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The Pretty Reckless and rising star Ayron Jones both released amazing rock albums in 2021 that landed in my top 5 albums of the year.  When The Pretty Reckless came to town for a stop on their Death by Rock and Roll tour supported by Ayron Jones, I knew it would be a double-shot night of kick ass rock I couldn’t miss.  

I had my first taste of Ayron Jones live in January of this year, opening for Shinedown.  Ayron and his four-piece band out of Seattle put on an energetic grungy blues rockin’ set that solidified my instincts that these dudes were on their way to a breakout year.  Eight months later, after winning over crowds all over Europe and North American, including a dream gig opening for The Rolling Stones in Paris, Ayron and band were in top form.  Each band member was fun to watch, lots of smiles, laughs, and eye contact with the fired up audience. They were clearly having the time of their lives rocking the packed House of Blues crowd.  While still riding the wave of his successful 2021 album Child of the State, the 36 year old Ayron just released a killer new tune “Filthy” in late August, so be sure and check that new tune out. 

The Pretty Reckless first hit my radar in 2016 when I heard the fast-paced rocker “Oh My God” on satellite radio.  The loud and ripping guitar riffs and pounding drums were awesome (think Soundgarden sonically), but it was the powerful female vocals of Taylor Momsen that caught my attention the most.  More recently, Taylor and band were reeling from the death of friend Chris Cornell in 2017 and then the band’s producer Kato Khandwala in a tragic motorcycle accident in 2018.  They poured their emotions into their 2021 album Death by Rock and Roll – and created a well-crafted masterpiece well-received by both fans and critics alike.  The album includes gentle beautiful melodic pop for mainstream ears but also some raw kick you in the teeth rockers, complete with guest appearances by Soundgarden members and Tom Morello.  Due to the unpredictable nature of touring in 2021 due to Covid still lingering, The Pretty Reckless chose to wait out the year and unleash their Death by Rock and Roll tour upon the world in April 2022.   After impressing music fans all summer long with a live show built to showcase Taylor’s incredible talents, the band was ready to take on San Diego.

The show started appropriately with “Death by Rock and Roll”; the opening title track off the new album.  With dark eye makeup, black leather jacket, silky slip dress, and grungy black combat boots with 3 inch platform soles, Taylor took the stage with an aura of fierceness, beauty, gracefulness, and passion - one bad ass female rock and roll vocalist.  Taylor’s wide vocal range and control were just phenomenal, delivering both delicate high pitch notes and blasting gravelly outbursts like she just smoked three cigars.  She also showed off that sassiness by dedicating “Witches Burn” to “all those women who’ve been f****d over by a man!” and the crowd went nuts.  A big takeaway from the show was how familiar the predominant twenty and thirty-something fans were with all the songs.  Even tracks like “Make Me Wanna Die” and “Zombie” off the debut 2010 album “Light Me Up” were met with familiarity and enthusiasm. 

It’s hard to take your eyes off Taylor – she was constantly dancing, gyrating, spinning, her long blonde hair flying all over the place while belting out incredible vocals. I must put Taylor at the top of my favorite female rock vocalists – she has it all!  The Pretty Reckless soon head out on an 18 city European tour in October as they continue their plan to take over the world. 

Be well and keep rockin’! - Greg Vitalich



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Greg Vitalich

Photojournalist - San Diego

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