A review written by Barbara Penny from Sounds, November 10, 1979
Some audiences are so dumb. They stand around like a lot of stuffed fish, guarding their precious little spaces
and grooving on the fact that they have managed to blag their way into a 'prestigious gig'.
I feel very protective about the Pretenders and Chrissie Hynde in particular, who has the potential to be one of
the biggest talents we're ever going to get and it pisses me off that circumstances like media-overkill and rock
audiences' intrinsic need to be in on 'the next big thing' have forced the Pretenders into the uncomfortable position
of being headlining bigshots when the are still, quite frankly, novices.
At least someone had the sense to book a residency at the Marquee rather than repeat the abortion that was the
recent Lyceum gig.
The object of the exercise, we are told, is to preview numbers intended for the debut album (and what a lot of
rot there will be when that comes out!), but as the Divine Hynde did not grace us with any Akronesque chit-chat,
I can't promise any accuracy as to titles.
They opened with an instrumental 'Space Invader' that sounded suspiciously like heavy metal jamming. 'Stop Your
Sobbing' came early in the set and everyone went bananas 'cos at least they knew the words to that. The two new
numbers that made the most impression were 'Brass In Pocket' and 'Private Lives'.
Somewhere along the line was an appalling version of 'Kid' that had members of the band visibly wincing and wishing
they had cyanide pills strapped to their back teeth. However, all was forgiven when they ripped into an excellent
'Tattoo Love Boys', proving that Bolan lives on for another three minutes.
I want to be fair to the Pretenders. I did enjoy their set (mind you, I'd get off if Chrissie Hynd just stood on
stage and studied her navel, but that's my problem). But it's not helping anyone to go ape-shit over something
that is still at a nascent stage.
Far lesser talent has been destroyed because of it, so don't be greedy…