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Regrettes’ rock vet voices sociopolitical concerns

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From left, Maxx Morando, Genessa Gariano, Lydia Night and Sage Nicole are The Regrettes. (Courtesy Jen Rosenstein)

A decade ago, Santa Monica native Lydia Night saw the Bay Area all-girl group The Donnas and was so inspired, she got a guitar, started composing, and formed her first band, LILA (Little Independent Loving Artists) within months. Later, after playing in an unsuccessful duo, she met guitarist Genessa Gariano, bassist Sage Nicole and drummer Maxx Morando, and hit punk-pop paydirt as The Regrettes, who appear in San Francisco this week, promoting their Warner Bros. debut “Feel Your Feelings Fool!”

It might sound like a common rock and roll origin story, but it’s not. Night, who turns 17 in October, still lives at home with her folks, where she’s balancing tour dates with senior-year high school studies. She still takes guitar lessons from the same tutor her father found for her at age 5, after he brought his daughter to that Donnas gig.

Onstage — opening for similar-minded outfits like PINS, Sleigh Bells and Deap Vally — she snarls and strums with the authority of the seasoned vet she is.

She writes snarky songs — “Seashore,” “Pale Skin,” “A Living Human Girl” — from a socio-political perspective.

There are eerie days when she feels like an old soul, someone following preordained footsteps from a past life. “I get along with adults a lot, just because I know a lot about stuff that’s happened before I was born,” she says. “But that’s because my parents have always been really into educating me on earlier culture, with movies and TV shows and music. That’s why I think I’m wise beyond my years. But at the same time,” she adds with a giggle, “I am very much a teenage girl.”

Night assembled The Regrettes – friends she met at after-school music program The School of Rock — to communicate the anxiety, insecurity and frustration she was feeling as an awkward arts-loving kid, navigating amplified social media culture that pressures young women to seek unrealistic Hollywood ideals of beauty and fashion, even as their constitutional rights are being attacked by the new administration.

“I’ve been writing songs since I was 6,” says Night, who proudly took part in January’s big anti-Trump Women’s March. “That’s just how I’ve learned to cope with certain things, to get me through them. Just sitting down and writing how you’re feeling? And now that turns into a song that’s helping other people? That’s really crazy, really weird.”

IF YOU GO
The Frights, with The Regrettes
Where: Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 25
Tickets: $15 to $17 (sold out)
Contact: (415) 551-5157, www.ticketfly.com

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