Gig review by Zak Edwards with photography by Bianca Barrett

The Pretty Reckless

It’s sometimes a wee bit tough as a 40 something year old geezer, to review bands on a cold, wet and miserable Monday evening in November after a tough day in the office. This is compounded somewhat when you consider that the aforementioned old blokes football team is on the telly (Aston Villa for those interested – they drew) coupled with the fact that it’s see a genre of music that he doesn’t know a great deal about, doesn’t particularly like and one which, to say the least, is loud. Very loud.

However, you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and thus it was that I found myself at the glorious surround of the Birmingham Institute to see The Pretty Reckless supported by Nothing More and Heaven’s Basement.

We arrived late and unfortunately only caught the end of the Nothing More Set. As seems to be obligatory with ‘metal’ bands at least one member of the band has to be topless and in this instance it was the turn of the singer. In the little time we saw them, we found that their music was tribal, energetic and loud. Yes – very loud! The fans were loving it though – a great opener.

Heaven's Basement

Next up Heaven’s Basement who made their way on to the stage to the musical backdrop of a stomping, banging, dark interlude. Very Mad Max.

Crossing that rap/metal divide, in a similar vein to Enter Shakiri, they were very shouty and very full on. For me, a little too full on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not that much of a boring old fart that I don’t get it. I do see the appeal, honest I do. But I think there needs to be a bit of light and shade in a song – not just 3 minutes of full throttle. Especially when this is for every song.

Heaven's Basement

Also, something I’ve noticed a lot… Metal singers tend to talk in this faux English/American accent. You know what I mean… pronouncing it “Birminghaaaammmm” with that slight American drawl, when really they hail from Kettering. Is this just me or is this actually a thing? If so, these guys did it. If not, ignore!

With the curtains drawn and bells ringing to the backdrop of a moody guitar riff and some very suggestive moaning, the stage (and atmosphere) were literally set for The Pretty Reckless to take their bow. Boom, the curtains dropped and they were off like a shot with the catchy ‘Follow me Down’. A splendid opener.

The Pretty Reckless

Ooozing sex appeal and clad in a raunchy union jack dress, Taylor Momsen wasted no time in playing up to the crowd – rubbing herself up against the guitarist seductively and keeping her blonde locks suggestively covering her face for the majority of the first few songs. The band – themselves musically excellent – were the perfect foil for the songstress. Think of them as her builders and her their architect.

‘Why’d You Bring a Shotgun’ and ‘House on the Hill’ from their recent ‘Going to Hell’ album were greatly received by the partisan crowd and then it was back to an oldie for their first ever released single, ‘Make Me Wanna Die’. Triffic stuff.

The Pretty Reckless

“Birmingham, if you know this next one scream your fucking balls off” screeched the lead singer before belting into ‘Heaven Knows’. It was then that drama struck as the PA blew – unbeknown to the band who carried on blissfully unaware. Slightly embarrassingly this lasted for a good couple of minutes and it wasn’t until the intervention of a roadie that the band stopped their song there and left the stage.

The Pretty Reckless

10 minutes of stomping and clapping ensued and then, with the admission that the crowd had “rocked too fucking hard”, it was back into the catchy number as if nothing had happened. Consummate professionals.

‘Going to Hell’ was their only encore and then it was back out to face the cold, but at least this time it was following an entertaining evenings rocking by the Gossip Girl and her rock cohorts. #smileyface

The Pretty Reckless

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