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First thing’s first, before going to this show I was not a Pretty Reckless fan. I had listened to a few songs, and while I enjoyed them I did not feel compelled to buy their albums or go out of my way to listen to them. They had a moderately successful debut album Light Me Up and had already been on a few tours both as headlining and supporting acts. Now it was time for the Going to Hell Tour to support their second album.
The first thing I noticed on arriving at Brixton O2 Academy was the vast amount of people already waiting. The line waiting for the show, for me, is part of the experience. You need to spend time standing outside with other fans – it is where all the weird and wonderful things happen. I saw an alarming amount of girls who looked like younger clones of Momsen and could hear the support bands rehearsing (as well as see them nonchalantly walking past us as we wait outside).
The first support act of the night was Nothing More, an American alternative metal band. They began playing as the crowd were still piling in and did a good job of setting the atmosphere for the night. They had amazing energy and it was a truly unique performance made so in part due to the way they used their instruments. During one song the band connected the lead guitar to an apparatus which allowed them to use it as a drum kit in itself. It was something I had never seen done before and would not forget.
The second support act was Heaven’s Basement, a British hard rock band. They seemed to be a hit with the crowd and a lot of people were singing along to their songs and really getting into it. They put on an amazing performance and although most of the audience were captivated there were a few who did not seem to be enjoying themselves at all. At the end of they threw various items into the audience including guitar picks and drum sticks that caused a slight tug-of-war.
The Pretty Reckless held a huge presence coming onto the stage. A silk curtain hid the stage allowing the audience only to see the silhouette of Taylor Momson heading onto the stage as the music had already begun. The screams from the mini Momsens in the crowd were deafening as the curtain fell. The atmosphere had changed drastically by this point and the audience had seemed to triple in size. I no longer had the space to breathe or the use of my limbs due to the cramped environment I was now part of, and for the entirety of the set I was securely attached to the behind of the man in front of me – which wasn’t comfortable at all. We all seemed to move as one to the music and if others jumped up and down beside me, I was taken involuntarily with them. Due to these cramped conditions a few of the younger members of the audience had to be lifted out of the pit and given medical help, but this didn’t seem to have any effect on the performance for The Pretty Reckless, or the audience. It was just taken as part and parcel of the experience.
The set-list was dominated by their new material but included a few of their older and more widely known songs like ‘Make Me Wanna Die’. The show didn’t feel too rehearsed and at one point Momsen forgot her percussion and had to run back to get it which added some charm. On this night in particular it happened to be Momsens friends’birthday and so an impromptu birthday celebration commenced on stage, the audience participating by singing a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday To You’. At the end of the night I left feeling good albeit slightly sweaty and wobbly. It was an energetic and lively gig, they had an amazing stage presence and for the most part left the audience wanting more.
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