Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Still in Hell" Tour at HOB in San Diego, California (Oct 12, 2014)

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FULL CONCERT AFTER THE JUMP!

"Still in Hell" Tour at HOB in Anaheim, California (Oct 11, 2014)

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The Pretty Reckless At The Wiltern: Review!

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Stepping inside the Wiltern Friday night would give you no confusion as to who was performing.
Sonia Gumuchian|Neon Tommy
Though Pretty Reckless fans here in LA have wide ranges of age and gender, every person in the crowd was ready for a real, gritty rock show- something not as widely demanded nowadays. As lead singer Taylor Momsen mentioned earlier this week, rock 'n' roll is currently in a transitional phase; you're not going to find the same widespread love of rock as you did in the 90's. 

But as I left the venue today almost deaf, it reminded me that rock (and leather jackets) never die. Spoiler alert: This show was a true gem. 

As soon as Momsen (and her luscious blonde hair) stepped out on stage, the band started with their first track on "Going to Hell," "Follow me Down." Immeditaley, I knew I was going to enjoy a sonically perfect show. Just like the album, the sound was immediatley crisp and Taylor's vocals were as spectacular as ever, especially considering she's been sick since the start of the tour.


Regardless, she came out on stage like a trooper and was nothing short of dynamic. Her physical presence can be described as sultry, as she performs the songs through her entire being- we can see her feel the music, instead of simply sing it.

The stage was Momsen's playground, as she utilized the space with grace and pizzazz. Fans got their fair share of Momsen facetime, as she made a point to kneel down and interact with the audience during songs. Even during their performance of "Going to Hell" and "Make Me Wanna Die," Momsen would extend her mic to the crowd during the songs- I always like it when artists pay homage to the fans in that way. "It was fucking written so you guys could sing along to the chorus," Taylor reminded everyone. 

Neon Tommy

The band chose a satisfying, varied playlist, as their focus was on the new album while playing hits from "Light Me Up" as well as some even older songs diehard fans would appreciate. In fact, there is a plethora of unreleased Pretty Reckless songs and covers found on youtube-- I would give "Cold Blooded" a listen (they gave an amazing performance of it on Friday). 


The band fed off their fans' energies, as every introduction of a song was welcomed with overwhelming applause. The band followed their first crowd pleaser with their second song of the night, "Since You're Gone." This is possibly the best breakup song ever, as Taylor Momsen sings about reminding an ex that her life "is moving on quite nicely, actually." 

Following that was "Sweet Things," an eerie fairytale-esque song about tempting a girl with candy and sin. Momsen is against telling listeners exactly what each song means/why it was written, but I gather this piece fits in with the whole theme of "Going to Hell" in the sense that evil sin and the rejection of innocense play a part in the imagery of the album. 

Speaking of the themes of the new album, Taylor's outfits and the stage design played perfectly with the tone of the album. With the symbol of a warped cross everywhere to be seen, the songs felt much more visceral- you could see songs through images and theatrics. They later performed "Dear Sister," immediatley followed by "Absolution." The titles of these songs alone should give you a sense of what type of topics we're dealing with here. 


Neon Tommy

If the setlist of the night lacked anything, it would be an opportunity to play an acoustic version of a song. There was a part of me that was hoping for a performance of "Waiting for a Friend" or "You." Don't get me wrong- every song was successfully picked but a little variety in sound during the show would have been nice-- a guitar solo never hurt anybody.

And who could forget the drum solo and tambourine-filled encore? Between the band's closing song, "Going to Hell," and the extravagant performance of "Fucked Up World," Pretty Reckless fans spent waiting period showing their appreciation for the band. Several chants and screams later, the band came back on stage for their final number. In the middle of the song, Jamie Perkins gave the audence a one-man drum show that was like any other. When the rest of the band came back, they created a party on stage. With a tambourine in her hands, Taylor raised her hands in the air and reminded us what an interesting world full of sex, love, and guns we live in. 

The Pretty Reckless blew the crowd away and reminded this music lover that rock is more than just an excuse for headbanging- it's a venue to explore any issues and stimulate thought through the art form.

"Rock 'n' roll is freedom. It's the freedom to fucking say whatever you want and there's nothing better than that," Momsen said. 

source: Neon Tommy

The Pretty Reckless Performing at The Wiltern in Los Angeles! LIVESTREAM (Oct 10, 2014)

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New Fan Pics!

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"House on a Hill" Single Cover Preview!

