Sonic Spectrum Presents: A Tribute to Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders
Sunday, February 28, 2011
Better than: watching the Oscars.
Thanks to the rain and the Oscars, Sonic Spectrum's second
installment of its new tribute series wasn't as well attended as the first. And
though David Bowie, the artist local musicians paid homage to last month, may
be more widely known than the Pretenders, last night's tribute was a show that
did Chrissie Hynde proud.
Unfortunately, local songstress Jenny Carr had to cancel, so the night started off with the only all-male group to join in the tribute, longtime Lawrence rockers the Mahoots. Playing through a short set like the veterans that they are, the Mahoots had the misfortune of taking to the stage early enough in the night that they played to the smallest crowd. But that was
no reflection of talent, and singer Steve Wilson did an impressive male take on the Chrissie Hynde voice.
Up next were Erin McGrane and Katie Gilchrist, backed by Sean Hogge on guitar. They took a more acoustic spin on the Pretenders catalog, with McGrane rocking out "Don't Get Me Wrong" on the ukulele. They finished a short, three-song set with the standard "Brass in Pocket," and the ladies wailed out some of the strongest female vocals of the night, with the bar singing along.
There was a lot of anticipation surrounding garage-rock band Lazy's Pretenders performance. Lazy thrives on stage presence and the strength of lead singer Sarica Douglas' edgy female vocals, and it seemed that most people I talked to throughout the course of the night were eager to see the group pull it off. Donning a short, black wig with Hynde's signature choppy bangs, Douglas rocked through the Hynde catalog. By now, the bar was fairly full of people who'd had enough of the Oscars madness, and Lazy played their flashy set to a fairly large crowd. Their sound was good -- but their stage show was great. The tribute was a show made for Lazy, and they didn't disappoint.
Finally, Abigail Henderson and Atlantic Fadeout took to the stage for the final Pretenders homage. Henderson, having just participated in the "Exile on Main Street" tribute show last week, is a veteran when it comes to channeling the sound of someone as classic as Chrissie Hynde. With the full band behind her, she rocked and wailed through a choice set that included my favorite performance of the night, a cover of the Pretenders' "Stop Your Sobbing." It seemed only fitting in that moment as Henderson rocked out the lyrics, It's time for you to laugh so stop your crying. It's time for you to laugh so keep on trying. It was a peak moment in the heat of the tribute.
For most people, the highlight of the night came when Atlantic Fadeout nailed a cover of the sometimes sappy but always powerful song "I'll Stand by You." Henderson pulled it off with ease, and without coming across as sappy or cheesy, which is impressive for a song that is so often misused and misinterpreted.
In the end, the second show in a series of tributes will always be a hard one to pull off, fresh off the success of the Bowie show. I think that Sonic Spectrum's host Robert Moore knew that this one wouldn't be as popularly attended, but the talent was solid and the tribute sincere.
Atlantic Fadeout's Set List:
Stop Your Sobbing
I'll Stand by You
Middle of the Road
The Oscars were playing on the small television in the back of the bar,
and every time I looked over, I realized just how many movies I didn't see this
past year. I'm OK with that. I saw a lot of great rock shows instead.