So one of Mr. Bay’s closest buddies is on a concert kick this year, and we emerged liked blinking, hissing little mole people from our dark caverns to join the group outing down to Richmond, VA to see The Pretty Reckless in concert. I originally waffled because loud, crowded places are not my jam, but with my trusty earplugs that have gotten me through a season of Washington Capitals games, the urge to support one of my favorite female-fronted rock bands prevailed. My pictures are kind of crap because I was behind the sound crew so the ambient light threw off my camera settings, but you get the idea…
All the links below are to official pages, including The Pretty Reckless’ YouTube videos. These are not affiliate links.
Dinner at The Vagabond
We started the evening with dinner at The Vagabond, the restaurant connected to The National, so we had early admission (which did us no good, because the show remained standing only, so no seats). It was Richmond’s Restaurant Week, so a portion of the 3-course prix fixe menu went to local food programs. I enjoyed their Bibb salad with a delicious green goddess dressing, a walnut watercress-basil pesto fettucine drowning in olive oil, and a rose-strawberry sorbet. Mr. Bay had a smoked Scotch egg on spicy mustard (shudder), a smoked flatiron steak and a Dark Chocolate Crème Brulee with wine soaked sour cherries that I helped him finish (so eggy, custardy delicious but so rich).
Our early entry meant we were shown through an exit door in the basement bar up to another, closed bar in The National, where we were held until they herded us down to the stage pit. Ideally, this is when we would have been allowed to get seats on the mezzanine, but apparently, they only open that section for sold out shows, so we ended up standing the entire show (my rheumatoid arthritis was not a happy camper but getting a chair seemed like more trouble than it was worth). I’ve been promised that AFI next month will be sold out…
Opening Act: Them Evils
A trio hailing from California, Them Evils was technically proficient, but RockBand generic. I couldn’t tell if they were trying to be a Jimi Hendrix cover band, but the drunken people around me thought they were great. Since they had the misfortune of going first, the crowd obviously wasn’t quite sure what to make of them, but by the end of the set, their headbanging, cursing, overly enthusiastic skinny little limbs had won a good percentage of the pit over. They were obviously having fun throwing themselves around the stage, and even memorably playing in the crowd, so I have to give them props for making it real and being true to themselves.
The Pretty Reckless
So I have this playlist called “Fight Along” that I listen to in the car every morning as I drive into work guzzling coffee – TPR is on there twice, with “I’m Going to Hell” and “Follow Me Down”. I love Taylor Momsen’s smoky, gritty vocals, and Jamie Perkins’ heavy thumping drums, and the live concert didn’t disappoint. Interesting to note, a portion of their road crew used to work at The National…
TPR formed in 2009 in NYC, and gained recognition with their single “Make Me Wanna Die”. The concert set covered most of their notable songs, like the three I’ve already mentioned and songs like “Take Me Down” (which sounds oddly reminiscent of Rolling Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil” to me), “Heaven Knows”, and “My Medicine”. They also included new songs off their 2016 album “Who You Selling For”, “Oh My God” and “Living in the Storm”. The show wrapped up with “Messed Up World”, which seemed appropriate for our current times.
The light show was, at times, blinding in the best kinds of way, and well-timed with audience participation. The National is an intimate performance hall that manages to feel larger once filled (think Sydney Harmon Hall in DC). Overall, it was a highly energetic show with hard core fans in the audience, and the seating situation notwithstanding, worth the trip down to Richmond.