fonda with sermonic lyrics like “You‘re talking to me like a child / Hey, I got news, I’m not a little girl / And no, I won’t give you a little twirl.”
Though Night had an arsenal full of stinging reprimands for the patriarchy, she also acknowledged that women can slow the advancement of their gender through their behavior towards one another. In the band’s song “WHATTA BITCH,” Night uses a third-person point of view to cleverly detail the toxic behavior that can occur between women. She sings, “Lydia got asked out by this cute boy at my school, Jim / But apparently she said ‘no’ ‘cause she was just not into him / But clearly that’s not true and she is just a lesbian.”
After an hour of truth-bombs raining down to a chorus of rapturous drums and buzz saw guitar, The Regrettes’ dissertation finally drew to a close, but not before a unifying moment during the encore. After retaking the stage, Night became tearful when addressing a mentor of hers in the audience. “Lonnie taught me how to play guitar and write songs when I was six,” she recounted. “And taught me just how strong a woman can be.” With that, Night called all women to the front to form an all-female mosh pit, closing out the night with the band’s anti-Brett Kavanaugh anthem “Poor Boy.”
There’s nothing like a good punk show to bring out the activist in you, huh? If you couldn’t make it to The Fonda, revisit The Regrettes’ “All Eyes On” performance below for your daily dose of female-fueled anthems: