THE PRETTY RECKLESS: Going to hell in the UK

Taylor Momsen is in town. The 20 year-old American actress (Gossip Girl) and lead singer of THE PRETTY RECKLESS is promoting her storming new album Going To Hell, and tonight she’s opening for FALL OUT BOY. While TPR are renowned for delivering stellar live performances, with Momsen often letting rip with her eye-opening outfits and brilliant vocals, occasionally bringing members of the audience onstage for some music-backed gyrating, FOB are notorious for not delivering live, and so it’s with much noted irony and personal frustration that TPR are not headlining tonight.

The oversized venue is gradually packing out – we can see a scattering of eager TPR fans amidst the more conservatively attired FOB fans. Practically blowing Evanescence off the stage when they supported them in Manchester, TPR won over a lot of new fans that night, and FOB ought to be shaking in their boots.

The Pretty Reckless is not a band that holds back. Lights dim as squeals of a woman in ecstasy are heard over the sound system. Raging drums and guitar strokes as Momsen appears to strobing lights and applause. Before the backdrop of a massive cross adorning the album title, she writhes around oozing passion and ‘diva’ with pitch-perfect growling vocals. Album opener Follow Me Down sets the tone with its raunchy yet harsh lyrics. The front rows scream as she closes the song, and she returns the favour with “Manchester! What the fuck is up!!” Momsen has made her mark on tonight’s show and it’s taken only a matter of minutes.

She gets the front rows bouncing with Miss Nothing. Inviting everyone to sing along, she’s for the most part met with folded arms and chattering. It’s painful to watch the crowds not responding to her passion and energy – either they’re oblivious to where they are (!) or more likely simply uninterested in Momsen and her excellent band – the drummer is totally on fire, the guitarists playing some hardcore riffs. Momsen is one of the best live performers around, so make of that what you will. It’s a depressing state of affairs, to say the least.

Introducing her new album and blazing track Heaven Knows, the front rows get clapping and there’s mild moshing. The track is phenomenal live, allowing Momsen to show off her impressive vocal versatility. At one point, Momsen dances at length in front of the drum stand, demonstrating her physical flexibility by bending backwards into a semi-crab. She certainly knows how to hold your attention.

As she slams Going To Hell, the band remind us of why they have a reputation for stage-smashing. Follow that, Fall Out Boy. And they didn’t.