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THE PRETTY RECKLESS deliver ‘Death By Rock and Roll’ in Southampton

With queues stretching around the block, the miserable weather has yet to put off the fans tonight.

The Pretty Reckless - O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 Credit Cris Watkins
The Pretty Reckless - O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 Credit Cris Watkins

THE PRETTY RECKLESS + THE CRUEL KNIVES @ O2 GUILDHALL SOUTHAMPTON 2ND NOVEMBER 2022

With queues stretching around the block, the miserable weather has yet to put off the fans tonight. The security at the Guildhall Southampton does a superb job getting the line processed quickly and getting the crowds off the street and out of the rain filling the venue before the support band hit the stage.

The Cruel Knives - O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 - Credit Cris Watkins
The Cruel Knives – O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 – Credit Cris Watkins

The Cruel Knives are new to me apart from a quick peek at a few videos on YouTube, but from the off, they are a delight and put on a show that not only warms the damp crowd up but gains the band plenty of new fans along the way including myself.

The Cruel Knives - O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 - Credit Cris Watkins
The Cruel Knives – O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 – Credit Cris Watkins

Making full use of the large stage and the risers on the sides, they smash their way through a short 6 song set. Its hard rock with a punky edge with stop-starts and tempo changes a plenty to keep the interest up. The first number, ‘Black Eye Friday’ was a real wake-up call to the venue with a bludgeoning rhythm that reminded me of the Irish 3-piece Therapy? The highlight was the final number, ‘Crawl’ an absolute juggernaut of a track to end the set and sending me out in search of their 2019 Side 2 release.

The Cruel Knives

©Cris Watkins Photography

The Pretty Reckless – O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 – Credit Cris Watkins

The support paves the way nicely to the headliners, the long-awaited tour from New York rockers The Pretty Reckless. The band are finally in the UK after a series of delays caused by coronavirus, but they’re here with a set peppered with cuts from their 2021 hit platter Death By Rock And Roll and at bang on 9pm, the band hit the stage with Jamie Perkins drums, Ben Phillips guitar, Mark Damon bass and then shortly followed by frontwoman Taylor Momsen long blonde locks flowing and dressed in a leather jacket covering a white slip dress and calf-length 12-hole platform boots. 

The Pretty Reckless – O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 – Credit Cris Watkins

The applause from the crowd fills the venue, only overtaken by Philips’ roaring guitar riff of the opener and title track ‘Death By Rock and Roll’. The set is bathed in magnific blues, purples and reds, with Momsen highlighted under bright white spotlights with ‘The Pretty Reckless logo placed high above the drum riser

The Pretty Reckless - O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 - Credit Cris Watkins
The Pretty Reckless – O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 – Credit Cris Watkins

The sing-a-long starts early and continues through ‘Since You’re Gone‘ and ‘Only Love Can Save Me Now‘ with Momsen prowling the stage, leaning into the crowd and beckoning them to join in, not that they need much encouragement. But this is just the start as the punters hit fever point as the band tear through ‘Make Me Wanna Die’, undoubtedly their most well-known hit and what turns out to be the highlight of the show with Momsen doing her all to get every single person in the venue singing the words back to her. A monumental track which sounds like the James Bond movie theme that never was.

The Pretty Reckless - O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 - Credit Cris Watkins
The Pretty Reckless – O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 – Credit Cris Watkins

It’s so easy to often overlook the rest of the band members with such an iconic frontwoman leading the pack. Still, the backbeat from Damon and Perkins is something special tonight, with the beat almost tribal at times, whilst Philips’ guitar work is sublime wringing out such a beautiful tone and shredding it where needed. ‘Just Tonight‘ slows things down a touch, with Momsen’s voice sending goosebumps down the length of my arms. 

The Pretty Reckless – O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 – Credit Cris Watkins

The bluesy swaggering ‘My Medicine’ is another high-point with Momsen picking up guitar, and ‘Going To Hell’ ramps up the energy in the pit once again. The main set closes with a particularly sweet run-through of ‘Take Me Down‘, the only number from 2016’s Who You Selling For played tonight a glorious blues rocker with the sing-a-long refrain of Sign with the devil echoing around the venue. After the obligatory walk-off, the band returns to another colossal response from the Southampton crowd, who bounces their way through the fantastic ‘Fucked Up World’. 

The Pretty Reckless - O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 - Credit Cris Watkins
The Pretty Reckless – O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 – Credit Cris Watkins

Jamie Perkins gets his chance to shine with an extended drum solo mid-way through the track, and the rest of the band return to finish the song in style and send the sweat-soaked fans off on an unbelievable high.

The Pretty Reckless - O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 - Credit Cris Watkins
The Pretty Reckless – O2 Guildhall, Southampton 2nd November 2022 – Credit Cris Watkins

The Pretty Reckless have just released their new album Other Worlds via Century Media Records. The album collates striking acoustic versions of their own songs alongside several covers, and features a number of special guests including members of Soundgarden and Rage Against The Machine.

The Pretty Reckless

©Cris Watkins Photography

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