“For some reason people think I’m a Merchant of Cheer.”

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Last Sunday a friend and I trekked out to a tiny space called Silent Barn in Bushwick to see a solo show: Ted Leo. (The Pharmacists are currently on hiatus!) It was a benefit show to save the space and it’s a cool space, but they need to really get a better air conditioning system. (It was hot as hell in there.)

Ted Leo played an awesome setlist (see below) with a lot of new songs that he was trying out . He proclaimed that people thought he was a “merchant of cheer” and then he played his “darkest song” he ever wrote – but sadly (?) it wasn’t all that dark. After about a dozen songs, he gave us permission to leave if we wanted, “I think I’ve played enough to fulfill the social contract we’ve made with one another, so I’m going to keep playing but if you need to move on with your night, feel free!” Needless to say, none of us left. 

Ted Leo has been one of my favorite artists for the last decade, so to say it was awesome to see him in such a tiny space with only about 50 other people would be a massive understatement. I talked to him briefly after the show and he’s a massively chill guy. 

He’s performing tomorrow at the Bell House in Brooklyn with Julie Klausner on her weekly show. If you’re in the area, you should definitely check it out. 

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Old school.

I made mix CDs all through high school (they took SO LONG to burn back then). I made mix CDs for boyfriends. I still have them all. So when I gave a friend at work a CD of my favorite Ted Leo & Rx songs, I was giddy when he gave me his own homemade mix CD. 

It’s currently importing to my Macbook. I’m excited because I can safely say I’ve never heard of any of these songs and artists before. 

I’ve always been a fan of music being an awesome way to bond with people – whether it’s through looking through their iTunes playlist, or giving them a mix CD, or going to a concert together. 

I’m seeing a number of concerts this summer and my first was last night with Ted Leo & the Pharmacists.  I first heard of Ted Leo & the Pharmacists in 2004 thanks to my then-boyfriend.  I thought they were a little cheesy at first but I eventually gave in and admitted that I liked them.  They’ve been around since 1999 but for some reason, there are still tons of people who’ve never heard of them.  I’ve seen them perform in 2005 and again in 2009, but since I have a talent for never knowing when bands I like are performing, those are the only two times I’ve seen them.  I’ve never been a super-fan, but I like their music and happily listen to it when it pops up on my iPod.  They perform at South Street Seaport every summer for free and this summer they performed with the band Screaming Females as the opener.

This was Ted Leo’s 10th anniversary show of performing at the seaport so they had a pretty epic set list.  They performed a half-dozen randomly chosen songs, their entire first album, and then another 6-8 songs from various albums as an encore.  I somehow managed to wander up to the front of the barricade when Screaming Females finished their set and I rocked out for an hour and forty five minutes.

Screaming Females was a pretty great band, though I’m not into the screaming-instead-of-singing thing they had going on during some of their songs.  Their lead guitarist, and singer, was an stellar musician though.  

I filmed them performing the songs The High Party and The Great Communicator, but unfortunately and stupidly I deleted The High Party (my favorite of the two) by accident off my FlipCam.  I uploaded The Great Communicator to YouTube here, and apologies for the awful (it’s really, really bad) sound quality as it was taken on my point-and-shoot.  From the front row I finally got to watch how epic of a musician Ted Leo is.  He’s just ridiculous, in a good way!  I can’t actually find the words to describe how amazing he is to watch.  

Ted Leo’s not performing in New York again anytime soon, but if they’re in your neighborhood you should definitely check them out.  Enjoy the photos!  

We have no real reason to be touring other than we really like playing music, so we’re playing these really long sets.  Thanks for humoring us!” – Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

I went to see Ted Leo & the Pharmacists last Sunday with Dylan at The Bowery Ballroom – my first time seeing a show there too.  My high school boyfriend introduced me to them in 2004 and I’d seen them once in 2005 at South Street Seaport.  I have to admit, I’m a semi-bad fan because I really only knew the music from their ‘03 album, Hearts of Oak, but I enjoyed their entire set.  The two opening bands kind of sucked, but the Ted Leo being awesome made up for it.  Click here to watch a quick clip of “The High Party” (one of the songs from their ’03 album) – the camera work is shaky because I was dancing!