“No regrets”, sang Robbie Williams, “they don’t work”. Robbie Williams isn’t at Reading Festival trying to make laboured introductions to so-buzzy-right-now pop rockers The Regrettes (see what we did there?! – Ed), though, so what does he know?
Bollocks all, it turns out. From the opening blast of ‘I Don’t Like You’, The Regrettes are a band undeterred by the sheer scale of Reading’s biggest platform. Early slots to sparse crowds have sunk far more experienced bands in the past, but with basement punk rattle in full flow, they’re more than capable of turning a huge field into a tiny dive bar.
That is until ‘Come Through’ takes hold. Spinning on a wave of raw energy, there’s band claps and dancing aplenty. The kind of legit banger that a set turns on, The Regrettes are suddenly a different proposition. In your face, they’re the antidote to a male dominated Main Stage bill. As the audience grows, so does the momentum. Soon there’s a request for “an all lady pit” for ‘A Living Human Girl’, followed by the high kicking frenzy of ‘Red Light’. There’s even the confidence to try out new material in the form of fresh cut ‘California Friend’, all call and response and high flying handclaps.
A quick proclamation that Reading is “the best”, a thrash through a cover of ‘Ballroom Blitz’, and they’re away. Those Regrettes might just work after all, Rob.
Words: Stephen Ackroyd