Last week I received a message from some guy I didn’t know on this blog’s Facebook page. In the message he stated how he enjoyed my writing and if I would come out to see his band at The Bitter End in New York City. This was the first time since I began this blog that I have been asked such a thing. I was apprehensive at first, but I figured that it would be an interesting experience to say the least.
The band I went to go see is called The Regulars, and all I really knew about them was that they played jangle/power pop, which is a genre of music I really do enjoy (see the Big Star and Bleu posts). I had asked Joe (the man who messaged me and the lead singer of the band) to see if he could put me on the guest list, but when I got to the club, they said there were no guest lists (I later found out he did in fact put me down, but that’s all in the past). Add this to the fact that I also couldn’t find someone to go with me to the show, and I was starting to think that this was going to turn out horribly. I don’t mind going to shows alone, but that’s usually because I am seeing a band I want to see. This was something totally new for me.
After sitting through a very interesting set from another band, The Regulars hit the stage. Knowing none of their songs I was trying to take in the overall feel and sound of the band, gauging whether or not what I was listening to was quality or not. From the beginning of their set, I could tell that these guys had a good understanding of what jangle/power pop really encompassed. They reminded me a lot of the Raspberries and Badfinger, especially with their vocal harmonies, that were, at times, really good. The other thing that the band had from start to finish was amazing stage presence. Not only was the band moving around on a very small stage, but they were all genuinely having a great time. I could see the bassist grinning euphorically for the entire set, and at times sing along to the song they were playing.
Song wise, there was little that really stood out to me, yet nothing was downright bad. The best song the band played was one of their new songs that was called (I believe) “100 Shades of White” which was really good. It was a moment where I went from thinking that the band was “ehhh” to thinking “Oh, okay, these guys have something.” The other moment that stood out, though not for the same reason, was the band’s mashup of Cheap Trick‘s “I Want You To Want Me” and The Beatles‘ “Help.” Though I thoroughly enjoyed, and was surprised by, the opening of the first going straight into the second, I really was not a fan of how the band went back and forth between the two songs. I personally thought it would have been better if they had just used the opening and closing of the Cheap Trick tune to bookend the classic from the Fab Four. Some of the crowd, however, loved the entire thing, and in the end, that’s the most important thing. The crowd also went a little crazy during the band’s last song, dancing in between tables and getting others to get up and dance, which was appropriate seeing as the band’s last tune was one of its most upbeat of the entire set.
Overall, I enjoyed the band’s set and would not be against seeing them again, and think that they have a solid foundation to build upon as they continue to play. However, I would suggest that the band listen to and learn from some of the less jangly and more power of the jangle/power pop artists, like Big Star, Jason Falkner, Matthew Sweet, Jellyfish, and Teenage Fan Club (if they haven’t already), and start to expand their sound to something bigger which may (or may not) help them gain some new fans. At the very least listening to those bands and artists would expand their musical knowledge and give them some inspiration to create some more great pop/rock songs.