The Levitt Pavilion concert series has started and the Tracks followed by the Regrettes played a show on Thursday night with some ferocity and determination stretching well beyond their young age. The Tracks, which were named after the forgotten LA trolley tracks, made a big impression with an explosive performance driven by frontman Venancio Bermudez’s impetuous singing. His bold and bright voice resonated under the Levitt dome while the ardor of the guitars were reminiscent of English post-punk/rock bands… There was something a bit vintage about them, and even though their sound was more 80s than 60s, but I couldn’t get Richie Valens out of my mind while watching Bermudez’ high waist pants and his lock of hair swinging above his expressive face. The young band is from East LA, the poorest part of town, and Bermudez is the son of undocumented immigrants (his father was a mariachi from Nayarit, while his mother was a cowgirl from Jalisco), a story which resonates strongly in today’s context.
Even though I mentioned Richie Valens and Latino immigrants, there was nothing really Chicano in their music, they even sounded like the Smiths at times, and you can’t go whiter than Morrissey, but there is probably a connection between the economic reality of Manchester and Boyle Heights.
As they continued to play their relatively short set, the intensity of the music increased with the help drummer Jaime Conde, bassist Felipe Contreras and guitarist Jesiel Higuera.One thing was certain, their music was much more than your next garage rock’s last production, they sounded bold and rocked with a rare assurance and defiance, blurring the genres and the many cultures of LA, ending into a violent and meteoric guitar crash that made the girls scream. This fall, the Tracks will release a debut album produced by Lewis Pesacov (Best Coast, FIDLAR, Guards), so watch out for them!
The Regrettes followed and the almost all-girl band (they have Maxx Morando on drums!) kept the fire burning with their drum-fiery melodious songs led by the fearless Lydia Night. Their songs are catchy with a subjacent 60s vibe, but wildly animated by a punk spirit while Lydia’s bright vocals constantly lead the game thanks to her outspoken lyrics. She is the kind of girl to pick up a boy ‘Hey now, what’s your name?/You’re really cute and really nice/I think we should go on a date’, she sang in Hey Now’, while she doesn’t hesitate to dump him the next minute, ‘The things I said before at the time were true/But now the truth has changed because I don’t like you’, she boldly affirms in ‘I don’t like You’.
Surrounded by the attentive Genessa Gariano on guitar, and the smiling Sage Nicole on bass, Lydia was the center of attraction, whether she was constantly moving while playing guitar or getting closer to the crowd to charm everyone in her blue and white cheerleader outfit. Once again, there was something retro and almost vintage about them, like a 50s TV series soundtrack backed up by a 2017 boldness. These are the kid of girls – and I can call them girls as most of them are still in their teens – to never apologize, throwing songs to everyone’s face, with lyrics that probably come straight from Lydia’s own diary. ‘You’re talkin’ to me like a child/Hey I’ve got news, I’m not a little girl’, she sang during ‘Seashore’ with a feminist assurance so rare for her age… . ‘But I’m not a helpless baby/Not waitin’ on you to come save me/I’m like nobody else, so you can just go fuck yourself,’ she continued like a true grrrl riot offspring, with a mix of emotional nostalgia and visible rawness. ‘Feel Your Feelings Fool!’ is the title of their debut album and you can’t be more direct than this, the Regrettes are never afraid to tell like it is while revealing a subjacent vulnerability, and this made the young girls on my left sang along the lyrics of all the songs.
The Regrettes and the Tracks are young and outspoken, they sweat LA’s youthful and vibrant music scene and they are not waiting for your approval to keep going.
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