Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Duncan Everson (Photographer/Live Gig reporter Myglobalmind Webzine
I admit I had pre-conceived ideas about The Pretty Reckless which mostly centered on the ability or perhaps lack of, of the ex-actress centre-piece Taylor Momsen. I am always suspicious (or cynical maybe) about bands that have massive hype attached to them – are you listening Royal Blood – and sometimes wonder if it doesn’t do the band in question more harm than good by raising expectation to unachievable levels. Having been pleasantly surprised by their latest album I was interested to see exactly what this gig would bring.
First up were Texan band Nothing More, who I had heard good things about but having only listened to their new album on Spotify earlier in the day I was keen to see what they could do live. Due to the sell-out crowd taking their time packing in to the venue, I missed the first song and upon arrival was greeted with the sight of a shirtless singer in bare feet and a guitarist in his socks. I guess the band had made themselves at home! I also noticed that they all had a lot of energy on stage and were moving around as much as the cramped space they had would allow. The music was good and heavy and even better than the album with the guitar sound coming through heavier than recorded and the bass being clearer too. With a short set to impress with, the band brought out all the tricks I assume they usually employ such as the three man bass solo and all four members playing drums at the end. Unfortunately, due to the lack of stage space this meant that the apparatus used had to be moved around and brought on and off and this spoilt the flow of the set a little for me but that’s the practicalities of being the opening band I suppose.
Nothing More are a very enjoyable band to watch live who play great music that varies from radio friendly choruses on some songs to some really heavy riffs and guitar work on others. I bought their album on the way out as I was so impressed and look forward to seeing them again next time they are here.
Jonny Hawkins – Lead Vocals
Mark Vollelunga – Guitar
Daniel Oliver – Bass
Paul O’Brien – Drums
Heaven’s Basement are one of my favourite bands and are always fantastic live, so it was great to see them again. Opening with “Welcome Home”, the band explode onto the stage and launch into an energetic performance that they manage to keep up for the whole set. Singer Aaron Buchanan seemed to struggle a little at times with his voice but I think this is more down to an obvious problem with his in-ear monitor and his recent illness than anything else as most of the time he was able to sing with all his usual power and tone. Chris Rivers is a powerhouse on the drums, keeping time brilliantly but at the same time always looking like he’s having a great time – he’s quite often to be seen standing up behind the drums and is constantly smiling. Bassist Rob Ellershaw is not only an excellent player but also a good backing singer and another live wire onstage. Probably the best way to describe Sid Glover would be Guitar Hero. The fact he’s an awesome guitarist is a given but he also throws the kind of shapes onstage that makes him a photographer’s dream and the fact he always looks cool whatever he’s doing is the icing on the cake.
Their music is perfect for rock radio being uptempo, full speed ahead rock without being thrashy. With songs that are easy to sing along to and with the band always giving a great performance, the only disappointment with their set was that it was too short. Heaven’s Basement should be headlining tours as they are simply too good to be a support band. If you get a chance to see them, don’t hesitate but try to keep an eye on all the members of the band, as any one of them could be doing something worth watching at any time. Fantastic!
Aaron Buchanan – Vocals
Sid Glover – Guitar
Rob Ellershaw – Bass
Chris Rivers – Drums
Before The Pretty Reckless came on stage, something happened that I haven’t seen at a gig for a long time – they put a curtain up to hide the stage from the audience. After the intro tape finished and, to a huge cheer from the crowd, the curtain dropped to reveal the band at their stations playing the start of “Follow Me Down”. I have to say that mid-way through the song, I noticed how good Taylor’s vocals were and could well have been better than in the studio. Another thing that I quickly noticed was that she also has tremendous charisma and stage presence, so much so in fact that the rest of the band can easily be overlooked. Especially Jamie Perkins on drums, hidden away in the shadows at the back which might be why he has a solo spot during the encore! Mark Damon on bass could very well be the coolest looking man in the building and keeps his shades on throughout the evening, concentrating on the job in hand rather than leaping around like a lunatic. Guitarist Ben Phillips had a great tone to his guitar and also did a great job throughout the show, particularly impressing on the bluesy intro to “Heaven Knows”. But the star of this show is undoubtedly Taylor Momsen – tellingly the chants between songs were for “Taylor! Taylor!” and not for “Reckless! Reckless!” However, I can’t hold it against her as having witnessed the band first hand I can say that this woman is most definitely a Rockstar through and through.
There were some great songs played, particularly “Why’d You Bring A Shotgun To The Party” and “Going To Hell”, but the set was a bit on the short side to be called value for money at just about an hour in length. On the positive side of that of course is the fact that Taylor will keep her excellent voice in form for much longer. I would definitely see them again and everyone else seemed to leave happy too.
The Pretty Reckless
Taylor Momsen – Vocals
Ben Phillips – Guitar
Mark Damon – Bass
Jamie Perkins – Drums