The Regrettes Get The Fuck Out of LA @ the Observatory Constellation Room 11/24/21 Concert Memories

On Wednesday, I went somewhere in California outside of LA for the first time ever. I met up with my friends to drive out to Santa Ana to see The Regrettes play their mini Get the Fuck Out of LA tour that consists of three dates in Santa Ana, San Diego, and Pioneertown. The Santa Ana and San Diego dates both sold out before Pioneertown was added to the line up. I was excited to get to see the Observatory venue since so many of my favorite artists have come through there to play. 

After a series of pick ups to assemble our whole group and a stop to get gas, we got on the freeway to head to Orange County. It only took around an hour to get down there, and the drive wasn't bad at all. We played Fine Line and sung along, discussing the latest Harry Styles concert videos. It felt a little weird to walk right into the venue ten minutes after doors instead of spending at least two hours sitting on the sidewalk soaking up the atmosphere. Going on the later side was definitely the right call, though. 

As we walked up to the venue, though, we all started to wonder if all three of us somehow got the date of the show wrong and drove out of LA for nothing. The signs all advertised a band called Gwar, and everyone outside the venue was definitely not what we imagined The Regrettes demographic to be. As we walked up to the entrance, a guy in a studded leather vest started to approach us asking, "Do you have an extra ticket for G-" and then he took a second look at us in flower printed tank tops, skater skirts, and jean jackets and changed course with, "You're not going to Gwar." He was right about that even though it seemed like everyone else there was here for his show. 

When we pulled out our COVID cards and IDs to present at the first check-in point, the employee immediately had us figured out. "You guys must be here for that band where the lead singer is dating the guy from 13 Reasons Why," he said. We all nodded even though most of us knew Dylan Minnette for his own band, The Wallows, over the show. Then he leaned in conspiratorially and whispered, "I've heard he's going to be here tonight." We all laughed because that didn't seem like at all the privileged information he was making it out to be. He ended by saying that we were nice and that he liked us before sending us on through the metal detectors. It seemed like he'd been having a hard night. We were all relieved that we'd made it to the right place after all. 

In the bathroom, we discovered a cute decal across the giant mirror that said "You're So Fucking Pretty." I assumed this was a fun detail from the venue, but when we walked into the Constellation Room, there was a table in the back covered with these giant stickers. The sticker backing had The Regrettes logo on the back and had a QR code to pre-save their new song of the same name (out December 3rd). It also encouraged people to post their mirror selfies with the sticker using #YSFP. I wound up throwing one of our group photos I took in the venue's full length mirror into my photo dump from the show and Lydia, the lead singer, liked my post. The stickers are super cute, and I'm debating where I want to put mine. 

The Constellation Room is a small area off the corridor to the main concert hall that holds 300 people and is separated from the hallway by a curtain. I don't really get how such a small venue is able to host two shows at the same time just from a sonic insulation perspective, but it was interesting to see two totally different groups mixing in the common areas on the way to our respective shows. I was also surprised to see that The Regrettes demographic wasn't quite the teenage girls I'd expected based on the fanbases of all of her musician friends like Finneas, Olivia Rodrigo, and Conan Gray. There were a lot of people who looked to be in their late 20s, and there was a shocking amount of middle aged men there alone. I only spotted one girl in the whole crowd who had come with a parent. 

We'd all agreed to hang in the back for the show since we weren't going to get barricade getting there so late. The plan was to have a relatively chill night and enjoy the last chance to go to a show together in 2021 since none of us knew The Regrettes's music particularly well before going. We'd all enjoyed the songs we'd heard, but we were all more fans of the lead singer, Lydia Night, and her online presence more than anything as uncool as that probably is to admit. I've really enjoyed getting to know artists better through their live performances this year, so I was excited to see them play one their first shows back. 

The opening act was Halo Kitsch. It seemed like this was one of her first shows ever, but she was really giving it her all. For some reason, she reminded me of Camila Cabello if Camila was less pop and more pop-punk/emo. I really loved her bassist, Emily Mccrite, who had the coolest glittery make-up and space buns. She also had killer backing vocals and exuded so much fun energy and confidence.  

