The Pretty Reckless // The Cruel Knives // Death By Rock & Roll Tour // Live Review // Belfast

In what seems like a lifetime since this show was announced we are finally here, Belfast’s historic Ulster Hall once again plays host to one of the new bloods on modern day rock & roll. The Pretty Reckless since their arrival way back in 2009 in NYC have kept their heads down and grafted, year after year honing their craft and delivery bigger and better music consistently.

Fronted by the enigmatic Taylor Momsen originally known for her acting career she shook those shackles pretty quick once she hit the stage with The Pretty Reckless and worked tirelessly to earn a reputation as an absolute killer frontwoman. A decade or so on The Pretty Reckless have been doing their thing, their way and making no apologies for it and thus far it’s worked a treat. Their latest album “Death By Rock And Roll” landed in 2021 which of course was kinda mid-pandemic as we were still in a weird place, but here we are fast-forward 18 odd months and tonight they’re here, in the flesh for the first time on Irish shores playing Belfast tonight and Dublin’s fair city tomorrow night so all’s good in the world of The Pretty Reckless.

Tonight in tow Cruel Knives, Just after 8 pm and the lights drop, The Ulster Hall is packed to the rafters, it’s a colourful affair and it goes wild for the arrival of The Cruel Knives. As the guys take to the stage you can tell the Belfast crowd are ready for a ragger and The Cruel Knives bring it! A killer sound, stellar vocals and a band that’s as tight as a tiger’s ass what’s not to love.

The guys have a hefty energetic set that will catch the attention of any honest rocker so they’re going down a treat with the ulster hall faithful.  These guys have been making waves for a while now and are no strangers to these shores having supported WASP back in 2017 but tonight’s another affair as they command the stage in the Ulster Hall and they don’t look out of place at all. A killer set flies by and the Belfast crowd erupts with appreciation. They guys absolutely knocked it out of the park.



A brief opportunity to catch our breath as the team set up the stage for Momsen & Co. Those afflicted with vapes and the need for nicotine race for the outside space to catch a drag and chew the fat over tonight’s support. 9:15 in the time they’re all waiting for, The Pretty Reckless make their Irish debut at 9:15 and this place is ready for it.

As the lights drop the band land on stage with a space for Momson right in the middle vacated for now, the bass bins below me in the pit start to boom as if it’s a ticking clock on a countdown as just as I think that the sultry figure of Momsen takes to the stage as Belfast screams their approval. BOOOM and we’re off, a hefty sound kicks in and the band come to life. Momsen commands the stage as every great frontwoman before her does, strutting her stuff from left to right belting out the lyrics from songs over their 10 + year career and of course their latest offering “Death By Rock And Roll” , “Who You Selling For” and “Light Me Up” they have really honed in on a sound now and made their mark in modern female fronted rock, with so many strong female leads out there now and  Momsen fits right in. The crowd is hanging on every word coming from her lips, tossing vocal exchanges back and forth and they love every minute of it. I don’t think I’ve seen a crowd quite like this in a while, so passionate, so in-sync with an artist and literally living a breathing every moment of the performance.

As enigmatic as Momsen & Co. are on stage there is an energy from the crowd that tells me that The Pretty Reckless is almost a way of life here and this is more like a religious experience than it is a musical one! It’s great to see all the same, many would say Rock And Roll is dead, well they need to get their asses down to The Ulster Hall tonight to understand it is alive!! Alive I say!! Living and breathing in the flesh through The Pretty Reckless and an army of devoted fans, young and old who carry the flag proudly on.

A great end to the weekend, canteens far and wide tomorrow will be buzzing as people relive the occasion and of the queues at the merch stands were anything to go by Belfast will be awash with new attire to spot over the coming days.

I hope Belfast left its mark on The Pretty Reckless as they did on this fine city, come back soon now ya’hear!


Photography: Mark McGrogan 









THE PRETTY RECKLESS, currently on a three-month tour of the USA and Canada, have announced a full UK and Ireland headline tour for the autumn with special guests The Cruel Knives, as follows:




Sun           23             BELFAST                                     Ulster Hall

Mon        24             DUBLIN                                      Olympia Theatre

Wed         26             GLASGOW                                Barrowland

Thu          27             MANCHESTER                         Academy

Sat            29             NEWCASTLE                             City Hall

Sun           30             BIRMINGHAM                         Academy




Tue           01             BRISTOL                                     Academy

Wed         02             SOUTHAMPTON                    Guildhall

Thu          03             NORWICH                                 UEA

Sat            05             LONDON                                    Brixton Academy


The band then head to mainland Europe for dates in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and France.