It’s 7 pm on a Friday, I’m surrounded by a diverse crowd of all ages, and I’m at the front of the stage – I’m at the House of Blues in Orlando, waiting to see The Pretty Reckless for the fourth time.
I have seen this band at three festivals: Welcome to Rockville & MMRBQ in 2015, and Voodoo Festival last weekend. This would be the first time I would be seeing them perform at their own headlining show, and at night as well.
8 o’clock rolls around and the first opener comes on. Them Evils is a hard rock group from Orange County, CA. Jordan Griffin, lead guitarist/vocalist, almost sounds like Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe, with a wide range and good utilization of vocal distortion. The group started off the night with a lot of energy and got the crowd really excited for what was to come.
Next up, around 8:45, was Holy White Hounds. Definite showmen, this group was good too, sounding a bit more alternative than the previous group. They seemed to be really enjoying being on stage and fooled around with each other a lot, showing strong chemistry between them. Frontman Brenton Dean made a shout out to Orlando for the events it had endured as a community this past year, which was heartwarming.
Finally, at about 10:05, the lights shut off. Ben Phillips, Marc Damon, and Jamie Perkins climbed the stage and took their positions.
Cricket chirps and porno sound effects were heard as a slender & tall blonde figure waltzed toward the center, grabbing the microphone. She put her head down and swayed in place as the cymbal started to intensify and police sirens echoed. The lights blasted as the group pounded into the first notes of “Follow Me Down,” with the slender and tall figure flipping her blonde hair.
If this show opener doesn’t give you a rush of conflicting feelings, you probably need to reevaluate your taste in live performances.
After the song finishes, Taylor Momsen screams out to Orlando to introduce themselves.
Next, they break into “Since You’re Gone,” from their first record. Momsen creeps around the stage from side to side, screeching about how her life has been “quite nicely actually.”
“Oh My God” came after, full of ballistic instrumentation and raspy vocals, followed by “Make Me Wanna Die” and “My Medicine,” where Momsen picked up a guitar and asked who was drinking, dedicating the song to them.
“You guys are fuckin’ great….it’s sweet man. So sweet, I may call you sweet things…”
“Sweet Things” is usually one of their best performances of the set. With a pounding bass/drum combo and crisp guitar, the track starts off heavy and fast paced before calming down, where Momsen and Phillips sing back and forth to each other. Momsen dances seductively as Phillips suggests for her to “come inside” for “some sweet things.”
This song is most notable for Momsen’s screaming, “Hey where ya goin, I wasn’t through. I’m gonna have my way with you.” Her voice almost sounds demonic as the scream descends and she drops to the floor.
Next was “Living in the Storm.” After, she introduced “Heaven Knows” by noting that it was the number one rock song of 2014 thanks to her fans, and that she still doesn’t believe it. It started off with some guitar riffs that were in homage to Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” before exploding into the track itself. The crowd was super engaged during this song. They played “Going to Hell” after, which was another one for crowd participation.
They ended the set with “Take Me Down,” where Momsen picked up a guitar again. Then they came back on and did “Fucked up World” as an encore, running offstage halfway through to give Jamie Perkins an extended drum solo that was accompanied by several backing tracks.
My mind was no less blown than any previous time I had seen them.
It’s very interesting to see the way the band has evolved the way they play the songs off their first record now. Being that the tracks from Light Me Up had more of a studio-produced and pop-oriented feel, I really enjoy the hard-rock twist they have implemented into them.
If there is anything I wish to see differently at future performances, it is the inclusion of some slower songs into the set. I saw on some of their setlists that they have been doing “Just Tonight,” which I would have absolutely loved to hear live. Every rock and roll set needs a calm song here and there. One that people can sway and hold up their lighters to.
Additionally, I hope to see more new songs added to the sets as well. This would probably require a longer set, but songs like “Hangman” and “The Devil’s Back” definitely deserve a spot in this tour.
After the show, we decided to go and wait by the bus to see if we could meet them. I had seen pictures on Instagram all week of fans meeting Taylor Momsen after the shows, so my expectations were high and I was really looking forward to asking what she thought of the previous articles I have done, since she had acknowledged them on Twitter.
I got to speak to Marc Damon. He was extremely friendly and mentioned that he had read the first two reviews of Who You Selling For. He said the band appreciates the articles and the reviews and that it was nice to meet me. Despite his rough-rocker look, he is very down to earth.
After three hours, we did see Taylor come off the bus and wait behind the fence. Our hopes were high until Disney security told us we would have to leave, and she got back on the bus and it drove off. This was obviously disappointing, but shit happens. Not my first time watching an artist drive away (cc: Axl Rose on the golf cart). Better luck next time.
Go see The Pretty Reckless while they’re still in the states. Their European tour starts in January & you won’t want to miss it.