OTwo Reviews: The Pretty Reckless Live

Image Credit: digboston via Wikipedia Commons

Isabella Ambrosio reviews the band The Pretty Reckless’s live gig in Dublin at 3Olympia.

The Pretty Reckless, best known for their album Going to Hell (2014), have been around since 2009. Fronted by Taylor Momsen (vocals, rhythm guitar), it’s obvious that while Ben Phillips (lead guitar), Jamie Perkins (drums) and Mark Damon (bass) flourish as instrumentalists, Momsen is the show. She was an incredible vocalist to watch live.

My tickets were at the booth. For this gig we were given actual tickets, which was amazing, and even more amazing were the seats that we were assigned. At first, we were upset that we weren't standing in the middle of the crowd, but when we found our way up to our box, I stood, looking at my best friend with a look of, ‘Oh, damn!’. 

We sat in our seats on the second level of boxes, our chairs as close as possible to the ledge, peering over at where Taylor Momsen would be standing. 

The Cruel Knives have very little public information, but it was a quick follow from me on Instagram

If you were an emo in 2014, you knew who Taylor Momsen was. She was the frontwoman of not only her band, but the website Tumblr as well. Everyone reblogged her pictures, lyrics from her band, shaping blogs about Momsen’s aesthetic. I was guilty of reblogging several pictures of Momsen. She had transformed from a child actress into a rockstar.

The opening act was fantastic. The Cruel Knives have very little public information, but it was a quick follow from me on Instagram as soon as they started their second song. They were passionate, exciting. It was interesting to watch the crowd transform over their set, from a bit lifeless in the beginning, the occasional head bob here and there, to amped and head-banging by the time they were finished. The Cruel Knives did exactly that. They transformed a lifeless crowd into one that was screaming loudly, bouncing around and feeding off the frontman’s energy. The lead guitarist’s solos were insane. They have a new single out now called ‘Overdose’, I believe.

Momsen was small, but towered on her platforms. She walked on that stage like she owned it. And to be honest, she did. She was short and skinny, but her voice was not. It was raspy, deep, full of power and incredible control. No matter her movements on the stage, her voice did not waver. She would skip, leap, and bound, dancing next to the drum kit, moving at every moment - her voice stayed exactly the same. It was incredible. She gave everything in songs such as ‘Death by Rock and Roll’, ‘Make Me Wanna Die’, and ‘Miss Nothing’. But, as the show progressed, Momsen unravelled and relaxed, feeling so unbelievably comfortable on stage that it was hard not to watch her. 

Phillips, Perkins and Damon thrived off the energy of the crowd, playing off each other every now and then, but never using the microphones unless they were providing backing vocals. It was one of the first shows I’ve been to where no one but the vocalist uses the microphone. Obviously, this amplified the effect of the attention being on Momsen. But, when The Pretty Reckless performed hits such as ‘Heaven Knows’, ‘My Medicine’, and ‘Going to Hell’, Momsen fed off the energy of the crowd, bursting into her best notes. Her confidence was apparent throughout the entire set, but it was beautifully cocky during their most popular songs, a joy to watch.

The show was filled with amazing vocals, shredding guitars, chugging basslines and powerful drums. The Pretty Reckless are entertainers, knowing how to work a crowd, time a show, and create interludes. 

When The Pretty Reckless performed hits such as ‘Heaven Knows’, ‘My Medicine’, and ‘Going to Hell’, Momsen fed off the energy of the crowd

Which made their newest release Other Worlds so interesting. Their newest release is an LP with one heavy song on it, featuring previous songs such as ‘25’ and ‘Death by Rock and Roll’ as acoustics, and included a few features over more country-style, acoustic tracks. All but one track was acoustic. Going from seeing Momsen as such a powerful frontwoman with thrashing guitars, to a more vulnerable performer with mellowed vocals is a strange transition, but an intriguing one nonetheless. It shows Momsen’s vocal range and ability to stretch herself over different genres. And I won’t lie, I love a good guitar shred. So, I’m incredibly interested in The Pretty Reckless and what they’ve been up to.