The Pretty Reckless are what I was searching for during my Jagged Little Pill phase: brooding, sometimes bratty, always catchy melodies over classic rock-grunge. I finally found what I was looking for at the Grog Shop on Saturday.
Frontwoman Taylor Momsen (Gossip Girl star and tabloid perennial) has a honey-dripped, Marlboro-ravaged voice that recalls Courtney Love, Debbie Harry, and even Stevie Nicks at times. And she was a force onstage.
Momsen and the three guys who make up the Pretty Reckless opened with “Since You’re Gone,” from their debut album Light Me Up. Through heavily lined raccoon eyes, Momsen told the kinda-sedate audience to “wake the fuck up” two times before they finally did.
The raw immediacy of the band's set was pleasantly surprising. Momsen seems genuinely dedicated to her music and not just another self-indulgent actor slumming as a rock star.
One of the show's highlights came during “Goin' Down,” when several girls in the audience stripped to their bras to dance with the band. Another show-stopper (literally!) came midway in “My Medicine,” when an audience member passed out and the concert had to be sidelined while paramedics took the fainted girl away.
But best musically was “Factory Girl.” Underneath a halo of ratty blond hair, Momsen released a ferocious rock scream that summed up her rock & roll.
Despite her bratty public image, Momsen was a gracious and charismatic performer during her band's brief set. And to the surprise of the haters who were there to check out Momsen the actress rather than Momsen the rock star,she lit it up. —Jara Anton