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This is the official cover of the single "House on a Hill" coming out worldwide on November 24th.
It looks amazing, isn't it?


Concert preview: Q&A with The Pretty Reckless’ Taylor Momsen!

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Q&A » Singer/guitarist discusses rock band’s upcoming show at The Complex.
By Eric Walden

Taylor Momsen, lead singer and rhythm guitarist for The Pretty Reckless, called from a tour stop in Portland, Oregon, to discuss her band’s second full-length album, "Going to Hell," and their Oct. 16 show at The Complex in Salt Lake City. Momsen also touched on her days as an actress on the TV show "Gossip Girl," her old-school rock inspirations, and learning how to put on a "proper rock n’ roll show" out on the road.

What was it that made you decide to transition from acting to music?

I didn’t really transition — I was always a musician, but the world didn’t know about it. It was something I was working on privately. When I finally got the right band and wrote a record’s worth of material that I actually wanted people to hear, I quit [acting] and didn’t look back. I haven’t acted in almost six years now.

So this has been something you’ve been wanting to do for a while?

Oh yes, since I was a child — since I was a very young child. I’ve been writing and playing music for most of my life.

Who were some of the musicians and bands you grew up listening to?

The band that made me want to be a musician was The Beatles — the first band I ever heard. I grew up on my dad’s record collection, so all the greats — Zeppelin, The Who, [Bob] Dylan and AC/DC … I can just keep listing bands. So I grew up around that kind of stuff and had rock n’ roll instilled in me at a very young age. I fell in love.

What were some of your favorite songs?

Every Beatles song — you can start there. Strawberry Fields was one of my favorites. It was one of the first songs I remember falling in love with as a child.

I feel like there’s some Shirley Manson [Garbage singer] in your vocal style; do you consciously emulate anyone in your music?

If you hear it, then I guess, sure. … Emulate isn’t the right word, because you’re always trying to create something new. Obviously you draw from the people you listen to, but I draw more from men than women. I draw way more from Robert Plant and Chris Cornell and John Lennon stylistically, I think, than women. But again, it’s your own voice, so it’s not emulation, it’s just learning different things and taking different things from the music you listen to, I guess.

Going back to drawing more from men than women — why is that? Is that just a function of having listened more to male-fronted bands?

Yeah, there weren’t a lot of female-fronted bands then. There’s no women Beatles, you know? And they were my favorite, so … You know, I grew up wanting to be Robert Plant. And so I think it just kind of naturally happened that way. I mean, there’s definitely women I respect, from Janis Joplin to Sheryl Crow to Shirley Manson. But I will say this: they’re lower on [the list of] what I listen to on a daily basis.

I read recently that The Pretty Reckless is only the second female-fronted band to have two singles go No. 1 on the rock radio charts. Given the dearth of female-fronted rock bands, is that an accomplishment that means anything to you?

Well, I mean, having a No. 1 in general, I guess is an accomplishment of something. It’s pretty crazy because I didn’t even know if this record was going to come out — we switched record labels. I think the biggest thing is the songs are the accomplishment. Finishing the art is the accomplishment. And if you’re lucky enough to have it put out, and people hear it, and have it actually done your way, that’s another accomplishment. And then, I guess, to have it go No. 1, just means more people have heard it, so yeah, that’s exciting.

Tell me about the process of making "Going to Hell."

"Torturous," I guess, would be the first word that comes to mind. We went through a lot to make this record. There was a lot of pain behind it, between … I could go into … Between Hurricane Sandy wiping out the studio — which, I wrote the song "Going to Hell" on the blackout of New York … during the hurricane — our producer’s wife passing at the very end, and the song "[Messed] Up World" was written after that. So there was a lot of stuff that played into making this record, and I think you can definitely hear that in the songs.

Were you going for something specific thematically?

No, you don’t write like that. I don’t write in the studio, first of all, I write by myself. And then once I come into the studio, I have every idea in my head ready to get knocked out and I know exactly what we’re going to be doing. So there’s no theme as you’re writing. … You’re documenting a time in your life, essentially, and where you’re at at that moment — or at least where I was at — and different things actually start to come together or develop as you’re writing, because you’re writing about a certain time period, and where I’m at at the moment, but it’s not intentional.

Given the struggles you had to go through to get the record made, are you happy with how it turned out?

Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, if I wasn’t happy with it I wouldn’t have put it out. There would be no "Going to Hell" if I wasn’t happy with it. It’s definitely our accomplishment.

