This Saturday, March 31st, The Pretenders will play their first area headlining show in a decade when they take the stage of the Tower Theater. And, if setlist.fm can be trusted, their set will contain a number of tracks from their latest record (2016’s Alone, produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach), in addition to a plethora of “classics,” like “Kid,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” and “Tattooed Love Boys.” However, you’ll want to get there early to catch New Jersey’s Lowlight, who are opening the show and whom Pretenders mainperson Chrissie Hynde handpicked personally (They go on at 8 sharp.) Lowlight recently released their Born to Run EP and, while they’re currently being billed as a synth pop group, their debut, 2016’s Were Do We Go From Here, was actually more along the lines of Americana. In a recent chat with frontperson and vocalist Renee Maskin I ask the actual influences behind this amalgam and just how this evolution came about. She gently laughs, before replying quite sincerely.
“We all come from different backgrounds. My standard answer is, ‘We’re doing our best to take Bowie and Willie Nelson and smash them together. I think it was very natural, though. On our first record we were trying to figure out who we were s a band. For this one, we started with the music, where we started with the lyrics on the last record. The thing that we’re most excited about right now is making the new record, which is just going to build on the sound of this EP.”
Although Lowlight are still relatively new and mostly play regionally (lots of NJ dates and tons of New Hope shows), Renee tells me that they definitely plan to explore Philly in the next year. They have also, even prior to their dates with The Pretenders, played some quite big shows. When I ask some of the highlights of the band, Renee tells me, “We played Codfish Barn Stormers in Iowa, opening for Lucius. That was really cool, and they were super great.” Renee and I spoke prior to their six-date run with The Pretenders, which they’re currently half-way through (Saturday’s show in Upper Darby will be #5.), but she was beyond jubilant about this opportunity for Lowlight.
“We’re so crazy excited and it’s really, really cool. It’s mad cool, we’re just so excited about it. We’ll be in these huge theaters and we’re used to playing clubs. We’re excited for it. We like to rock out and move around, which will be nice on the stages of these huge theatres. If we ever get a Lowlight biopic, the scene when we open for The Pretenders will be just so joyous [laughs].”