The Pretenders (
The Pretenders (

Chrissie Hynde at a McDonald's protest
Chrissie Hynde at a McDonald's protest
Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders called it “ladies’ night” at Marymoor Park.

Three feisty, female-fronted bands — The Pretenders, Cat Power and Juliette and the Licks — rocked their hearts out at the Redmond amphitheater.

The Pretenders kicked off their set with the title song of the current album, “Break Up the Concrete,” an anti-development diatribe that could have rattled the windows at the Microsoft complex just up the road. The show was packed with such hits as “Talk of the Town,” “Back on the Chain Gang,” “Thumbelina,” “Kid” (which Hynde dedicated to deceased members James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon) and “Night in My Veins.”

Among the other new songs were “Boots of Chinese Plastic,” “Love’s a Mystery” and “Rosalee.”

Concertgoers piled up in front of the stage, dancing, raising fists and grinning gleefully at Hynde and her bandmates, who performed with enough energy to power generators in downtown Redmond.

The evening deserved an “A” for summer ambience. It was sunny and warm until dusk. After nightfall, a half moon peeked through clouds from behind the stage.

At 57, Hynde still rocks as hard as musicians half her age. Her music touches the soul, shakes the body and demands attention. Her socially tinged messages aimed at corporate irresponsibility carry quite a sting. A supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Hynde has placed McDonald’s restaurants in her crosshairs, twisting the chain’s current slogan into a pointedly different message: “I’m hatin’ it.”

On a more personal level, Hynde doesn’t like her photo taken, either. Maybe they just look too unflattering. “Get a postcard!” she bellowed at those who tried to snap pictures.

One of the big surprises in the set was a powerful version of “Angel of the Morning,” the big hit by Seattle’s Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts in the ’60s. But Hynde said nothing about the song or about Rush, a ’60s Seattle icon who received a Grammy nomination for her version of the Chip Taylor song. Rush still lives in the Northwest.

The Pretenders closed their show with an encore featuring “Watching the Clothes,” “Brass in the Pocket” and “Middle of the Road.”

The concert opened at 6 p.m. with a flamboyant, yet somewhat abrasive set by Juliette (Lewis) and the Licks. The group played songs from the raucous new album “Terra Incognita.”

The support act, as it is often is called, was Cat Power, a.k.a. Chan Marshall, a minimalist singer-songwriter with a dark, sometimes ominous sound. Her cult status has been enhanced by collaborations with Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl and other rock musicians.

There’s only one show left to go in the Marymoor series: Flogging Molly Sept. 17.

One Reply to “CONCERT REVIEW: The Pretenders at Marymoor Park”

  1. Fabulous show! I loved every minute of it. Hynde is, imo, the greatest female rocker ever and is even better now than she was decades ago.

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