american bombs away, dig in today
Aside from the fact that this "recap" is nearly a month overdo, I also meant to get it posted a week ago, but failed to do so. So here it is nonetheless:
Like Al Franken and Sam & Janeane, I sorta took last week off, only to return (hopefully) refreshed & re-energized following July 4th. The Morning Sedition crew was on duty last week however, and Ted Leo paid another visit to Air America last Monday (6/27) following a sold-out performance at NYC's Irving Plaza (check out the podcast, Ted's segment begins at the 1hr 36min mark). Speaking of Ted Leo (lousy segueway), did I mention that he kicked it at Mpls' First Avenue back on June 14th? Let me tell ya about it...
Unlike the previous Sunday's back-to-back Spoon/Stephen Malkmus gigs in the First Ave main room (which I'll get to later this week, if all goes well), I was determined to get right up front in order to take some decent photos - and I took a whole lot of them. This being Ted's first jaunt back to my neck of the woods since 2003, I was determined to really make the most of it.
Back in 2003, Ted & the Pharmacists played the smaller Triple Rock, so headlining First Avenue was a step up for him. Thankfully, he drew a very decent Tuesday nite crowd. JRDN & I met up with Jim B & his boy before the show, sharing a few drinks at the bar. After an interesting set from Aloha & a fairly banal one from The Oranges Band, I dragged JRDN with me onto the floor & managed to finagle us a spot at the front of the stage, directly facing Ted's microphone - primetime position for snapping pix.
The Pharmacists opened the show with this gem of building intensity, from 2001's breakthrough Tyranny of Distance LP. Ted's lyrics about American militarism ring even more true post-9/11/01, perhaps even more so in the wake of this morning's tragic coordinated attacks in London. IMO, this is just more blowback from our ever-increasingly foolhearty & embarassingly naive U.S. foreign policy (hope your 4th of July was pleasant, everybody), but now I'm getting sidetracked. Anyway, Ted rocked this one out & launched into a fierce (and sweaty) set dominated by songs from last year's politically-driven Shake The Sheets, though he did played a few more tunes from Tyranny ("Biomusicology", "Dial Up", "Timorous Me") & 2003's Hearts of Oak ("Where Have All The Rudeboys Gone", "The High Party", "2nd Ave 11am"). Jim B, please correct me if my recollection of the setlist is a bit off. I do recall that the "Shake The Sheets" set closer was absolutely perfect.
BTW: Even more than usual, Fox News can go suck it. Via Atrios & MyDD.
ETA: Chuck Blogumentary points to 7/7/05 London photos over at Flickr.
Ted, ever the stand-up comedian, joked along with an appreciative audience throughout the show. We he came out to begin the encore on his own, he spontaneously decided to ditch the tune he had planned (if he even had one) & launched into a jaw-dropping, entirely un-ironic solo rendition of The Boss' (a fellow son of Jersey) 80's classic "Dancing in the Dark" & followed it with a requested "Dirty Old Town", a Pogues cover that also appears on Ted's Tell Balgeary, Balgury is Dead EP (and is also the name of a Ted Leo + Rx concert dvd). The rest of the Pharmacists came back out for a couple more songs, including this powerful & similarly topical Stiff Little Fingers cover (originally from their Inflammable Material LP) to close out the show. This track is part of the iTunes-exclusive Sharkbite Sessions EP, which also includes a full band version of MP3 "Loyal To My Sorrowful Country", which Ted performs solo on the aforementioned Tell Balgeary... EP.
MP3 Ted Leo @ The Current 6/14/05 (stream 128kbps)
RAM Ted Leo @ The Current 6/14/05 (stream 20kbps)
Ted also briefly mentioned The Current, the public radio station that helped promote the First Ave gig. He stopped by The Current's local studios earlier that day to play a few songs & chat with a giddy & somewhat starstruck DJ Mary Lucia, and you can stream the segment through the above links.
BTW: Saw Apostle of Hustle again a short while back at the Triple Rock. Despite the late hour (preceded by several bands, they went on after 1am) Andrew Whiteman & company were still damn solid (albeit kinda loose), despite the lack of a flamenco dancer (scroll down). In this instance, I was far too lazy/tired to take any photos. I hope all these Ted Leo ones suffice.
I have to get my ass to work, but I will catch up some more shortly...