This post is supplementary to my article on Examiner.com.
When you first start writing about a local music scene, you are, in a sense, late to the party. You find yourself running to catch up becuase all you have to go on is what you see in front of you, and you have to try and make sense of it without the advantage of previous history.
The first time I saw local powerpop band Regret Night do a show, I wrote a less-than-flattering review of them based entirely on their performance, with a peek at their MySpace page for a frame of reference. That show was a fundraiser to help them fund the recording of their new EP. I could tell from that first show that Regret Night had a fairly solid fan base, which told me there must be something to them–but that night there just wasn’t a lot of substance behind the hype. So I wrote what I saw, trying to give the band the benefit of the doubt for what I hadn’t seen, and throwing in some suggestions for how they could step it up.
A few weeks later, I received a gracious email from Regret Night (whom I’d not told about my review), thanking me for my candor and telling me they were taking my suggestions to heart–and inviting me to review their new EP when it came out. Just the fact that they took the time to respond (instead of react) and invited me to give my opinion again said a lot to me about them. After all, for all I knew, they’d just had one bad night.
It would be presumptuous to think they were acting on my advice alone (or at all), but since that email conversation I’ve watched from a distance while Regret Night has seemingly been doing several of the things I had put on my list of suggestions. When I found out that they were finally releasing their EP, Living the Night Life, at a concert at the Marquis Theater last Friday, I felt I owed it to them to see them again and to give their new project a spin.
I’m happy to say that Regret Night did step it up, both with the EP and their concert. The recording has catchy tunes and great production value, and their live performance (though riddled with technical difficulties which must have been frustrating) was definitely an improvement over the last time I saw them. And the bands they had with them on the ticket did them proud as well–which was one of the things I really harped on in my previous review. Best of all, I was able to see some of the elements of their appeal that has won them their fan base, the things I knew must be there but couldn’t see the first time I saw them.
It would be dishonest to say Regret Night doesn’t still have some growing to do. But kudos are definitely in order for these guys, for several reasons. First of all, behind their carefree party persona, it’s apparent the band hasn’t always had an easy time of it, especially in getting this EP done. The fact that they pressed through their obstacles to get it done–and did it so well–says they are serious. Second–simply put, they have grown, likely as a result of their perseverance. And third, and possibly most important–Regret Night accepted with grace the criticism of a newcomer-upstart and took it seriously. And that is why I know they will continue to grow–because for bands with that attitude, growth is inevitable.
Way to go, guys.