Earlier this month, melodic punk rockers The Pretty Reckless brought their head and heart pounding show to Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre.
Formed in 2009, the Pretty Reckless have amassed legions of fans around the world. Though many may have had their interest in the band piqued by frontwoman and former TV starlet Taylor Momsen’s participation, fan loyalty has been earned by the band’s honest to goodness great songs and powerhouse live performances. With a full length album (Light Me Up) and an EP (Hit Me Like a Man) to their names, the Pretty Reckless teased the crowed at the Phoenix with hints from their upcoming album Going to Hell, packaged in with another one of their killer live shows.
While most eyes in the venue may have been on Momsen, Ben Phillips (lead guitar, backing vocals), Mark Damon (bass) and Jamie Perkins (drums) did more than just back up the starlet turned singing siren. The melancholy lyrics were perfectly accompanied by Damon’s throbbing baselines, Perkins’s pounding drums and Philips’s thundering guitar riffs. But the definite surprise to the uninitiated came, of course, from Momsen. As the first notes of “Follow Me Down” erupted from the singer’s pale throat, those who weren’t already die-hard fans couldn’t help but be impressed by the power and intensity that her voice contained. Alternating between seductive and rageful, Momsen’s voice radiated strength, with surprising range and depth. But her voice wasn’t the only part of her act that packed a punch. Writhing and undulating like a sexy snake, Momsen’s every move was calculated and perfectly timed, effortless by design. Well-versed in the art of stage seduction, Momsen’s many years in front of the camera have clearly taught her how to emote and connect with an audience. The difference now is that the singer is clearly in her element, her passion for her music and for performing flowing off the stage in waves. From seeing her perform, it was clear that Taylor Momsen has completed her evolution from Cindy Lou Who, left behind Little J and emerged as the quintessential metal maven.
With a crowd that in love with a band, calling every song a fan favourite wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. “Kill Me” elicited some of the highest pitched squeals from the female dominated crowd, while “My Medicine” impressed music lovers by Momsen’s turn on the guitar. “Make Me Want To Die,” the first song the band ever released together pretty much brought the house down, while the latest single “Going to Hell” made its appearance and served to remind the crowd that the best is yet to come from The Pretty Reckless. The band returned for an encore that started with a fantastic cover of Audioslave’s “Like a Stone,” before transitioning back into the metal-edged melodies that TPR are known for.
*all photos by Nadia Elkharadly