Ted Leo + The Pharmacists Friday December 3, 2004 The Brew Space 101 Gallery Pittsburgh, PA

w/ Matt Pond PA, Chris Leo

My Vien Ilin/Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?/Me And Mia/The High Party/Biomusicology/The One Who Got Us Out/Counting Down The Hours/Little Dawn/Hearts Of Oak/Timorous Me

Encore: Six Months In A Leaky Boat/Under The Hedge/Suspect Device/The Ballad Of The Sin Eater

Cool show on Pittsburgh's historic Southside. The Brew Space is an old warehouse like space where a community of artists live and a "room" was designed for shows. A couple hundred people packed into the place for an all ages show. Manny, the promoter, allows BYOB so who's complaining.

First up was Ted's brother Chris from the band Vague Angels. He played a mellow acoustic solo set to an attentive crowd.

Chris was also running the merch table and was a very cool dude.

Next was Matt Pond PA. They had a cool sound that included Eve Miller jamming on cello.

Matt Pond PA autographed Four Songs EP

Ted Leo + The Pharmacists autographed handwritten setlist

Ted Leo came up and blistered through a high energy set. At some point a kid from the audience yelled something like "more cowbell!" and Ted called him up to play tambourine on a tune. As soon as the poor bastard got on stage it seemed he regretted the decision. He looked like Tracy Partridge awkwardly trying to keep a beat.

I missed the four song encore . I went out to the merch table to talk to Matt and his band.

Ted Leo + The Pharmacists autographed Shake The Sheets CD cover

Review from The Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Concert Review: Leo is the sign of premium punk

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

In the course of three amazing efforts -- Tyranny of Distance, Hearts of Oak and this year's model, Shake the Sheets -- Ted Leo and his Pharmacists have raised the stakes for punk by reconnecting with the spirit of its most inspired pioneers, The Clash, while shrugging off the boundaries that have all too often held the music to a shadow of its former greatness since the days of London Calling.

And he's even better live, as Leo reminded a sold-out crowd last Friday at the Brew House, leading his trio through a ragged yet electrifying set that eased fans in with the muted intensity of 'My Vien Ilin' before exploding with the one-two punch of 'Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?' and 'Me and Mia.' By the time he got to 'Me and Mia,' several things were clear -- Chris Wilson is a force of nature on the drums, there are no better catalogs in modern punk, and Leo has the most amazing upper register to hit the punk scene since the Undertones.

A personable front man (and brilliant guitarist who knows his way around a tape-loop echo), Leo charmed more than he preached ("If it's not loud enough, then you're too young," he joked when someone shouted "Turn it up."). But the war in Iraq and the recent election were clearly on his mind as he spat out the lyric about "another [lousy] war to fight for Babylon" in an urgent performance of 'The High Party,' even more so in 'The One Who Got Us Out' and the fierce, climactic, over-the-top performance of 'The Ballad of the Sin Eater.' Leo unstrapped his guitar for that one, smacking his head to the beat for punctuation while schooling a clueless American who can't believe how much the world has come to hate us. "You didn't think they could hate you now, did you?" he taunted. "Ah, but they hate you. They hate you 'cause you're guilty."

With highlights as urgent as that one and the understated gospel-flavored punk of 'Biomusicology' offset by raucous covers of Stiff Little Fingers and Split Enz (not to mention the clearly Thin Lizzy-indebted soul-punk of 'Timorous Me'), Ted Leo somehow found a way to put together everything that punk rock should, but rarely does, aspire to in one amazing package.

-- Ed Masley 

Check out my man Ben's review of the show



Back to hughshows