"Music should be big," says Laura Regan of Bridget and the Squares, a piano and drum duo from Brooklyn, New York. Regan and drummer Kyle Thompson stand outside of Cast Away Yarn Shop in Santa Rosa after a swooping and energetic set played before a pleased Monday night crowd. 21 year-old Thompson, the band's drummer since last September, drives the the songs with a gleeful, hard-hitting precision while Regan's husky, powerful voice swoops between soaring melodies Piano tends to carry an element of drama and the band drinks from the vein of Amanda Palmer, wearing theatrics on their sleeve, with an ease made possible by reach-for-the-sky and hit-the-mark vocals.
28 year-old Regan, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, says that recently she made a leap in her music, moving away from twee indie rock to a more bombastic sound, inspired by the "epic arrangements" of bands like Muse and Ours. "I stopped wanting to disguise the intense emotions and just wanted to attack them," says the petite, black-haired woman, "It's funny because I'm small, but I like big things."
The Boston native says that finding a musical kinship with Thompson, a recent transplant from Las Vegas, has helped bring the band's sound closer to her vision; she grins while describing practices that grew progressively "louder and louder and more intense." As we talk, an enamoured fan shoves a cell phone into Regan's hand, asking her to say hello to his friend, and she does so with the friendly enthusiasm that exudes from the band in general.
In the midst of a U.S. tour (fueled by yogurt, carrots, and hummus--they say with a laugh), Bridget and the Squares plays in Las Vegas next and then make their way south, so try to see them before they hit the big time so you can say you "knew them when..."
Opening for the band was the Chelsea Set, a new Santa Rosa project comprised of folks from the Spindles. Singer Sari Flowers spins wry, feminist lyrics around lilting pop melodies, like a cross between the Go-Go's, the Spinanes, and Lucinda Williams. It was just the kind of music you want to hear while surrounded by skeins of red, pink, green and glittery wool and alpaca; the perfect music for a warm summer night in the soft belly of an Alice in Wonderland-esque yarn shop.
*Photos by Kate Polacci