Ted Leo and the Pharmacists / The Tossers - live in Chicago (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists / The Tossers

live in Chicago (2004)

live show

Well, the show started earlier than advertised, or it was just advertised wrong. In any case, we got there at 9 right as A-Set (I think that's who they were...) finished. Oops.

Natural History was up next, and they played their own version of power pop that was decent, but forgettable. Nothing special, although Ted Leo later claimed to absolutely love every band on the tour. Maybe it just wasn't my thing.

The Tossers were up after that. Lemme tell you, sweaty fat guys and angry young skins were stoked. They are another Irish folk/punk band, like Flogging Molly, but they've been around for 11 years, so nuts to anyone trying to call them on riding a popular scheme. They played well, and generally played simpler songs than Flogging Molly, more centered around traditional Irish folk. Songs were short, and melodies simple. I probably would have enjoyed it better if I was in the mood for that, but I came to see Ted Leo, not angry Irish drinking music. Tons of kids seemed to love it, and it makes sense since they are a Chicagoan band.

Finally, Ted Leo took the stage with Chris Wilson and Dave Lerner to perform as Ted Leo/Pharmacists. I do have to admit, I was a little sad about the lack of there being keys, but Ted and the gang made up for it. And lemme tell ya, he slayed the entire crowd. People of all different shapes and sizes and ages (seriously, there were some fortysomethings rocking out next to me) were there for him, and everyone was going nuts. They had good reason to. Ted Leo is the man. He blazed through tracks from all three albums, and although I don't have the set list, I know he played "2nd Ave, 11AM," "Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?," "The High Party," "Hearts Of Oak," "Biomusicology," "Under The Hedge," "Parallel Or Together," "Timorous Me," "My Vien Ilin," "Stove By A Whale" and a few tracks from his latest album that I have yet to pick up, so I don't know song titles. Earlier in the night he talked about how for some reason he feels close to Canada in Chicago, so it makes him want to play Rush songs. Then, for the encore, he played a much shortened version of "The Spirit of Radio" by Rush. He also played an amazing cover of Stiff Little Fingers' "Suspect Device," a song which really only me and the forty year old guys next to me recognized. Other songs were played in the encores (yeah, there were two of them) and during one of them a kid from the crowd got to come on stage and sing/dance around, since he requested the song. All in all the rock was brought, and Ted's voice is even more melodic live, not to mention that he's an amazing down to earth performer, entertaining the audience in between songs as well with his talking.