LIVE REVIEW: The Pretty Reckless, The Cruel Knives, Barrowlands, Glasgow, 26/10/2022
Photo Credit: Lucy Cheyne
It’s ironic this tour is called the Death by Rock N’ Roll tour as on this evidence the genre we love isn’t just alive and well, it’s thriving, exciting and the white-hot centre of the musical universe.
Death By Rock N’ Roll is also of course the name of The Pretty Reckless’ fourth record and a release which frontwoman Taylor Momsen credits with not just saving the band, but even saving her life. Momsen has openly admitted she spiralled into a pit of depression and substance abuse after a series of losses and death close to her – especially that of long-time producer Kato Khandwala. “I’d given up and didn’t see a reason to move forward,” Momsen has admitted on record. But Momsen turned to song-writing to help her through the day. It worked and she began to see light at the end of the tunnel and the record saved her life.
“If you hang on a little longer life will sort itself out and it will turn around,” she said of the record.
And now Momsen and the rest of the band are here to save Rock n’ Roll – and we at Bring The Noise UK were part of a sold out, stack ‘em to the rafters, venue bursting at the seams, raucous and horns in the air crowd at Glasgow’s iconic Barrowlands Ballroom for the Scottish stop on the band’s European tour. Former teenage acting superstar and IT girl of the silver screen, Momsen is a rock n’ roll force of nature. Equal parts Stevie Nicks and Courtney Love, she is the kind of frontwoman you simply can’t take your eyes off. She dominates the stage with her raspy vocals serenading the crowd which surges forward on her every word as she leads the band through a set list with more bangers than Guy Fawkes had in 1605.
We managed to bob, weave and inch our way towards the front just before the band blasted through their set opener which was – naturally – Death By Rock N’ Roll– the title track of their 2022 hit-heavy album. In between songs the roar of approval from her Scottish fans is ear-splitting and the grunge goddess even allows the hint of a smile to creep across her face as the band crank into Since You’re Gone next which they follow with Only Love Can Save Me Now, Goin’ Down, and And So It Went.
Make Me Wanna Die is next and it produces an epic sing-a-long, karaoke session of thousands crooning the lyrics back to Momsen and her band of merry men.
Sweet Things, Witches Burn, My Medicine and My Bones follow next with no slowly of the rock n’ roll throttle. This is balls-to-the-wall, pedal-to-the-metal, hold-onto-your-ass and utterly glorious. Momsen is using every inch of the Barrowlands stage, swaggering and prowling from right to left and then back again but all the while keeping the 2,000 strong crowd cupped in the basket of her hand.
Going To Hell keeps the pace up before Heaven Knows slows things down briefly for another anthemic sing-a-long and back and forth between band and fan.
The set ends with Take Me Down as Momsen sings: “You know I gave my life to rock ‘n roll” you know it is a lyric steeped in truth and it hits harder and deeper knowing how true it is.
The lights go up and the traditional chant for: ‘One more song’ follows before the lights drop and the band reappear for their encore which is a lengthy drum solo by Jamie Perkins before the entire band hit the stage to wave to the beaming crowd and bask in the glory of a set which will live long in them memory of all who were lucky enough to attend. 10/10.
Written By: Eric Mackinnon
Photo Credit: Lucy Cheyne