Gig Review | The Pretty Reckless | Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow | 26.10.2022 

They say the heart grows fonder through time apart and that for sure has certainly been the case on the build up for New York Cities finest The Pretty Reckless return to Scotland – almost 5 years on from their last trip on Scottish soil, the American icons are back to take to the stage of The Barrowlands in support of their 2021 release Death by Rock and Roll and let me kick off by saying the wait was well and truly worth it. The walk along Trongate following the light of that famous neon sign can only be describe as a walkway to heaven and once you arrive the feeling is worth every step.

Any gig you see in that iconic ballroom comes with a special feel prior just knowing that you’ll get to witness a band there adds to the experience. The queue for this is already miles long and that is no exaggeration – if you know the area, you’ll know the size of this venue and its surroundings, the queue of eager fans stretches along the front of the venue, around the corner and up to the back of the Barras market, to put into context the back of the queue was closer to Glasgow Green than it was the venue entrance.

We finally reach the doors and make our way up those iconic stairs to the ballroom via the obligatory visit to the merch booth. When you reach the top and walk through those doors, this stunning venue just opens up fast before your eyes and it really never gets old regardless of the number of times it’s done. The room is already quickly filled before the first and only support takes to the stage, and it comes as no surprise when you see the crowd outside prior.

To the support and it comes in the form of The Cruel Knives. The four piece formed of past members of Manchester band, Heavens Basement, the band who dissolved in 2017 with members Sid Glover and Rob Ellershaw later moving on to form The Cruel Knives. The band really brought their A game to this slot, with the room being as busy as it was, they had an almost full room to impress and get warmed up and that they certainly did.

Their engagement with the crowd was certainly a success and you can see the band fully soaking up every second of this. Having slots like this certainly give bands the freedom to be more adventuress and to that they did, dropping new single Overdose that was set to land the Friday after this show and seemed to get a fine reception. The crowd were taking in everything the band done and it saw a sea of hands clapping and waving along to songs like Hollow People and the set finale Shotgun to the Head, another unreleased song that certainly got a rousing response from Glasgow at least.

After a powerfully delivered set from the opening act, it was time to clear off the stage and prepare for the powerhouse of The Pretty Reckless to take to the stage. The lights dimmer and the intro music drowned out by the screams of the crowd as each band member strolls on one by one before the deafening screams triple in volume as the crowd get their first glimpse of Taylor Momsen – the opening chords of Death by Rock and Roll ripple round the room sending Glasgow’s east end wild.

Photo by Lucy Cheyne Photo.

Taylor strutting her stuff up and down the stage delighting each and every fan in front of her really showing just how powerful she is on stage – certainly of the best vocals in music and she had Glasgow in the palm of her hand. The set was off a strong start following on with Since You’re Gone, Only Love Can Save Me and the incredible Goin’ Down. From a film set, to dropping an insane live set, Taylor has it all and showing why she is one of the best – a goddess and her fans were loving it all.

From the new to back to where it all started, single from their 2010 debut Make Me Wanna Die see’s one of the biggest reactions of the night and the sound of the crowd chanting back is enough to make anyone’s hair stand on end and what a thing it was to witness – 14-year-old me would’ve had the time of his life and quite frankly 27-year-old me did just the same.

As the night goes on, the volume of the crowd just seems to get louder and louder, as the band drop My Medicine, the vocals of the fans must surely be heard by passers-by in the street blaring through all four walls of the ballroom. With Halloween just around the corner, Witches Burn was next to grace the ears of the fans, another outing for a track off Death by Rock and Roll.

The closing few songs of the set all sending the Glasgow crowd into raptures, Heaven Knows followed by Take Me Down both rounding off what was a perfect evening – but we all know how these gigs work, if a band say they’re done, most times they really aren’t, and this was the case as the band emerge for their actual finale with 2014 classic Fucked Up World with the added spectacular viewing pleasures of a drum solo from Jamie Perkins slapped right in the middle of the song.

This really was the perfect ending to a set that had it all from the New York heroes. A complete takeover of the East End saw the band put on one of the best performances that I have had the pleasure to lay eyes on. I just hope it’s not as long till the next meeting.