‘Seguridad Social’… the local lads from Valencia who became Spanish rock stars in the early 1990s were a really good support band last night. The singer Jose Casañ sported a punk haircut and tartan outfit and he sang with the energy of someone 30 years younger. The band’s crystal clear punk-pop rock sound was really defined and with a lot of heart too. There was great musicianship overall and they never let their set drag. It was high energy from start to finish and entertaining too.

Regarding ‘The Pretenders’ playing in Valencia last night… when it comes to rock’n’roll on both sides of the Atlantic…they are the real deal. Chrissie Hynde has got the iconic songs and the cool look and that very distinctive vibrato voice too. There’s not many singers who personally lived through the Californian sixties counterculture and were an integral part of the British punk and post-punk scene of the 70s/80s… and are still relevant to this day. At the age of 72, Chrissie is not one to rest on her laurels either.  The avowed vegetarian continues to tour relentlessly and we were also treated in Valencia to new songs from the latest album by The Pretenders, ‘Relentless.’

Her 4 piece band was tight and energetic and dynamic.  The singer introduced the band… with a number of humorous asides in English between songs about being grandmother, a hillbilly of sorts and her lack of Spanish speaking skills.  Indeed, her Canadian lead guitarist  did a mighty fine job with tasty licks and fills and slashing chords. The Scandinavian drummer was a powerful presence throughout the show and there was a solid bassist too:  “from Eastbourne… with family here in Valencia,” as Chrissie added with a wry smile. The Pretenders are tight-knit live unit and you get the feeling they all get on well too.

Of course, the main star of the night was without doubt Chrissie Hynde. She’s got the ruffled rock star hair of Keith Richards at his peak, an array of telecaster guitars and plenty of charisma and a singular vocal talent too. It’s an untrained voice that goes to the heart, which is what rock’n’roll is really about.  The Valencia crowd were treated to ballads and even some rockabilly that brought the spirit of Elvis alive, post-punk numbers and also an edgy number about junkies…that was provocative yet poignant given she lost 2 original members of ‘The Pretenders’ to fatal drug overdoses back in the day. Yes, this is a singer who really had done it all and has outlived virtually everybody else along the way to tell the tale.

Inevitably, the big  hits like’ Kid’ and ‘Back on the Chain Gang’  and ‘Middle of the Road’ got the biggest cheers from a fun-loving and uplifting Valencia crowd of all  ages. At the end of the concert, ‘The Pretenders’ came back for a vibrant ‘Brass in Pocket’ as the encore. The crowd went home happy and Chrissie Hynde praised “Valencia as a great place to play, the venue, the city, everything really.”

Report by Will McCarthy

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’

All photos copyright Phillip Solomonson/ 24/7 Valencia

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24/7 Valencia is the definitive English Speaking guide to Valencia. Extensive Listings, up-to-date and informed articles on restaurants, chill out, clubland, football, culture, arts, books, woman and much more.
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