Stone Sour and The Pretty Reckless at Brixton Academy, London - live review

Corey Taylor unleashes his inner arena rocker

Art for Stone Sour and The Pretty Reckless live at Brixton Academy, London

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Considering Corey Taylor is letting his arena rock chops hang out tonight, THE PRETTY RECKLESS’s [6] glamorous, lean, throwback rock’n’roll proves a good fit for support. Fronted by the bluesy-voiced Taylor Momsen, to paraphrase Prince, they’ve got the look, but not much more than that. Follow Me Down is a raucous enough opener, but by the time we get to Hangman, a mere four songs in, the interest levels are beginning to wane. And so it goes, pretty much, in a series of musical diminishing returns until they fade out with Take Me Down.

Say what you like about STONE SOUR’s [8] fairly underwhelming Hydrograd, released last summer, but there is no denying the rattle and hum of the band live. Small in stature but huge on stage, Corey Taylor is beyond gleeful tonight in his Queen t-shirt and floppy Mohawk that’s very Tommy lee circa 1989. Wielding a confetti/ streamer gun that he totes about like Ripley in Alien, he and the band race from one end of the stage to the other amidst multiple risers and pyro in what looks like a bet to see who can cover the most ground over the course of the evening. The set, too, mirrors them for pace and energy. They crash in with Taipei Person/Allah Tea and really don’t let up from there. Made Of Scars is a surprise early entry into the set and the crowd sing so lustily and long that Taylor drops his mic down at his side and stares, startled, the grin on his face ever elongated.

Guitarist Josh Rand keeps the 80s motif moving, too, with a series of day-glo guitars – green, purple, polka dot – that wouldn’t have looked out of place had Poison been playing them in their heyday. It’s a curious if effective mix of old-school rock’n’roll and crunching, near-hysterical metal. Say You’ll Haunt Me typifies their almost casual mix (in that they make it look easy) of air-punching, freewheeling hard rock and well-crafted songs with a well-thought-out lyric. It’s pretty much what the Foo Fighters do, if a little further along the food chain. Tonight, though, Stone Sour’s taut, barrelling entertainment proves a real case of indoor fireworks.

Philip Wilding

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.