This is expanded analysis from my article on Examiner.com…
To anyone who took my weekend picks and went to see rock/power-pop band Regret Night play a free concert at the D-Note on Saturday, October 10…if you didn’t make it past the two regrettable opening acts…I was there. My profound apologies.
Although the concert began at 9:30, Regret Night didn’t actually take the stage until almost two hours afterward. All Bets Off (just renamed One Too Many) made a passionate attempt at punk rock, but could not keep the beat; T-Shirts 4 Tomorrow were only slightly less painful. Both openers’ sets went too long, and T4T even negotiated from the stage to play two more songs instead of one.
Nevertheless, Regret Night’s fans were ready and energized even during the quick sound check. True to reputation, the band was lively, animated, and engaging–and much more together musically than their predecessors. Stage presence is definitely their strong suit; they were aware of their audience, and attempted to connect with them at every turn–and they had fun doing it. When a band enjoys playing their own music, their enthusiasm can be infectious. Regret Night had that in their favor.
Even so–having Regret Night be the best among these three bands, isn’t saying much. By the time they took the stage, I was relieved to finally hear a band that could at least play well together. But that only puts Regret Night in the not horrible category. There were still sloppy moments (including a train-wreck ending when they tried to play one of their songs over a drum loop), and their songs weren’t quite strong enough musically to back up the hype behind them. The potential is there, but Saturday night, the substance was not.
To their credit, it’s obvious these guys work hard, and it has paid off; they have a following, particularly among the younger set. This was a free concert, so nothing was lost but time; it would even be worth a modest cover charge to see them. But if Regret Night wants to take it to the next level–and their enthusiasm would suggest that they do–they are going to have to challenge themselves a bit more. If I were managing them (and I’m not), I’d suggest the following to them:
- Spend some quality time writing stronger songs with better hooks. That might even mean hitting a few workshops, or it might mean finding original tunes from other writers, or collaborating with outsiders. But they need a stronger showing in this area.
- Spend more time in the practice room. There is stiff competition out there, lots of bands with less zeal who can play much better. Tightness and accuracy really matter. Learn even more how to play together.
- Speaking of competition…headlining with bands far below them is not going to make them competitive; it’s only going to build their ego. Regret Night needs more bookings as the opening act for stronger bands–bands that will spur them to be better–not lesser bands that make them look good by playing bad. That tactic won’t work oustide the local scene. Keep the friendships, if possible, but find a more challenging circle of mucisians to hang with.
OOMPH scale: 5.0.