What had changed with you and the band in the time between writing "Light Me Up" and "Going to Hell"?

Well … I got better. I got older, I got better, I toured the world, we’ve been around the world multiple times now as a band. We became a really tight unit, the four of us. We kept that in mind with the production of "Going to Hell" — very raw and basic, just two guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Whereas "Light Me Up" had a lot of bells and whistles, shadow-production things on it. Which we learned by touring, because we recorded "Light Me Up" before we were a touring band, and then we went on the road, and — we don’t play with tracks, I refuse to, I refuse to play with tracks — then we had to take this really produced record and figure out how to strip it down to a four-piece band. Basically, the only thing to do, the way you do that is turn up the guitars, which actually makes everything heavier. So I think we kept that in mind.

Tell me a little bit about your bandmates and your relationship with them.

Well, they’re my best friends on the planet. They’re family. … The shows on this tour, we’ve playing a lot of festivals, with kind of 30-minute, punch-you-in-the-face sets, and you’re off. We’ve developed a show on this tour in which I think everyone gets to shine, which is really exciting — everyone’s got their moment.

It sounds like touring has been an important experience for you. Do you have any crazy tour experiences? Have you picked anything up from the bands you’ve toured with?

Well, I mean, I have a billion crazy stories, but none I want in print. [Laughs] We have a rule: what goes on the road, stays on the road. And we’re lucky enough to not have it documented. But, of course you learn stuff opening for different acts — how everyone kind of runs their crew, how they tour — everyone kind of does it a little different, and it’s interesting to see that. You take some things, you leave some things … you know, you work it out and see what works best for you. We have a really great crew, and our crew is like family too, so … We all live together on a bus, so you’ve gotta not totally hate each other. [Laughs] … If we all hate each other, that would really suck.

Is there a band you’ve toured with that’s been your favorite for any particular reason?

They’ve all been great. I mean … we just got to open for Soundgarden, and they’re one of my favorite bands. And it was just us and Soundgarden — direct support — and that was 90,000 people and just one of the coolest moments of my life. And they’re amazing and I got to watch them play a [expletive] awesome show. I watched them play the best show I’ve ever been to.

So is it true you’re already working on another album?

Yeah, you’re always writing. It never ends. You’re always creating. It’s a never-ending process. But we haven’t actually started recording anything, because we’re on tour. We don’t record on the road, but I’ve got lots of songs in my head.

Anything that’s at a point you could demo it for an audience out on tour?

Ummmm … probably not, no. I mean, there’s full songs, but I don’t want to release that kind of thing until the full product has come together. It’s a record and not just, "Here’s a song." The track listing on our records is very important because it tells a story. And so I don’t want to just randomly throw things out there. We are working on an acoustic record of "Going to Hell," which is kind of an inside look as to how the songs originally started, because we wrote everything on acoustic guitar before the band was brought in. You kind of get to see the writer demo version of everything.

You’ll be coming to Salt Lake City soon; have you had any interesting or memorable experiences here in the past?

I’m sure, but I would have to check with the rest of the band, because I am so spacing. The crowds are always great and the shows are always a blast. Ummmm … I’m trying to think. I’m so terrible. I’m the person who’s always goes, "Where are we? What city are we in? What time is it? What the [expletive] is going on?" I’m the wrong person to ask, but I’m sure there’s been many memorable experiences that’ve happened. … You’d have to ask the rest of the band — they’re the ones who know what the [expletive]’s going on.

Now that you’ve had some success with your first two albums, do you find people referring to you more as "Taylor Momsen, budding rock star" rather than "Taylor Momsen, ex-Gossip Girl actress?"

[Laughs] The only time that gets brought up at all is in interviews. That’s just the only time that it’s even referenced in my life. It’s like a joke, or like my childhood, at this point. The people at the shows, half of them don’t even know I had an acting background. They bought the record and they just want to see a rock n’ roll show.

For the fans who show up to see you play at The Complex on Oct. 16, what can they expect?

A very loud, proper rock n’ roll show that hopefully will leave you deaf, mute and blind. That’s proper rock n’ roll right there.

"Still in Hell" Tour: at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, CA (Oct 8, 2014)

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Taylor Momsen out and about in Vancouver (Oct 5, 2014)

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Taylor Momsen Out and About at The Wiltern in Los Angeles! (Oct 10, 2014)

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