Mario Cuomo, frontman for The Orwells does not give a fuck what song you want to hear – he just wants to play good music and good music is exactly what him and his compatriots delivered last Thursday at The Regent alongside No Parents and The Walters. Despite all three bands delivering a slightly different sound, the one thing they all shared in common was their rousing ability to cut loose and cavort on the rising star friendly stage at The Regent. One thing we love is the red carpet that is rolled out for every rock and roller by this global community in independent music- which is particularly defined for and fighting the stigma of phoniness in Los Angeles with every hospitable act and selfless key bump.
Arriving to the venue at 9:30pm, I was greeted by angsty teens pushing and shoving while howling the words “You got snaked” under the elegant arches of The Regent. With most of their songs coming in as a two minute blow to the face, I could have easily missed No Parents entire set seeing as they opened the show at the early hour of 9pm- at least I didn’t miss it all.
Zoe Reign stood center stage in a long black skirt and blazer…
…prancing around flipping his hair from side to side while twirling his mic around like a man in a top hat and a cane. Reign’s constant colossal rolls and enthusiastic singing created this buoyant energy between him and bassist Killian LeDuke and guitarist Davis LeDuke. Everything about their performance verified exactly why No Parents have been no strangers to Janky Smooth. However, this time around, a new member, Justin Eckley of Melted, head banged and shred the guitar as if he’s been playing with them since the inception of No Parents. In a world where the president of the United States mistakes 911 for 711, a world where technology hears you telling a friend about meditation and suddenly you have 15 ads for mindfulness on your Facebook, a world where you have to travel to New York to get a decent slice of pizza (with the exception of Purgatory pizza), at least we have No Parents. We can always depend on these dudes to deliver a performance that will exorcise our woes while screaming “D-I-E- H- I- double P-Y- DIE!”
I Wondered Why The Walters Got Top Billing Among Supporting Acts
Next to take the stage were The Orwells’ Chicago little brothers, The Walters. Two songs in and I begged the question why No Parents opened the night – then came the merciless flood of fangirls. At this point, I definitely needed a cold beverage that wasn’t hate-o-rade, so I made my way to one of the three conveniently placed bars. Because the average age of the crowd was seemingly under 21, I managed to avoid any beer lines for the entirety of the show!
Upon heading back to the stage I noticed the fumbling, albeit charming dork, Luke Olson, singing into his mic with a purposeful ferociousness. The guitar work was interesting and polished but a bit predictable. As the sweat glistened from Olson’s hairless chest, the girls that barricaded the front of the stage pierced my ears with their screams like some kind of wild banshees. Olson jumped into the crowd and the ladies went wild to cop a feel of that sweet sweet sweat of his. I guess that’ll happen after two consecutive years of being awarded “biggest hunks medal of honor”.
Their music seemed more fit for the first band of the day for a side stage at Coachella, rather than a band that No Parents just opened for. For whatever reason, it really bothered me that they got a higher billing. Their vivacious moves were a performance of their own, breaking out in jiu jitsu at one point. The energy they exude is a pogo more than a pushing of the person closest to you, ala the energy of No Parents and The Orwells. That being said, the indie hipster deep down inside of me was pretty damn pleased and I found out later that The Walters have been the main support for the entirety of this tour so, I only drank half my hater-ade.
Pro Tip: Don’t Shout Your Live Song Requests to Bands Like The Orwells
Headlining the evening were The Orwells. If you haven’t heard of them yet you may as well return to that fucking rock you’ve been living under…or keep on reading and take my strong advice to go see them. The precocious twenty-something- year olds deliver some of the best music I’ve heard coming from Chicago since I discovered Twin Peaks, or, the music that is coming out of any city, for that matter. While being notorious for being “young” and “bratty”, basing their talent on their age is almost as redundant and irrelevant as being impressed that women can actually shred guitar or some blogs list of the “best chick drummers in rock.”
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With their recent release of Terrible Human Beings, in February, both new and old songs appeared on their set list and the crowd seemed to know every word to every song. The youths shouted the lyrics to new jams like “They Put A Body In The Bayou” and chanted “Let it Burn” from their sophomore album, Disgraceland. The biggest disgrace of all was the shouting of requests in between songs, at which point, front man Mario Cuomo expressed his annoyance,
“Shut the fuck up. You’re a bunch of nine year olds who just spent $20 each for a ticket.”
Some might think that to be “asshole-ish.” I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about his outburst in that moment but was able to speak to Cuomo a bit later to understand where he was coming from (see below). I DO firmly believe we need to get back to previous generations teaching young groms how to act right without them being triggered into their safe spaces.
That being said, I’d much rather fan kids be obnoxious and loud than the obnoxious way some kids can hardly muster any excitement at all at some of the shows I’ve been to, as of late.
With his long locks now dyed black, his enthusiastic, dramatic and spastic moves and the great fervor emitting from his voice, watching Cuomo was reminiscent of watching Davey Havok perform, circa 2002. I was 12-years-old watching that incredible being raise hell on stage and I was utterly dumbfounded – I imagined the obnoxious teens in this crowd viewed Cuomo like I viewed Havok when I was only slightly less obnoxious than them.
The Orwells’ performance put the security guards to the test as the rising tides of youth swam across their counterparts, hoping to crash at the stage before being rejected by a 200 pound man who was not having it. Their hormone fueled, haphazard set ended with “Double Feature,” which just so happened to make its way on my top ten songs of 2016.
After the show, I joined the bands for a few drinks and slackened by booze, I bluntly told Cuomo that he sounded like a dick head telling his audience to shut the fuck up. I asked if he wanted to elaborate on what he said, in which he replied,
“Every band has a set list so the last thing we want to hear is the song you want to hear screamed out between the songs that we’ve already played. I don’t know. Going into a show, kids should just know that theres already a set list and yelling out a song they really want to hear if we’re not going to get around to it its sort of just the last thing a band wants to hear. Sometimes it gets a little agitating. Kids should think about that going into a show. Theres already a set list and maybe they’ll play the song you want but screaming it in between the songs that were playing isn’t going to get you what you want.”
I’m fucking stoked I got to see the young legends that are The Orwells. They could very well become one of the iconic bands of this era in the current disjointed and dysfunctional business of music. I’m grateful that we are in an era that requires a fire burning in your heart to make teens want to fight or fuck or spend that last $20 to go see your band- just don’t tell them what songs to play because, in the case of Mario Cuomo of The Orwells, no fucks will be given in telling you to “Shut the fuck up”, fuckers.
Words: Paige Vreede
Photos: Taylor Wong