The Pretenders, Cat Power at Pala, CA [09.01.09]

The Pretenders, Cat Power, Juliette Lewis at the Palomar Starlight Theatre, Pala, CA [09.01.09]

1) Break Up The Concrete
2) Message Of Love
3) Talk Of The Town
4) Kid
5) Love’s A Mystery
6) My City Was Gone
7) Back On The Chain Gang
8) Tequila
9) Rosalee
10) Angel Of The Morning
11) The Last Ride
12) Don’t Get Me Wrong
13) Don’t Cut Your Hair
14) Thumbelina
15) Boots Of Chinese Plastic
16) Night In My Veins
17) Mystery Achievement
18) Precious

19) Stop Your Sobbing
20) Day After Day
21) Middle Of The Road

The Chrissie Hynde show circa 2009…one of the last shows on a tour to promote the LP Break Up The Concrete.  The band sounded great with Ms. Hynde doing what she does best…which is fantastic singing over the span of 90 minutes with a cache of classic rock at its finest with some decent new songs to consistently prove that the ‘ol gal still has it [which she does].  She may be turning 58 next week on 09.07.09 but she’s still a young punk at heart.  I found new guitarist James Walbourne to be a bit of a wanker [a fast player who knows some scales but has very little to say with his instrument and he keeps saying it over and over] but bassist Nick Wilkinson was solid as a rock as he locked in with “the greatest rock drummer of the last 30 years” Martin Chambers behind the skins. That is how Hynde announced Chambers to the crowd but I’m sorry, the “greatest rock drummer of the last 30 years” does not drop the beat over ten times in a 90 minute show.  Still, I love his longevity and he is in the pocket when not overly concerned with bouncing his sticks off of his snare drum and catching them in mid-air. Pedal steel player Eric Heywood did a great job filing in the sonic colour that will never be duplicated by anyone after the earthly demise of James Honeyman-Scott.  And so it goes…

What is up with Cat Power?  I absolutely love her voice but her back up band looks and sounds like what they are…a bunch of hired hands.  She performed for 45 minutes in the dark, prowled the stage like an animal uncomfortable with her surroundings and never spoke to the audience except to mention each member of the band and where they came from geographically.  The set consisted mostly of covers from her latest album Jukebox (including A Woman Left Lonely, She’s Got You, Dark End Of The Street and Angelitos Negros) but it wasn’t until the final number of the set that the band really caught fire and found a connection with each other.  Too little, too late.  Still, she has a great voice.  I’m willing to catch her another time and see if it was an off night.  I wish her well.

We missed Juliette Lewis unfortunately.

And, one major gripe that has nothing to do with the performers…do all the middle-class folks who attend higher-end rock concerts these days have nothing better to do with their money than go to a concert and yak at the top of their drunken lungs just to annoy the other folks who came to listen to the performance?  I seriously wonder if most people in this current culture have the attention span to sit and pay attention to what a performer has to offer…why bother leaving your house, paying for a ticket and taking the trouble to drive to a venue if all you are going to do is talk through an entire performance? I don’t get it.  Much like Humphrey’s By The Bay on Shelter Island, venues like Pala Casino attract a lot of people, but do these people really care about music?  In another era I think they’d rather be seen at Studio 54.