February 14, 2011
Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen told the crowd at Martini Ranch Monday night her band The Pretty Reckless almost canceled their show because her voice was completely shot. For the devoted fans in the half-full venue, it's a good thing she didn't. But for a concert reviewer, it's hard to judge muffled vocals, with the remainder of the lyrics being sung by audience members.
That doesn't mean the show wasn't fun. For a band in all-black on Valentine's Day, the mood was actually quite upbeat, since The Pretty Reckless' music is so catchy. The crowd danced and sang along a lot throughout the show, giving a reminder that no matter how mature Momsen might dress, she's still just a 17-year-old like many of the people in the audience. (And, at the concert, she wore a very sheer dress.)
The band came out a half-hour after the stage was set up, causing fans to chant for the group and get restless. The crowd talked about the show on which Momsen appears, before the set, making it seem like many of the fans were there because of the show.
Once the band started playing, though, the audience helped out the scratchy-throated Momsen throughout the set. The band's debut album, Light Me Up, came out only last week, so it was impressive that so many people already knew all the lyrics to the new material.
Momsen wasn't much of a talker, keeping the band's super-short eight-song set to just about a half-hour. Maybe this show was shorter because Momsen is losing her voice, but it was disappointing the concert was so short.
Despite the disappointments, Momsen's stage presence is magnetic. She might have looked messy, with long, light blonde braids sprouting all over her head and lipstick smeared over her lips, but she's gorgeous and engaging. It's so impressive to see such a young lady with so much confidence, and the music speaks for itself.
Before the show, I actually was standing near Momsen, who was smoking cigarettes--maybe not the best idea if you're losing your voice. If she's going to last in this business, she needs to stay focused on writing great music and taking care of her health -- not partying or smoking, which seemed a little hypocritical since there is no way smoking could have benefited her. Maybe if she starts taking her work more seriously, critics who chastise her might, too.
Personal Bias: I'm a huge fan of the band and named their self-titled EP one of my favorite discs of 2010.
The Crowd: Mostly underagers, mostly girls, a few gay guys and miserable-looking boyfriends.
Overheard in the crowd: "OMG, it's Little J!"
Random Notebook Dump: I said, "Good luck" to Momsen before her show, and she said, "Thanks." Heck, that's more than some artists would say to random strangers.
Since You're Gone
Light Me Up
Make Me Wanna Die