The Pretty Reckless take Pittsburgh to Hell

There seems to be an overwhelming abundance of female fronted bands in the world of hard rock and heavy metal these days. 20 years ago, talented women in the music world were scarce to say the least, but their current prevalence leaves no doubt, they are no longer the minority, but the standard.

Even more compelling, is the fact that they are no longer the openers on tours, but the headliners. In fact, female fronted bands are in such demand right now, they are able to sustain tours built entirely around females in music and the turnout at these shows, rival that of any other tour on the market.

You can add to that impressive list, the Going to Hell Tour, headlined by The Pretty Reckless. They are out on the road with support acts Heaven’s Basement and Louna in tow and making their way from city to city and, if you’re lucky enough to have it make a stop in your town, you should absolutely check it out.

Up first on the tour are hard rock upstarts Louna. They have come all the way from Russia to deliver their patented brand of no holds barred rock n roll to the masses, much to the delight of US audiences everywhere. In their native Russia, they can sell out massive venues with no problem, so seeing them in a club this small seems odd, but that doesn’t stop them from giving one of the most pummeling performances of the evening.

The band wasted no time in Pittsburgh and launched into a powerhouse set, consisting of numbers like “Fight Club,” “Business,” “My Rock N Roll’ and “Mama,” with rhythmic intensity. It is quite clear from front woman Lousine Gevorkian’s undeniable stage presence that she knows exactly how to work a crowd and proceeded to do just that, holding them in the palm of her hand the entire time.

Judging from the amount of traffic at their merch table after the show, it is just a matter of time, before they are the headliners.

Next up, all the way from jolly old England, were the mega high energy, straight up, balls to the wall rock n roll of Heaven’s Basement. The band lay down a ruckusing, roof raising set with titles like “I’m Electric,” Reign On My Parade,” “Heartbreaking Son Of A Bitch” and lead single “Fire, Fire,” with unprecedented vigor.

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Vocalist Aaron Buchanan works the crowd like a seasoned pro, winning them over with his charming British accent. He addresses the audience by saying, “We have come a very long way to have a good time.” He continues, “You’ve heard enough of us, it’s time for us to hear you,” to a rousing response, before jumping into the crowd to do a little surfing. While he is playing in the crowd, the band get a chance to indulge their playing skills and rip into a blues based extended jam.

Speaking of the band, bassist Rob Ellershaw and drummer Chris Rivers are one of the most solid rhythm sections on the planet and Rivers is a very visual drummer, constantly twirling his sticks and frequently tossing them into the air as high as the ceiling will permit while guitarist Sid Glover is a madman, climbing on the barricades, jumping off the drums and playing his axe with his teeth and behind his head.

They were without a doubt the biggest surprise of the evening and the band that would be leaving with the most converts. They did an outstanding job of setting the bar extremely high for anyone having to follow them.

That unfortunate task would fall to tour headliners The Pretty Reckless, who did a more than admirable job trying to live up to the challenge. It was clear, from the sheer number of young teenage girls and the chants of Taylor Momsen’s name long before her set even began, that they were the band everyone came to see.

The lights dimmed as the sounds of sex intro music starts to play. Out of the black, Momsen’s voice pierces the darkness, “Happy Fucking Halloween Pittsburgh!”

The show had begun.

They dove headfirst into a blistering set consisting of “Follow me Down,” “Zombie” and crowd favorite “Hit Me like a Man.” Momsen is an extremely angry young lady, brimming with raw, sultry sexuality and her voice was in rare form in Pittsburgh. They pressed on into the bluesy groove of single “Kill Me” as Momsen climbed onto the barricade to get face to face with the now frenzied crowd.

The band itself killed it all night long, but it was obvious that all eyes were on Momsen. They continued on, delivering song after song of no nonsense rock n roll with unabashed passion, all the while Momsen slowly removing more and more clothing as the night progressed.

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Tracks like “My Medicine,” “Make Me Wanna Die” and closer “Going To Hell,” garnered a massive crowd response that saw the now nearly spent crowd belting out each song at the top of their lungs. Although the band had been coming back out to play three more songs for most of the tour, for reasons unknown, there would be no encore tonight.

Despite a ridiculous club set up, that had no photo pit of any kind and somewhat lackluster sound in a venue that normally has incredible sound, a proper press pit and puts on one hell of a show, everyone was thoroughly entertained and left feeling completely satisfied.

-Eric Hunker