Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Pretty Reckless at Irving Plaza

Taylor Momsen was a professional model at age two and a professional actress at age three. She was a teenager when she played the quick-witted, drug-dealing Jenny Humphrey on the television sitcom Gossip Girl. She also came very close to becoming Hannah Montana. Now 20 years old, she is committed to singing bluesy hard rock in her New York-based band, the Pretty Reckless. The band is preparing to release its second album, Going to Hell. The current members are Momsen (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Ben Phillips (lead guitar, backing vocals), Mark Damon (bass) and Jamie Perkins (drums).

At Irving Plaza tonight, the Pretty Reckless stormed the stage with old school rock. For almost all of the set, Momsen unexplainably flung her long blonde hair in front of her face, to the point where glimpsing her countenance was flighty. As the band pounded out riffs, Momsen looked like Cousin It but she crooned like a blues singer, a style common in 1970s hard rock bands but very rare now. She expressively punctuated the angst in her lyrics and celebrated the joy of release in her melodies. Her softly-sung cover of Audioslave’s “Like a Stone” during the encores was a vocal highlight. Although still a fairly unknown guitarist, Phillips’ many lengthy and rampaging solos were impressively executed throughout the 75-minute performance. One can expect to see him featured in guitar magazines in the near future. The rhythm section hammered away, giving the band its identifying power rock structure. Still a young band after only three years together, the Pretty Reckless impressively laid the foundation for a potential classic rock revival.

Visit the Pretty Reckless at