About fifteen minutes later, The Regrettes came out to set up their own gear ahead of their set. Lydia set out her guitar pedals and the drummer, Drew Thomsen, screwed in the cymbals. It was endearing to see them do their own prep and something you almost never see happen. The only issue was that we couldn't figure out when they were going to start performing. It seemed like they ran into some unexplained technical difficulties that had some band members running back to the sound booth and Lydia pulling out her phone at one point to message someone. As the band set up, there were also murmurs through the crowd about Dylan's arrival in the gated off friends and family section. I couldn't see him from where I was standing but everyone had a rush of excitement because it seemed to be a sign the show was starting soon. They eventually left the stage for a while before returning with Lydia in a pair of flared shorts instead of the cargo pants she was in earlier as the only distinct change.

I have such mixed feelings about this show. The performance by the band itself was incredible, and I was so glad that I got to be a part of their live journey so early on. I actually got way more into all of the songs live, and Lydia has an incredible voice. Unfortunately, I didn't connect with the crowd, and it was by far the roughest I've ever been in. I expected a relatively calm time because I was a row or two from the back wall so far from the stage and the bulk of the action. At all the shows I'd been to before, the front can get rowdy, but the back area by the bar was generally pretty tame. While there were some elements that other people definitely enjoyed that just made me uneasy, especially with what happened so recently with AstroWorld, like a sort of all consuming moshing, there were other moments that were just rude and unnecessary. 

When the the opening note rang out, a group of four or so people rushed from the back and one of them
completely slammed through me, landing a knee in my back that took the wind out of me when there was plenty of space to work around us through the crowd. I would've gladly stepped out of their way. After being caught off guard from that, full on moshing starting at song two continued to make me feel like maybe I'd made a mistake in coming. I kept trying to weave farther and farther back towards the wall, but the room was so packed that there was truly nowhere to go that was much calmer. The sheer sardine-like situation made it especially dangerous when Lydia instructed us all to sit down. I know that artists have good intentions with things like this, but everyone wound up sort of falling on top of each other, and everyone ended up getting crushed by the people around them. My knee got caught at an awkward angle under another girl.  

I got separated from all my friends pretty early on. Eventually, I wound up right in front of the ropes for the friends and family section and right in front of Dylan. From there, I was able to enjoy the end of the show in a much calmer environment that I could actually see from which made the end of the show so much more fun. I was thankful we hadn't shown up early to get a front spot because I think I would've been genuinely terrified up there. 

I'm used to people elbowing and pushing for better spots but nothing as intense as what happened at this show, and generally once things settle in, people jump and dance around but with a general respect for others personal space. This was my first ever pop-punk/rock show, so I really just didn't know what I was in for. I definitely respect the spirit of community and fun that can be had from moshing at shows, but I think that level of fun, intentional chaos also leaves a lot of room for less pure more dangerous moments to happen as well. It was actually fun to see people partaking in the moshing in the middle and then sort out everyone's personal belongings that got lost by the end, but there was just a lack of a gelled feeling to the crowd that I missed. By the end of the show, I was ready to admit that this vibe just didn't fit my personality or reflect what I love about shows, and that's okay. It's good to know. 

During the encore, the band played their new song coming out this Friday, and it was by far my favorite of the night. I'm so excited for it to come out so I can play it on loop. It has a totally different feeling than a lot of their other music, and it was probably the highlight of the show for me. 

The other highlight was having the chance to see how genuinely supportive and wonderful Dylan is. He was one of the only ones in the gated section, but he spent the entire time jumping around and taking videos of Lydia up on stage. Lydia is a truly magnetic performer and has the confidence and energy of someone who's had a much longer career, though the band has certainly played their fair share of live shows (I believe she's been playing live since she was 12). One of the reasons I decided to go was because my friend who had seen them in Poland talked so highly of their performance as the opening act for Twenty One Pilots. 

So the night definitely proved to be interesting and the first time ever I felt like I would've had more fun if there had been a seated section. I just felt out of place there from the minute I walked into the venue, and the room was just way too small and packed for how high energy the crowd was, and there wasn't room for everyone to experience the show in their own way, which is something I really cherish about live shows. The crowd has such a heavy sway on my end feelings about shows, and I had a similar experience at Bleachers, which I didn't end up writing about cause I just didn't know how to express my feelings on the crowd in a way that made sense for a concert review. It's hard to balance discussing the actual performance with the intangible atmosphere component that dictates so much of the experience. I had a great time with my group, and soaking up the adventure of it all is always exhilarating. I also have so much admiration for the band as performers. It was definitely a night to remember. 

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