Updated: Jul 5
On a stage in a sea of black clothing, dark hair and dimmed lights, the only source of illumination is the shimmer of a ripple of angelic ghostly distinctive hair. The crowd is a mixture of young teenage girls dressed in nothing but over sized t-shirts, stockings and heavy eye make-up attempting to mimic their idol, or middle aged classic rocker men hoping to catch a glimpse of that black tape criss-crossed against front-woman Taylor Momsen’s twenty-three year old chest. They’d be dissatisfied to find out though that Momsen’s life in the fast lane has lead her to grow up pretty rapidly in her music and her fashion sense, instead swapping her racy stockings for leather trousers, black nipple tape for an actual bra underneath her shirt and sporting a floor length black leather trench coat. Yet it’s not all disappointment when an orgasmic opening (literally) can be heard from the street outside Kentish Town’s O2 Forum, leading all fans in the venue, young and old, to squeal like little girls opening a pink fluffy unicorn on Christmas Day as The Pretty Reckless kick off their ‘Who You Selling For?’ set with ‘Follow Me Down.’
The energy in the room quickly heightened with the third song, ‘Oh My God.’ The first single and heaviest track off the new album, clearly pissed off at her own privileged upbringing, Momsen conveyed her passion for the lyrics well with her raspy and angry tone. Cult classics ‘My Medicine’ and ‘Make Me Wanna Die’ were certainly fan favourites and there was not a single being in the room who did not know the lyrics even outshining Momsen at times.
The band themselves proved to be exceedingly better live musicians than what their records suggest, showing off to a guitar solo on the song ‘Sweet Things’, and a drum solo to a Dubstep remix type thing at the end of the show, that were more intricate than what the album recordings have to offer. Basing your opinion of The Pretty Reckless on their musical talent on the records would be a mistake, as guitarist Ben Phillips, bassist Mark Damon and drummer Jamie Perkins are all gifted musicians in their own rights.
The crowd played their part well in giving off the energy The Pretty Reckless needed to feed off to give a hyperactive performance, most notably with the interactive song off ‘Going to Hell,’ their second studio album, ‘Heaven Knows.’ With thousands of feet stomping onto the ground of the 2,300 capacity venue, the pounding could be felt as an earthquake within your gut, the abundance of Devil horns seen from space, and the echo of thousands of lost souls heard from miles around. “Oh Lord Heaven knows, we belong way down below...”
Even on the more mellow songs such as ‘Just Tonight’ and the album’s title track ‘Who You Selling For?’ did not stop the frenetic and rabid bodies from slowing down their moshing to the slow tunes of the night. Cramped and confined like battery farmed livestock, it was difficult not to be forced into a little bit of disturbance as two boys were playing the game ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ to determine who would start the next mosh pit.
The Pretty Reckless left the stage fairly abruptly after the closing song, the second single off the album, ‘Take Me Down,’ followed by an array of ravenous fans impatient for the encore to begin. With the air clammy and the stench offensive to the senses, The Pretty Reckless entered the expanse for one last anthem. Before kicking into their last song of the night, the band ended with Momsen giving a speech about society and the messed up planet we live on, finishing with the statement, “London, it is indeed a ‘Fucked Up World.’”