A Loud Audience Made For a Reckless Time: A Review of The Pretty Reckless at Showbox SoDo

[Banner Photo by Andrew Lipovsky]

Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Layne Staley, and… Taylor Momsen? They all may not be from Washington, but playing their third to last show on the Who You Selling For Tour to promote their new album of the same name, The Pretty Reckless brought out Seattle’s inner-grunge when they headlined at the Showbox SoDo on December 1st.

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While fans were still filing into the venue and the bar area was teeming with activity from weary parents and tatted up metal heads, the surprisingly impressive Them Evils opened the show. Channeling the sounds of some classic heavy metal tunes with a little modern twist, Them Evils showcased their new self-titled EP, including the single, “Untold.” I listened to some of their music in preparation for the show and liked what I heard enough to make sure to arrive early, but their less clean-cut live show blew away anything available on iTunes or Spotify. Friendly conversations all-out stopped when the song “Bleed” ripped through the building, and set the mood for a night to remember. I’m not the only one to be dazzled by Them Evils, as they even captured the attention of Taylor Momsen, who has been singing their praises (no pun intended) on Twitter throughout the tour.

Up next was Holy White Hounds. While not as notable of a performance compared to Them Evils, their humble, “Let’s have a good time” attitude, combined with some electrifying instrumental work, more than made up for their lackluster vocals. However, the most effective opener proved to be the 30-minute wait in between the Holy White Hounds and The Pretty Reckless, which got fans foaming at the mouth to hear from the night’s crowd puller, and once the lights dimmed and the scurrying technicians left the stage, the crowd got loud… really loud.

Whenever a band or an artist releases a new album, their live performances can sometimes become a work in progress for a while because they don’t know which new songs play well with audiences and which ones don’t. There’s also a question of how much new material they should play in comparison to older, perhaps more popular tracks. The Pretty Reckless, however, had no such problem. Taylor Momsen and company came out on stage and immediately put the audience in a rapture, despite three out of the first four songs being from their new album, including the blistering single, “Oh My God.”

Throughout the rest of the show, The Pretty Reckless played past hits like “My Medicine” and “Sweet Things,” along with some newer material like “Prisoner.” However, the night hit its peak and kept the throttle at 11 when “Heaven Knows” and “Going to Hell” started screaming through the speakers. At that point, the audience, which was already amped up, started losing it, and head banging with no regard for sore necks in the morning whipped through the crowd like wildfire. For a closer, they played “Take Me Down,” a song I could be told and easily believe was co-written by Mick Jagger.

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The stage, but not the audience, was quiet for a full two minutes before The Pretty Reckless came back out for an encore, and when the crowd saw Momsen with a tambourine in hand, they all knew what song was coming next: “F****d Up World.” The loyalists who stuck around squeezed in tight around the stage and rivaled Momsen for who would sing “Sex and love and guns, light a cigarette” the loudest. After playing for a few minutes, everyone left the stage but drummer Jamie Perkins, who played an elaborate drum solo. Just when the show appeared over and fans began recollecting the night’s events, Momsen and the rest of the band rushed back on stage to play the chorus of “F****d Up World” one last time before taking their actual final bows of the night.

The Pretty Reckless is a must-see live show for even the band’s most casual of fans, but for the die-hards who haven’t seen them, I recommend bookmarking their touring schedule now. The show blew past my expectations, and there were several “Whoa” moments throughout the performance that didn’t last more than a few seconds but were worth the price of admission alone.


BOBBY MURRAY | Guest Contributor

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