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Melody Maker / January 2, 1982

By Colin Irwin

The Pretenders
Dominion, London

She came on for the encores. "I'd like," said Chrissie, with a mischievous glint in her eye, "to introduce somebody who's been a big inspiration to us."

And there she was - Sandie Shaw belting out "Girl Don't Come" full of steely menace and fractured vocals (but not bare feet) and sounding exactly like… well, Chrissie Hynde. Clearly 1982 is going to be a year of the Sandie Shaw cult.

The Pretenders were pretty damn wonderful too. "Pretenders 2" may be heavy and untenable, but on stage the songs explode into life with rare venom. "The Adultress" was particularly gripping, and "Day After Day," "English Roses" and even "I Go To Sleep" were paraded with a vivaciousness not apparent on record.

Most importantly they exuded a real lust for being on stage. The band - much maligned as heavy metal sullards - lent force and stridency to the proceedings, impressively backing up the incomparable Ms Hynde who sounded like… well Sandie Shaw. The whole place was bopping within a couple of numbers of the start - the Pretenders may move your soul but they are also FUN.

So when we got the hits, your "Brass In Pocket" and "Message Of Love" and "Talk Of The Town," hysteria was creeping in. It was Christmas and frankly I'd had the odd sherbert, but I haven't enjoyed a gig as much since Tenpole Tudor last blitzed their way past every preconception going.

After brooding their way through that taciturn second album, the Pretenders release the tension with a buoyant vengeance. Don't write them off just yet.

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