Cleveland, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, hosted The Pretty Reckless who performed for a sold out crowd at the legendary downtown Cleveland House of Blues on Saturday, November 12. The popular rock band The Pretty Reckless, led by the gritty, soulful and mysterious female singer, Taylor Momsen is currently on their fall 2016 headlining tour in support of their latest album, Who You Selling For, just released less than a month ago on October 21. Supporting The Pretty Reckless on this tour are the bands, “Them Evils,” a three piece in your face straight up rock and roll band from Huntington Beach, California and “The Holy White Hounds”, another kick ass rock band hailing from Des Moines, Iowa.
The Pretty Reckless proves rock is definitely alive and kicking with this, their 3rd studio release following their stunning success of their 2014 album Going to Hell. With her signature raspy, gritty yet soulful vocals, Momsen throws a different smoky-sultry twist on this new album with enchanting and mesmerizing vocals. Although evolving and experimenting on this new album, the bands growth is apparent through their eclectic songwriting, 70’s riffs and signature hooks. The band, formed in 2009 with Momsen on vocals, Ben Phillips on guitar, Mark Damon on bass and Jamie Perkins behind the kit, still put on a kick ass and entertaining rock show. Their sound remains reminiscent of 1970’s rock with a flair of Zep thrown in along with early Heart and maybe a Stones influence. However on Who You Selling For the band is breaking out to define their own unique sound. Their stage show was not at all flashy or showy, with only mood lighting for most of their 60 minute set. The band however is not about theatrics or wild stage shows, they are first and foremost, all about their music.
Opening the night was the band Them Evils from Huntington Beach, California. This band was a very unexpected surprise. They played a 30 minute blistering set from 7:45 to 8:15 and could have played longer as the set seemed to fly by with mega energy and killer rock tones. Lead singer and guitarist Jordan Griffin sported a black Gibson Explorer played through a vintage Orange amp and his guitar tone alone set the mood back to a vintage gritty 1970’s rock and roll vibe. His vocals were nothing short of, well, killer. Jordan has amazing stage energy and presence, as does the rest of the band including bassist Jake Massanari and drummer David Delaney. I heard classic Sabbath tones along with a mix of Led Zeppelin, Motorhead and AC/DC. Massanari and Delaney owned the bottom end rhythm section with a thumping, yet groovy beat and drive. Them Evils are definitely a rising band to be reckoned with with their blend of modern and classic rock. Included in their short but solid set were originals “Untold” and “Have One on Me” as well as an amazing cover of AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top (if you wanna rock n roll)” and Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” to close the set. Keep an eye and both ears on Them Evils as the are making big waves in the modern rock in roll world despite having one foot in the 1970’s still in terms of their sound. Check out their website.
Up next was the four piece rock band, The Holy White Hounds from Des Moines, Iowa. This band, in keeping with the feel and sound of the night, were again, not overly flashy or flamboyant on stage, but put on a kick ass energized show with a ballsy, gritty sound with some killer effects by simply using vintage effects pedals. The band has been climbing steadily since 2005 working their way up the ladder paying all the dues and sweating it out night after night showcasing their unique rock sound with influences of Nirvana, The Pixies, and Queens of the Stone Age all while defining their own sound with infectious hooks and riffs. The Holy White Hounds merge a blend of classic rock, grunge and punk for a totally unique sound. Touring in support of their current album Sparkle Sparkle, the Hounds consists of members Brenton Dean on lead vocals and guitar, Ambrose Lupercal on bass, Seth Luloff on drums, and James Manson on guitar. Their set included original songs “Switchblade,” “Blind,” and “Oh Mama.” Again, despite having been around for over a decade, this is another great rock band on the rise to keep an eye out for. Check out their website for more info.
Assuming most of the hundreds of fans that started lining up outside the House of Blues on a chilly Saturday night in Cleveland had never heard of the two opening bands, If they chose to enter the club when doors opened at 7 p.m. they definitely got a taste of good old straight up with a gritty kick ass rock and roll welcome.
At 9:45 p.m. by the stage left clock, The Pretty Reckless took the stage and the sold out crowd went wild with a deafening roar as Momsen casually walked out on stage along with her band mates with her trademark wavy, dirty-blonde hair and a slightly different rock star look than the her norm, wearing black skinny pants, long black boots and a long black leather coat over a dark shirt. The dark tone and look set the mood for their set. Illuminated by only a few dim spots and blue back lighting, the tone was dark but the sound was huge. The Pretty Reckless, touring in support of their most recent studio album Who You Selling For, opened with “Follow Me Down,” their 3rd consecutive number one hit from the 2014 album Going To Hell. Next was an older classic, “Since You’re Gone” from their 2010 album Light Me Up. The band may have wanted the fans to focus solely on the music as their stage presence was ominous and dark with some vintage looking and only necessary mood lighting with the music speaking volumes about how this band has evolved. Momsen knew how to work the crowd in an intimately powerful and commanding fashion as they continued through their set with “Oh My God” and “Hangman” next. Philips was brilliant on guitar as he played his crafted riffs and longer solos from the new material on his beautiful Gibson ES-335. Damon and Perkins were equally as impressive, although again, not flashy, on bass and drums providing a solid, gut felt low and and driving back beat as they plowed through the set effortlessly with a gritty heavy under-toned rock and roll and hypnotic groove at times and a driving all out rock beat at others. The Pretty Reckless continued through their hour set playing other hits including “Prisoner” from Who You Selling For, “Sweet Things,” and “Heaven Knows” from Going to Hell which had the sold out crowd about blowing the roof off the place with their singing along. The Pretty Reckless closed the night with “Fucked up World” also from Going to Hell.
The Pretty Reckless continue their 2016 headlining tour along with Them Evils and The Holy White Hounds as they are proving to be one of the best female fronted bands going as they are taking no prisoners, kicking ass and taking names wherever they go, just leaving a fun and dirty kick ass rock and roll sensation wherever they travel. They continue their U.S. tour into December before heading across the pond to take Europe by storm in January 2017. It is going to be an excellent new year for the Pretty Reckless and their world-wide fans!