The rock of this generation follows three basic principles for success. Rock pairs 1) brilliant and talented musicianship with 2) live theatrically and 3) a dearly devoted fan base. The perfected triple threat must be mastered in order to reach pique flawlessness. The Pretty Reckless has in many cases done just that. The band certainly has mashed together brilliant and talented musicians, creating music that is heavy thudded yet ethereal. Lead singer Taylor Momsen has moved past her teen acting, Momsen was a lead actress in hit Gossip Girl, to become a charging leading lady. Throughout the show Momsen’s powerhouse vocals reverberated through the room. Part sultry and part rasp the voice displays the continuation of great female rock singers. Alongside the voice are three masterminds of sound.
Guitar player Ben Phillips filled each instrumental with absolutely mind-blowing guitar riffs, perhaps the best I have heard in a live rock performance. Not to be overshadowed drummer Jamie Perkins had an extensive solo that filled an interlude during the encore. A mixture of track overlays, that included a repetition of the Jocker’s laugh, and emphatic drum beating the solo was hard rock turned palatable. Bassist Mark Damon kept the band in syncopated rhythm throughout the show, a strong confidant that is no doubt the cornerstone of the band.
It is unique to have each band member on such similar levels of talent. Neither outshined the other, rather working like a heartbeat they all ebbed and flowed the audience into a rock lull. The absolute insanity of their talent, demonstrated throughout the albums and certainly in the show, was paralleled by the theatricality of the show.
To be a rock band in this century means to be deeply entrenched in the theatricality of a live performance. Like any other genre, the live show is of paramount importance as it is not merely an income generator but also a way to disperse music through energetic and captivating fashion. The show at the Institute was just that for The Pretty Reckless. From the onslaught the band had the audiences’ blood pumping and heartbeats racing. Mixing old songs with new, the band flooded the room with sound. Fan favourites from the like “Heaven Knows,” “Going to Hell,” “Take Me Down,” and “Fucked Up World” threw the audience into a fist pumping frenzy. The tribal beats of each song climaxed into primordial roars and chants.
The intoxicating mixture of sound was enhanced by the aesthetic display of lights. Shifting from stage lighting of deep blues and purples to red and oranges, the stage itself seemed to undulate with a life of its own. In it was the display of Hell and darkness, a typical necessity for any good rock show. In repetition strobe lights flashed along with the drummers incessant beats, each tambourine strike bringing about a new pattern. The show was not merely a cacophony of sound; it was also a feast for the eyes. It is this type of show, a massive compilation of aesthetics that feeds from a more contrived pop setting, which defines this era of rock. No longer is it simply about a euphoric musical experience headlined by the band, it is that with the addition of a captivating stage display that enhances the mood and atmosphere of the music.
So The Pretty Reckless are gifted musicians, they have a great live show, but what else? The third part for the flawless band is a dearly devoted set of fans. A mixture of black leather and heavy eyeliner flooded into the Institute. As fans swarmed and buzzed like hibernating bees there was an obvious excitement. From the moment the house lights went on to the moment they went off the fans where absolutely enthralled and focused on the band. With each song came louder proclamations of adoration. Each new song brought about more fervent singing and emotional outcries. Truly some of the most dedicated I have witnessed, The Pretty Reckless has capitalized on fan interaction to promote dedication. With each new song the band invested into the fans, asking them life questions and pleading for participation. The relationships between band and fan seemed mutually beneficial, a balance that is usually difficult to come by with any group of musicians.
The Pretty Reckless absolutely obliterated the Institute. With pure rock status they beat their lyrics and instrumentals into the bodies of the fans so that everyone became amassed into the performance. This type of rock typifies the new rockers of this generation. With extreme faculties paired with the overseeing of fan’s wellbeing, The Pretty Reckless’ show encapsulates the passionate dedication to rock that runs through so many. The performance is an archetype of what rock can be, and where it is headed for the future.
Reviewer – Kylie McCormick
Photographer – Andy Watson