You can’t deny it, Taylor Momsen is definitely making a determined effort to shed her Gossip Girl alter ego. Taylor and her New York band The Pretty Reckless’s latest release, Going to Hell, is all snarling vocals and rebellious attitude. And Taylor is determined that if she is going to hell, she’s going to look sexy doing it.
There seems to be plenty of people who don’t like Taylor. Epithets such as “self-centred” and “provocative” have been thrown at her and I’ve even heard her be labelled a brat. When the band erupted onto the music scene back in 2010, Taylor found herself on a Channel 4 list of most annoying celebrities, keeping company with the likes of Heston Blumenthal. A bit harsh?
However to many, the Pretty Reckless is a guilty pleasure. There were certainly plenty of fans in attendance on the night I went to see them. The audience was filled with blonde haired, grungy, eyelinered girls, although we saw our fair share of older fans too. The confined, intimate surroundings of the Oxford O2 Arena suit the band and as we waited for them to start, anticipation was pretty high.
This anticipation was whipped up by the appearance of a silhouette seen through the stage backdrop, as the band launched into the opening riff of Follow Me Down. From then on, the crowd were guaranteed an entertaining night as Taylor gyrated and panted her way through the band’s back catalogue.
The music is the kicker though and you can’t deny that The Pretty Reckless have some pretty good tunes. The band unveiled their latest single House on a Hill, which proved popular with the crowd, despite its political leanings. Around the midway point, the band launched into their most well-known song Make Me Wanna Die which was met by roars of approval from the crowd. A lot of the fans will know the band by hearing this one on the Kick-Ass soundtrack, and it certainly proved popular, with the crowd singing along at certain parts.
The band seemed to engage with their fans well, with Taylor electrifying the stage with her stage presence and the killer riffs, which sent the fans insane. The band closed out with Fucked Up World, which showcases the band and their sound well.
At some points, Momsen’s rock chick persona seems contrived. However, she appears to work well with the band and contrary to other reviews I’ve read, I felt her and her band mates had good chemistry. If straight forward rock n’ roll is your thing, then The Pretty Reckless has plenty to please. Whether the band has staying power is another question, however for now, they can be guaranteed to provide a night of good entertainment.