Written by Eddie Ferranti
ImageRecently, I had the pleasure of taking my HMR Bossman, Samuel Barker, on a “Nickel Tour” of my birthplace in NE Ohio. We had a blast and it was more than ironic that the first gig I covered upon coming back to Houston was Chrissie Hynde and her new look Pretenders.

She’s from my neck of the woods in Akron and she has had me as a fan since her 1978 debut. Back then, the timing for a strong female lead was taking shape ala Joan Jett and Debbie Harry, but Hynde’s sassy, in-your-face, refined punk sound changed the face of rock and has landed them in the R&R Hall of Fame, which we visited.

She was playing in one of my favorite venues, Bayou Music Center, and we had sweet seats up close and personal. The crowd was on the smaller side than I expected, but it was a loyal, attentive lot. I applaud Hynde’s approach to asking the audience to “sit back and enjoy the feel of a concert instead of from behind a screen.” In typical Chrissie fashion, she admonished verbally to one idiot using his cellphone and fired the bird finger to another.

Always known to me as the “Buckeye Bitch”, Hynde has always done things her way-and for good reason. Girl looks damn good at 62 and her pipes were strong albeit sound crew never really getting it “right” all evening. Too much guitar kept washing her out a tad, but good stuff indeed from James Walbourne and bassist Nick Wilkinson. Doing it her way meant an overdose of her new release ‘Stockholm’ including 4 of first 7 songs which lead her to comment: “Some of you look scared out there. Don’t worry it will get better.” It did.

ImageAn edgy, good blend of new band mates emerged on “Talk of the Town” and it really did a “grab hold of ya” kinda thing on the nasty “My City Was Gone” with Walbourne melting the stage on both solos facing off with a strum-upped Hynde! She looked happy and relaxed and chatted out some gems like: “Not many good bands out there left these days are there? I promise I’ll always have a good one when I play.” Also this nugget: “I like country, but they’re kind of lazy on guitar. Me, I like to rock.” They did major on “Kid”, all time classic of mine “Tattooed Love Boys”, “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and stellar “Back in the Chain Gang”. The lady is a strong songwriter and definitely does not look like she’s slowin’ down one bit.

Omissions are going to happen when you lean hard on a new release and “Brass in Pocket”, “Mystery Achievement” and “Middle of the Road” were missed, but the raucous encore and goose bumper- ran- right- up- in fronter of “Precious” rocked me back to my party days in “Ohighya” as we warmly remember it as.

Thumbs up to Chrissie for pushing a new album, with promising tunes “Dark Sunglasses”, “Sweet Nuthin'” and “In A Miracle” showcasing new line-up. The lady is a rock goddess to me and that means she’s still trying. Hell she even gave into the addiction of cell phone picturing taking for one song only when she posed for the adoring crowd. I admit that I welled up a time or two during this close to my heart performance as she warmly brought back memories of some of the best folks I’ll ever know. Come on back girl because you seem to have lots of shows left to play…God Bless your HOLIDAZE!