Home > Category > Ted Leo

Live Review / Photos: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists @ First Unitarian Church Basement (2009.12.02)

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists @ First Unitarian Church

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Even Heroes Have To Die from the upcoming album The Brutalist Bricks (2010)

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists have been a staple food in my musical diet for a long time.  His shows are always uplifting, riotously fun affairs jam-packed with killer guitar, resonant lyrics, and an air-tight band.  Whenever he comes into DC (his one-time residence, and essentially second home), he always packs the 9:30 Club or the Black Cat (as he did this past Thursday) to capacity.  I decided to change things up a bit for his recent string of East Coast dates, and made the drive to Philly to catch him last Wednesday at First Unitarian. I’ve been to shows at First Unitarian Church’s Sanctuary before, and was curious to see Ted in a different setting than a standard rock venue.

Odd fate struck when I walked down Chestnut, as I was diverted to the basement for the true DIY cred of a church basement show. Much like the VFW hall centered scenes that dot the suburbs of this country, church basements are a furnace of activity for the underaged showgoer that are blackballed by 18+ and 21+ traditional venues.

As it turns out, this choice of venue over the sanctuary was an inspired one. The crowded, modestly appointed interior perfectly channeled Ted Leo’s exacting DIY ethos and the energy of his effervescent pop punk. Instead of that blockbuster, celebrity rockstar vibe you can get when Ted plays one of the aforementioned venues, you get an altogether different experience, something truer to his spirit and roots.  What’s more, for those of us who still remember youthful adventures in such spaces, Leo’s more sage and introspective repertoire brought on a wave of acute nostalgia, and even that increasingly derided feeling: hope.

In this way, Ted Leo will always be an oasis in relatively bleak times. A unusually apolitical show (particularly after the official escalation of war in Afghanistan), Ted paused only once to acknowledge the state of current affairs as less than desirable. But he followed quickly with an affirmation of purpose: “But let’s not talk about that tonight. Instead, I’ll just continue writing, and singing, songs about it.” I can think of few other callings that could be more important, more rewarding, more necessary.

More photos after the jump.

Read the rest…

This weekend-Spoon, White Rabbits, Colin Meloy, Ted Leo and more…

What seems to be the designated “big” show this month, is going down tonight at Sonar. Spoon (pictured left) supported by the Walkmen and the stellar, super-friendly White Rabbits (who we recently did an interview with).

I am actually on the BYT clock to cover the event, which got a strong endorsement from an envious Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak) who is out of town touring this weekend and missing a chance to see her BFFs/label-mates Spoon in something smaller than a stadium-sized venue. So I will make the most of it, as should you. See if you can score something reasonable off Craig and get there, it’ll probably even be worth the $50 price-gouge. Do yourselves a favor and get to this however you can, whatever it takes.

If you don’t happen to be into Spooning…I may have your prescription. I have it on good information that Ted Leo (pictured right) is playing a free show at Goucher College during its G.I.G. festival today, Friday April 11.

Continuing the free show concept is Double Dagger with Thank You at UMBC, also on this jam-packed Friday.

And on Saturday, a day of rest. But Sunday, one of my all-time favorites, Colin Meloy is playing his solo gig at 9:30 Club in DC.

Get hyped. Here’s some morsels to get you started:

Spoon – Cherry Bomb Country (demo)

White Rabbits – March of the Camels

Ted Leo – Biomusicology

Colin Meloy – Barbara Allen (Shirley Collins cover)

Fort Reno preps 2008 season

DC’s favorite little outdoor-venue-that-could, Fort Reno, is a lovely spot for an afternoon/evening show in the summertime. Every year, a free concert series runs through the summer, typically every Monday and Thursday in the Tenleytown park of the same name.

With the backdrop being an old, castle-like fort and the dim, amber glow of neighborhood streetlights, the whole setup makes for some picturesque moments in the early hours of dusk.

Past year’s have seen names like Ted Leo, Benjy Ferree, the Evens, Mary Timony, Max Levine Ensemble, Fugazi, Q and Not U, and Georgie James. A lot of the draw is thanks to the prominent involvement of Ian Mackaye’s (Fugazi, the Evens, Dischord Records owner) kid sister Amanda as musical curator for the series.

I’d definitely like to see more Baltimore representation down there…Avec, Thrushes, Wzt Hearts, Death Set, I am looking in all your general directions…submissions of demos are being accepted until March 17.

Couple epic live vids after the jump…
Photo by Flickr user BillAdler

Ted Leo Live @ Fort Reno 2004/5?

Fugazi – Song #1 Live @ Fort Reno, 2002 *last show