Let’s not confuse The Who with a Who, as The Pretty Reckless‘ lead singer and founder Taylor Momsen has a few things in common with the legendary British band, namely they both know their way around a stage. The other may be that Ms. Momsen played a Who, Cindy-Lou to be precise, in the early aughts version of Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
And while her performance may be the best part of that holiday opus, let’s say that Cindy-Lou Who is all grown up and fronting a rock band that, well, stole the hearts of the packed crowd at Cleveland’s House of Blues.
Two openers started the festivities. Huntington Beach-based Them Evils opened with a forty minute set; this straight-up rock band is one to keep an eye on in the future. Iowa rockers Holy White Hounds took the stage after Them Evils and warmed up the audience even more.
At about 9:45 the lights dimmed one last time and The Pretty Reckless came out under a cover of darkness. Unfortunately, much of the show was like this. For someone as young and attractive as Taylor Momsen, she spends a great deal of time bathed in shadow.
And, yes, perhaps Momsen’s acting past (she was also a regular on the TV show Gossip Girl) opened a few doors for them when the band first formed. But young concert goers are fickle and the band couldn’t…or wouldn’t…skate on Momsen’s IMDB resume. This is a hard rocking outfit; they’ve built up a solid following through several years of intense touring and multiple album releases. They’ve charted three #1 singles from 2014’s effort Going To Hell alone. That’s rare in today’s music environs; they’ve already landed a #1 off this year’s Who You Selling For, the anthemic “Take Me Down” peaked at #1 in August.
Kicking off the set was “Follow Me Down,” from their 2014 album Going To Hell. Momsen’s throaty vocals lit up the sold-out, amped-up crowd.
Offering up faves such as “Since You’re Gone” and “Living In The Storm,” the crowd chanted along in a sing-song harmony, following Momsen’s movements across the stage. Ben Phillips’ ample guitar skills matched Momsen’s vocals; the pair really hit each note perfectly. As the night wound down, hits such as “Going to Hell” and “Take Me Down” closed out the evening.
The quartet encored with “Fucked Up World.” For a moment, Momsen’s face appeared from beneath the shock of blond hair.
And she smiled.