Live ReviewsNews

2022-10-30 – The Pretty Reckless – o2 Academy, Birmingham

Photography & Review: Glenn Rossington.

On their first UK Tour in just shy of 5 years, The Pretty Reckless returned to Birmingham to play a Sold Out o2 Academy on the night before Halloween.

Arriving on stage a few minutes after the published start, Jamie Perkins (Drums), Ben Phillips (Guitar) and Mark Damon (Bass) start a rocked up jam which segues into the opening riff of the title track from the bands’ fourth album ‘Death by Rock n’ Roll’. Swathed in the blackness of no stage lights, frontwoman Taylor Momsen prowls her way to the mic. The audience erupt into a catatonic delight as the stage lights burst to life and the band launch their performance.

What follows is an hour and twenty minutes of unadulterated rock n’ roll. On their last UK Tour, Momsen seemed to be at the start of her inward phase, the stage was always dark and dimly lit, yet tonight she is full of confidence and the lights are full beam allowing all to see. You can not only see the confidence shining through from the way she darts across the stage, up on the risers and interacting with the audience, but you can hear the confidence in her voice too.

We get a healthy mix of tracks from across their back catalogue tonight. From the latest opus, alongside the title track, we are given: ‘My Bones’, ‘Witches Burn’, ‘And So It Went’ and ‘Only Love Can Save Me Now’ which all fit nicely alongside their previous outputs. From their 2016 third album ‘Who You Selling For?’ we only get one track ‘Take Me Down’. From their commercially successful second album, we are treated to: ‘Sweet Things’, ‘Fucked Up World’, ‘Heaven Knows’ and the title track ‘Going to Hell’. Finally, from their debut record, ‘Light Me Up’ we get: ‘Miss Nothing’, ‘My Medicine’, ‘Since You’re Gone’ and ‘Make Me Wanna Die’.

Momsen tonight starts the set wrapped in a leather jacket, but by the time of the second track, this has been disbanded and is wearing a pumpkin orange dress, with huge Doc Martens’ boots. Plenty has been said over the years about her transference from Movie Star to Rock Goddess, but tonight it is incredibly easy to forget her acting career, she has proven herself as an enigmatic and captivating frontwoman who can hold an audience in the palm of her hand.

As Ben Phillips’ crunching guitar kicks in and they launch in to 2021 single ‘And So It Went’ the ‘Sold Out’ room are bouncing along. ‘Make Me Wanna Die’ (their debut single) causes a ruckus in the front rows and the thematic version of ‘Witches Burn’ – preceded by ‘Broomsticks’ being pumped out over the P.A. brings the newer fans cooing with delight. The latter track also sees Momsen don a witches hat for the performance which subsequently falls off a few times and sees her fling it in to the audience.

The final three tracks of the main set hark back to their raucous sound and delights the crowd. They are whipped into a frenzy as Momsen addresses us with a scream of “Burmin’ammmm! Are you hot? I’m hot – are you? I mean I know you’re sexy but, are you hot?” as they launch into ‘Going to Hell’. They segue into ‘Heaven Knows’ with its military style drums and sees Phillips run through and extended guitar solo.

“You guys are the best, thank you for coming out tonight… This is our last song, sing it if you know it!” screams Momsen as the opening riff to ‘Take Me Down’ kicks in. The band and audience by now are in unison and the whole performance is amplified. Part way through the track, Momsen picks up her guitar and joins in with the riffing as the song explodes and jams out into a huge crescendo. With a final bow and arms raised in the air, the band exit the stage.

After the traditional retuning of instruments, the band returns to the stage to the sheer delight of the audience. Momsen addresses their return declaring: “Okay Burmin’am, we got one more for you!” as they launch in to 2014’s ‘Fucked Up World’. The performance is phenomenal, Drums and bass ramped up, guitar squealing and Momsen’s voice more than on point. The track gives way to a stunning drum solo from Jamie Perkins that eggs the audience on in to whoops and cheers before the band crash back in to rock out the track to its’ conclusion.

After posing for a photo with the audience, the band leave the stage again for the final time. The house lights come on and the audience start to make their way out as well. The band were on absolute fire tonight, clearly enjoying themselves and embracing every moment of their deserved credit. With their latest record seeing critics warm to them more and more around the world, if you get the chance to see them then do yourself a favour, you will not regret a night of rock n’ roll.


Editor & Photographer. Eclectic music tastes and fan of a good beat. Can usually be found at a Gig across the Country or at a Festival in the Summer - More than likely with a camera surgically attached to me.