New Blog + The Pretty Reckless Concert Review

The Pretty Reckless - Wonder Ballroom

Hey all, I just wanted to post up to kick off my new blog. Here you will find more casual info about me and random music-related stuff that doesn’t fit on the rest of the site. Like this…

The Pretty Reckless Concert Review

Last weekend I caught The Pretty Reckless at The Wonder Ballroom in Portland for their “Going To Hell” tour witih Adelita’s Way and Falling Through April. Here’s a quick recap.

Falling Through April

I wanted to not like these guys…I really did. They came across as a boy band with instruments. But damnit, they had to go and win me over with a stellar performance of Katy Perry’s “E.T.” The guitarists seemed to have chops, the rhythm section was solid, and the vocalist just nailed it. Their original material was hooky and tight as well, so if you can get over the boy-band factor, definitely check these guys out.

Adelita’s Way

Clearly the reason that a lot of people came to the show, Adelita’s Way commanded a huge response and kept the energy going throughout the set. Vocalist Rick DeJesus handled the audience well, but it wasn’t hard to see that he was just going through the paces as he rambled without much forethought.

I’ve gotta give props to guitarist Robert Zakaryan though; the guy has chops. It’s a shame that the lack of a second guitarist hurt the mix so much. His blazing solos came across muddy and annoying when they should have been the highlight of many songs. Bassist Andrew Cushing was solid as well, but the spectacle in this band is Tre Stafford. This guy is easily one of the most entertaining drummers I’ve seen live in a long time. Not only is he a killer drummer, but I’m pretty sure that his sticks spent almost as much time flying above his head as in his hands, all without missing a beat.

All that said, the band’s music is only mildly memorable, and I just can’t call myself a fan. It’s great radio rock, I suppose. If that’s what they’re going for, more power to them.

The Pretty Reckless

Let me start by saying that I’m a huge The Pretty Reckless fan, and no, it’s not just because Taylor Momsen is hot (though, that definitely helps). Their music just has a depth to it that I haven’t heard from a lot of modern rock bands; it’s reminiscent of ’70s rock with modern edge that connects them to the current generation.

What’s striking about the band is the blatantly-obvious age gap between Momsen and the rest of the group. I won’t dwell on this, but I will say that I understand the ’70s connection better after seeing them live. Haha!

Even though The Pretty Reckless headlined, their lack of on-stage energy and effects was a bummer, especially after Adelita’s Way. I realize that they are leaning heavily on the stripped-down rock vibe, but this made for a really dull stage-show. Taylor did great (I think…she rocked out but barely showed up in the mix). The string section was another story; they barely moved. Ben Phillips is an accomplished guitarist, but looks like he’s been around long enough to know better than to kill himself on stage…for better or worse. Mark Damon stood like a statue, sporting sunglasses, giving a “too cool for you” vibe. This may work for signing sessions, but on stage…c’mon man, snooze fest. Drummer Jamie Perkins rocks. He’s just an all-around solid drummer…not flashy, just great at what he does.

They played most of the songs I expected to hear and the crowd loved them, so that’s all that really matters, I suppose. The drum solo at the end of the set was also a pleasant surprise, and it DOMINATED.

All in all, it was a great time. Check them out on their tour.

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  1. William Ruiz November 7, 2014 at 10:39 am

    I am one of those guys who goes to rock shows and analyzes bands to learn their techniques and see what works, what doesnt, stage presence etc. its good to know there is another guy watching shows with the same analytical eye and objective ear that I am. Maybe that makes me jaded, but I dont care….I believe I am searching for the secret in the sound. Keep posting cool stuff. Welcome to the world of blogging. Cheers!

    • Chad November 7, 2014 at 11:11 am

      Thanks William. Yeah, some call it prudish/uptight/etc…I don’t care either. Even though it’s be nice to let loose every now and then, I’ve been doing this for too long to lose my mind at rock shows. Mostly I’m there to take in the experience, enjoy the music, and learn.

  2. William Ruiz November 7, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Almost forgot to mention you can find my music (hopefully not terrible) on soundlcoud.
    Being that you have lots of experience with home recording and (I assume) sequencing, I would love to hear your input. Looking forward to your next video.

  3. William Ruiz November 8, 2014 at 8:19 am

    You nailed it. Its funny you brought up the term prudish because its something I have been dealing with. I seem to have an opinion on every band and I rarely get impressed, but I want to believe its justified because theres an endgame im trying to drive towards and thats becoming a more compelling artist. The only way to do that it would seem, is to watch how the masters do it when they are in their element. Did you check out my tunes? any input on them would be appreciated.

    • Chad November 8, 2014 at 11:02 am

      The Pirate Song: Chord choices and progressions are interesting.

      The Owl & The Raven: Very chill. Killer melodies. It’s got a very organic feel until

      The Sludge Song: Frickin’ love this groove. Is that a distorted bass carrying the song?

      In Shadow L.N.D.: The first half kind of reminded me of Metallica’s more recent stuff. e.g. The Unforgiven 3. I don’t hate it, not my fav though.

      Drawing Down The Moon: I frickin’ love the layering on this song.

      You sir, are a talented writer and have a very unconventional approach to song construction. A lot of your stuff has a very mature signature to it. My only suggestions are to work on timing in your guitar tracks…they drag behind the song a bit. Anywho, keep me updated man on new stuff man…great work.

  4. William Ruiz November 8, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Thats really cool of you to listen to all my stuff. Since my music is instrumental, the first thing people gripe about is “where are the lyrics?” at that point i can tell they lose interest.

    I will keep you posted, do you have any original stuff of yours I can check out? The little piece of music I heard that you put together for the studio vs. home recording was really cool, I would like to hear some more…..Oh, i see there is a “my music” section. I will be listening, and thanks again for lending your ear, and the advice.

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