Photos by Hana Tobias
On Friday, March 10, I arrived home with my hair soaking wet. Had I gone to the pool? Late-night surfing? No, I had been at Eleanor Roosevelt College’s Rock ‘n Roosevelt.
The concert, held at UCSD’s new Epstein Family Amphitheater, fell victim to a rainy forecast. Event organizers handed out rain ponchos liberally, but this unfortunately failed to prevent a rather abysmal turnout. The concert itself, however, was far from abysmal.
To kick off the show, San Diego-based Almost Monday played their 2020 single “broken people”. Their set felt maybe a bit more subdued than it could’ve been without the weather, but frontman Dawson Daugherty still danced around the stage during each song (pausing multiple times to check in with fans). When introducing bandmates Cole Clisby (guitar) and Luke Fabry (bass), Daugherty presented Clisby as a UCSD alumnus, before jokingly asking if you can be considered an alum if you dropped out. Their set was filled with sunny indie pop, including one song titled “sun keeps on shining”, after which Daugherty acknowledged the irony of the situation.
After Almost Monday said goodbye with their 2022 single “cough drops” (and RNR organizers entertained the crowd with a trivia game), it was time for The Regrettes to take the stage. Frontwoman Lydia Night seemed intent on making the most of the experience despite the circumstance. During the first song of their set, “Dress Up”, she asked everyone in seats to enter the pit (a move I’m sure security wasn’t pleased about). I will happily admit that I’m already a fan of The Regrettes, but if I hadn’t been before Friday, I would’ve been converted. Throughout their set, The Regrettes (comprised of Night, lead guitarist Genessa Gariano, bassist Brooke Dickson, and drummer Drew Thomsen) maintained a high level of energy that uplifted the crowd with their pop punk tracks. Night, especially, is an extremely charismatic performer who filled up the entire stage with her presence (no small feat, due to the size of the amphitheater’s stage).
The Regrettes’ set was comprised mainly of songs from their most recent album Further Joy and their 2019 album How Do You Love?, alongside a few older tunes, including fan-favorite “Seashore”. The mix of songs reminded listeners of how the band has evolved over the years, with Further Joy marking a slightly softer sound due to the pop influences present on the album. But make no mistake: although songs like “California Friends” and “Dress Up” still hold up, their newest album is simply an expansion of their sound. That much was clear on Friday, with “Barely On My Mind” and “Monday” still conjuring up the same energy from both the band and the crowd.
As the night wound down, The Regrettes rounded out their set with a lively performance of “Poor Boy”, leaving everything on the stage. The song—which found Night switching to drums at the end—felt like a cathartic release for both the band and the audience. As everyone filed out of the amphitheater, it was clear that although we were tired, cold, and wet, The Regrettes had lifted our spirits.
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