The Pretenders

SXSW live shot

The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde
The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde (Photo By Mary Sledd)

The Pretenders

Stubb's, Saturday, March 18

With SXSW 06 in its last throes, the question of what sort of set the Pretenders might deliver hung over the capacity crowd like the threat of rain. Earlier in the week, frontwoman Chrissie Hynde had dropped the bomb that the Pretenders might never record another album. Yet when she took the stage, dressed in a white jacket, black biker T, and blue jeans, the first lady of rock didn't look ready for retirement. Digging deep into a catalog of nearly lost classics from her heyday with the band's first, late-great guitarist James Honeyman-Scott, including "Kid" and "Pack it Up," Hynde teased the crowd that "we're only doing the songs real die-hard fans will know." The strategy worked to showcase Hynde's strengths as a performer, especially her still-potent punk sensibility. With her sheep-dog shag intact, she swiveled her hips through songs familiar and unfamiliar as if the Pretenders had first come out of the gate last week. Sure, the kids were puzzled that she balked at yelled requests for "Middle of the Road," but by the time Hynde rolled with "Back on the Chain Gang," the crowd was all contenders – no, um... pretenders. With a graying Martin Chambers still on drums, and longtime collaborator Adam Seymour playing a searing lead guitar, the set could not have been tighter. The rain held off, and after a pair of encores, a final SXSW clinic was complete.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Thursday Interview
Thursday Interview

Nina Hernandez, March 20, 2015

Thursday Picks & Sleepers
Thursday Picks & Sleepers
SXSW Thursday handicapping by the blurb

March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Dan Oko
Spotlight: Richard Thompson
Spotlight: Richard Thompson
10pm, Antone's

March 15, 2013

Ballroom Dancing
SXSW Keynote: Dave Grohl
SXSW panel reviews

March 15, 2013

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle