When The Pretty Reckless first leapt on the scene back in early 2010, many people believed it was yet another movie star’s vanity project; however 4 years, 2 albums and 2 EPs, have passed and Taylor Momsen has proved to be one of the leading lights for female musicians in the rock genre.
Opening the night was the relatively unknown Nothing More [7/10] who hailed from San Antonio, Texas. What the band lacked in popular tracks, they more than made up for in enthusiasm. Their energy onstage has been something they have crafted over the best part of a decade, with relentless touring. The whole band possessed this incredible knack of being able to create a spectacle, which included the likes of multiple band members, all playing the one bass guitar using a variety of methods whether it be with hands or drum sticks. Their high tempo, easily accessible music made for a fun start of the evening.
All the members of Heaven’s Basement [6/10] have this incredible aura of being Rock Stars as well as effortlessly cool so when they strolled onto stage, many felt like they were watching a younger version of Guns N Roses or AC/DC. Those “Classic” rock bands from the 80’s have obviously heavily influenced Heaven’s Basement’s music as well as their presence on stage. The guitarist, Sid Glover, channeled his inner Brian May at times with great riffs and incredible solos while frontman, Aaron Buchanan, had a touch of Freddie Mercury with his ambitious vocal performance. Having only released one full-length album, as they had just come out of the studio especially for this tour, it left the band a little thin on the ground for quality songs for the majority of the set.
When a black curtain fell down, covering the stage, the audience felt braced for a stage show that had occupied hundreds of arenas around the world. When the curtain dropped as The Pretty Reckless [4/10] dove straight into ‘Follow Me Down’. For the opening notes of the song, the crowd was hypnotized by The Pretty Reckless’ gorgeous frontwoman, Taylor Momsen. With the rest of the band dressed in all black and standing firmly at the back of the stage, Momsen became the ringleader for the night’s activities. With a set that consisted vastly of material off of Going To Hell, it leads for a slightly lackluster set.
While the material sounds better live than on record, musically speaking, the band are miles behind bands that usually grace this stage. The majority of the set felt very repetitive, with very little changing with neither the sound of the songs nor the almost pre-choreographed routine of the band on stage. With a rock band who have toured with individuals such as Guns N Roses and Marilyn Manson, there was a serious lack of any spark to make the set anything more than one dimensional. If it wasn’t for the fact that all the crew and venue staff looking genuinely concerned and worried when the PR crashed during ‘Heaven Knows’, many would have believed that the stunt was preplanned. Ending on a triage of hit singles, with ‘Makes Me Wanna Die’ followed by ‘Heaven Knows’ then ‘Going To Hell’ the band finally looked like a force to be reckoned with, as the audience sung out every word as loud as they could. However when the band left the stage, ready for to do an encore, the crowd promptly got ready to go home for the night.
With the odd shout of “One more song”, The Pretty Reckless returned to the stage. Ending the nights festivities with their new single, “F***ed Up World”, was a questionable choice however the fact that the band decided to include a drum solo that consisted around 10 minutes, many fans decided that it was time to go. This was done throughout the night as the whole set was smattered with solos that felt more like the members that wanted to indulge in their instruments over try to put on a show for their fans.
Overall, as the band finally left the stage, you were left with a feeling that if it wasn’t for Taylor Momsen’s looks, and her previous work as an actress, the band would be playing venues a fraction of this size. If The Pretty Reckless are one of the leading lights for rock n roll for the future, maybe Gene Simmons was right and rock is now dead.