The Pretty Reckless, O2 Academy, Bristol, 01.11.2022
I have always enjoyed how MoM reviews are titled “A view from the back of the room”. Of course I’m aware it’s because most reviewers stand at the back of the room to give judgment, but in the case of any sold-out gig at Bristol’s O2 Academy it can mean a lot more as often it’s nigh-on impossible to be anywhere but the very back of the room due to the venue remaining one of the worst laid-out locations that anybody has ever decided to hold a concert.
Tonight, being very, very sold out to the usual Academy level (anybody who has been to a sold-out show here will know exactly what I am talking about) was no different as the second I found my way through the big glass doors into the main hall it became apparent that the only way to watch Taylor Momsen’s lot with any success would be to trek to the very top of the building and park myself against the very back barrier. This was hastily achieved and said spot was held onto with gusto for the performance.
Sadly due to the immense queues to get in I managed to miss the support band (The Cruel Knives) which I remain gutted about as I have heard great things in regards to them live – featuring members of Heaven’s Basement no doubt means they’re a polished entity in the live arena. Hopefully I can catch them on a future show.
Thankfully I did make it in just in time for The Pretty Reckless (8) who made no bones about their intentions tonight – this was their biggest, most recognisable, energetic hits delivered with gusto in no uncertain fashion. Hitting the stage with the title track from Death By Rock And Roll, going almost instantly into Since You’re Gone and with a quick greeting to Bristol smashing headlong into Only Love Can Save Me Now and And So It Went the intentions were clear – this was a set designed to have a party to – and despite the Academy’s many, many failings, a party was had and then some.
Taylor Momsen is, of course, the focal point of the stage and draws eyes to her – she’s a naturally charismatic frontwoman who has a stage presence above many these days. However that’s not to overlook the rest of the band consisting of Ben Phillips, Jamie Perkins, and Mark Damon – all of whom are accomplished musicians to a great level and play a wonderful part in making sure the band is never thought of as just the Taylor show in the live environment. All members clearly love being on stage and their interactions between and during songs show this clearly.
The huge hitters did not stop at all as Make Me Wanna Die, Just Tonight, My Medicine, Going To Hell, Heaven Knows and Take Me Down are belted out with absolute aplomb to an audience who sang along to every word and participated in every way when asked.
If I had to pick holes in the evening (aside from the venue) it would likely just be the lack of 25 within the set – their Bond-inspired opus would have made for a lovely addition to help pace the set a bit more and show the band’s true range, but I can totally understand why they chose to leave it out for a set as paced as this one.
A quick break until the encore which featured Fucked Up World and the lights went up to rapturous applause – the party was had and rock n roll was shown to be worth dying for. I’ve been saying it for a while but this band are destined for arenas – and I hope they see that come true soon.