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Posts Tagged ‘The Brutalist Bricks Tour’

Ted Leo, minus the Pharmacists.

 
Ted Leo And The Pharmacists- The Mighty Sparrow

Early, always better to be early.

I’ve never really liked Whelans as a pub. It’s about as well lit as the Arigna Mines (Ever step out on the streets after being in there during the day?), a pretty pricey pub at the best of times, and the music at night never does it for me. It’s good music, but it never moves out of that The Smiths/The Cure/Joy Division safe territory, and feels a bit like the haunt of the older siblings of the Doyles crowd. Maybe it’s just that the stretch Whelans is located on is home to so many good pubs too. It’s a great spot for live music and performances (I saw Andy Irvine here not too long back, and have seen a number of comedy gigs here too), but not a quiet pint.

Whelans, from spaciousplanet.com

So, being early for Ted Leo And The Pharmacists, we pop over to Anseo, a great spot. I really like Anseo, and as we walk in we notice the pub is in silence and I comment that it’s unusual to hear it as such. Then, all is cured. The cause of the silence? He was turning the record. I love that little vinyl booth right beside the bar, and the music is at the perfect noise level to allow for conversation. Pretty chilled out music, mainly instrumental tracks and even some jazz to pass the time. Myself and Gar, the only other Ted Leo fan I could think of in the phonebook at first, are pretty damn excited.

Like myself, Gar has a love for that record, Living With The Living. Inside out and backwards, it’s a damn good record. Ted Leo an co. are on tour to promote the bands latest effort, The Brutalist Bricks. I commented recently to a friend that I found Ted Leo and his band near impossible to categorise (the way us music nerds do), and then I spotted Threadless describe it all somewhere along the way as containing “A dash of Elvis Costello’s vocal prowess, a heaping spoonful of The Clash’s politically-fueled punk, and a pint or two of The Pogues traditional bittersweet love poetry” That’ll do nicely.

I’m a firm believer in going along to see opening acts however. Some of my favourite bands today (Au Revoir Simone for example) first came to my attention when opening for others. So, we pop into Whelans to see Windings.

A very good opening band for Ted Leo, I noticed on their webpage they list Dinosaur Jr, Pavement and Wilco among influences. In my own opinion you could chuck the Pixies in there too, and have an idea what to expect. Both myself and Gar were very impressed by their set, in particular the single Brain Fluid which remained in my head long after their set and that of Leo and co. Another fine example of why you should go along for the opening band, always. I’d actually go see Windings again, on the back of that live performance. They sell tapes too. Actual tapes. Remember them?

Ted Leo And The Pharmacists take to the stage with force, and no indication of the lack of sleep Leo later tells the crowd of. A couple (literally) of hours sleep between Plymouth and Dublin, the band are apparently wrecked. They don’t look or sound it. Opening with The Mighty Sparrow off the latest LP,The Brutalist Bricks, the set includes a number of new tracks, with my personal favourite Bottled In Cork appearing towards the end.

It’s a well balanced set however, with the majority of tracks coming from earlier and acclaimed efforts. Me and Mia, Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?, Where Was My Brain? and others get an airing. Early on in the gig Ted solves an arguable divide between stage and floor by insisting  the audience  move in, that big space won’t eat you up. From there, things take off. The crowd is a curious mix, reflecting the diversity of the appeal of the band.

The moment of the gig was undoubtedly a solo performance of Fisherman’s Blues from Ted Leo, with every WOAH-HOO-HOOOO! coming from the crowd.

After the gig we were lucky enough to get chatting briefly to Ted, often said to be one of the nicest blokes in the industry. I’d be well inclined to believe it, if he was half as tired as claimed, it didn’t show. I’ve great time for any band that donates time and energy to good causes, as The Pharmacists did with the Rapid Response E.P, a fundraiser for both Food Not Bombs and Democracy Now. While no doubt a ‘political band’, there is nothing preachy about Ted Leo or his band, at any stage, live or otherwise.

The influence of everyone from Gorilla Biscuits to The Specials shines through in the band and their music, and after a quality gig, nice chat and the purchasing of a football scarf (Note to bands: more bands should do football scarves, my Ted Leo scarf joins a Pogues one on the wall) we’re off home, and Ted Leo And The Pharmacists are off to Belfast.

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Ted Leo and the Pharmacists- I Got Your Number

I’m really off the radar at the minute, to the extent I’ve got plenty of those “where are you” texts that when you respond with something like “in the library” you get another one two minutes later saying “No, I mean like in general lately”. I’m AWOL, shit-deep in Microsoft Word.

This made my day. I check those Facebook events too late to spot anything anymore (Nothing worse than spotting a great gig advertised over there and realising it started…..five minutes ago) but this stood out a mile.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists have released three of my favourite albums to date. Shake The Sheets, Hearts Of Oakand Living With The Living. I play all three constantly, and even have a Ted Leo t-shirt (OMG) which is one of very few band shirts I’d wear around to be honest,it’s been there since I was 15 or 16 too.


Ted Leo And The Pharmacists- The Mighty Sparrow (From new album ‘The Brutalist Bricks’)

They’re neither an indie nor a punk band in my mind, and near impossible to label within traditional genres of music. They should appeal to fans of either genre. Their release of Rapid Response, an EP to benefit those arrested at the Republican National Congress in the U.S showed their political leanings.

This isn’t meant to be some grand sweeping statement on our part – it’s just a way for us to contribute SOMETHING real to the lives of real human beings, and show our material support for those whose actions and thoughts we value in this ideological struggle

Recent releases have hade a stronger sense of political identity, with songs like Bomb.Repeat.Bomb dealing with U.S Foreign Policy. Ted also writes a very good blog, over on the band site, which is worthy of a read. Read his post on Record Store Day, and nod in agreement.

The list of Ted Leo covers is mindblowing too, off the top of my head (with a sneaky MP3 player peek) it includes Samhain, Billy Bragg, The Waterboys, Cock Sparrer, Amebix, Generation X, Eddie And The Hot Rods, The Jam and eh…R Kelly. Along with Face to Face, they’re one of the only bands I think ever got away with a Stiff Little Fingers cover. Ted Leo, I salute you.


Ted Leo And The Pharmacists- Fisherman’s Blues

Tickets priced €14.50 are available from Tickets.ie
You can buy ‘The Brutalist Bricks’ from Matador Records here

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