Orwells Perform Sold Out Show at the Regent

On March 30, the Orwells headlined a sold out show at the Regent in Los Angeles. This is the only show I've ever been to where opening acts No Parents and The Walters have frontmen, who, in a similarly arrogant style, matched the self-indulgent, over-the-top theatrics exhibited by the Orwells' lead singer Mario Cuomo.

While I wasn't too keen on this performance, I think this is one of the most interesting band and fan dynamics I've seen yet. There was a mutual connection between Orwells frontman, Cuomo, and the crazed fangirls from the crowd. Cuomo could tell the fans aggressively to shut up, even swearing at them, and the fans would in turn become more alive, feeding into this frenzy.

Regardless of whether it's just his personality, or a tactic of reverse psychology to illicit the crowd's excitement, his performance of a disdainful, arrogant character drew the audience in. Cuomo stage presence cemented (and arguably saved) the performance. His theatrical fits of passion brought the grit these songs needed to become alive and electrifying

Their performance was grimy, loud, raucous and imperfect, the foundational components of punk rock. Though they executed most songs well, none from new album, Terrible Human Being, were memorable, as there wasn't much range in instrumentation or vocals. There were some notable songs which consisted of "Dirty Sheets," "Gotta Get Down" and "Blood Bubbles," all oldies from prior albums.

The Orwells are young and impassioned. I see improvement in this band's future, and hopefully it's in the realm of becoming more refined cohesively.  I also found it striking how there was a lack of some sort of  female presence, as the night's line up only consisted of male performers. With no representation, each band's set only seemed to solidify a sense of male dominance in the rock scene, an issue that could definitely use some improvement.

Overall, the Orwells' rambunctious Chicago suburban spirit reiterates a common trope of rock band origin stories: sick of the burbs, angsty kids take up music as a way to vent, and eventually escape the confines of a small town.

Photos by Whitney Levine