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Pretenders, CSS @ Indie 103's Wreck The Halls, Club Nokia 12/10/08

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Chrissie Hynde is so cool, she can get away with talking to her audience like a cranky old man without losing their affection.

"I don't like having my picture taken...surprised?" she remarked after having interrupted the previous song to chastise a gaggle of fans for getting overeager with the cell phone cameras. Hey, it's a cell phone company's club you're playing at, and they presumably want to sell more of those phones that take nice looking pictures at rock concerts. At another point she asked us "What do you want to hear?" and as a chorus of shouted requests made their way to the stage, she interrupted, "As long as it's not a PRETENDERS song!"

How she gets away with it is, in between the occasional snotty remark, you get some of the best, most heartfelt, and beautifully performed Anglophile-American rock and roll ever made. Their first three albums out of the gate are near-perfect, mountainous accomplishments, and if they haven't really topped them since, well you know, Axl Rose just spent fifteen years and a hundred skidillion dollars trying to come up with what amounts to his fourth album and nobody except Chuck Klosterman has ANYTHING good to say about that. Three great albums is still a hell of a legacy, and the goodwill they generate can carry you through some lean times.