Review by Kylee Winn-Thurrott photos by Sarah Rix
I don’t know if you’re aware, but Taylor Momsen is a rock star. The Pretty Reckless is a band put together by the Gossip Girl actress. They’ve released a full-length album titled ‘Light Me Up’ and recently an EP ‘Hit Me Like A Man’. After a string of dates opening up for Evanescence, The New York based band started their headlining of The Medicine Tour with a stop in Toronto on April 4, 2012.
The all ages event took place at The Phoenix. As you walked in, security yelled “No cameras! Ordered from the band, not us!”. Which had me thinking, “how could you let a generation of ‘post everything on Facebook’ not be allowed to take photos?”.
Nashville band, The Hollywood Kills opened the show at 8pm. The longhaired greasers had the crowd eating up whatever they said. The thing I find about all ages shows is that they’ll scream for anything. Scream as the roadies set up, scream for bands swearing, scream for opening bands who’d don’t really add much to the show.
Next up was Kitchener band Courage My Love which were twins with a McLovin’ looking dude. They jumped throughout their set as their lead singer’s soft voice sang lyrics “about standing up for your beliefs, unicorns and stuff”. I felt like I was watching high school kids on stage. If anything worked for the opening bands worked, it was the fact that this was some great exposure.
Arriving 15 minutes late to stage as fans chanted ‘Taylor’ was main act The Pretty Reckless. Now I will admit that going into this, I was expecting some sort of Courtney Love reenactment from Miss Momsen, after hearing about her antics of flashing the audience, talking in interviews about her sex toys, and all while trying to remember that the 18 year old girl innocently played Cindy Lou Who from The Grinch. It was clear by the first song was over that she had one thing pat down, hairography. The band itself is made up of middle age men, which resemble the likes of Metallica, Weird Al, and Howard Stern. Taylor explained how she was very ill and they wanted her to cancel the show but she said no because Toronto is one of her favourite cities. As she flipped the bird, dropped the F bomb a few times, and grinded up beside the guitarist and bass player, I could see why people thought she was a nightmare. She charmed me though, with her ‘thank yous’ after each song, and I will admit the album itself is good. It was clear the sickness was catching up on Momsen as her voice cracked on tracks like Going Down, which had Taylor on the guitar and pointing the mic at the eager underagers to sing lyrics of the song. The encore included a stripped down acoustic performance of Nothing To Lose that had the whole band coming in mid song to end it all.
At the end of the day, she is 18 years old. I’m curious to find out how she’ll develop as an artist and to see what’s to come. Hopefully she’ll eventually grow out of this ‘bad girl’ wannabe image soon.