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06 Dec 04

ted leo and his pharmacists: a prescription for fun (zing!)

so, do ted leo and the pharmacists tour constantly or what? i remember being disappointed about missing his horseshoe show a few months ago, but sure enough, he was back last night to make it up to me. it was an all ages show (not cool) at the mod club (cool). the venue was neat, but the fact that we had to sit through 3 openers was certainly not. actually, let me clarify that: i was quite excited to hear that the meligrove band and matt pond pa were opening, but i’d never heard of the junction.

the doors opened at 7:30, and we arrived a bit after 8:30…just in time to hear the last matt pond pa songs (sigh). i really enjoyed their green fury and measure albums, but i didn’t hear any familiar songs of the three we were there for. picture pretty mellow and engaging guitar rock, with the inclusion of a cello for the hell of it.

2nd up were the meligrove band. my description of them ahead of time were a poppy band who were trying to emulate brian wilson (once they had gotten over their initial ragged thrush hermit wannabe sound), so their set was a surprise: their new songs have opted for a more straight ahead guitar rock approach with very little use of keyboards – quite a lot different than when i last saw them back in the summer of 2002. the rock shouldn’t have surprised me, given that they capped off that last show with helter skelter. the highlight of last night’s set was the inclusion of a cover of the magnum pi theme song – complete with freeze frame in the middle – although their originals were mostly quite solid as well. and, wow, their drummer is a fun guy to watch – constantly standing and sitting, shifting all over the place while beating the shit out of his drum kit (and breaking his kick pedal in the process). i also enjoyed the 2nd guitarist’s fantastic fro+mustache+trumpet playing talents. good stuff.

when they were done we were optimistic that ted leo would come out next, ’cause we were hopeful that we’d somehow managed to avoid the junction. it was not to be. the highlight of their set was before they started playing – they all came out in matching yellow zip ups and did a group hug to psych themselves up for a set of really shitty music. it took me about one minute to decide they weren’t for me, and my opinion got stronger and stronger as they played on. maplemusic asks you to [i]magine a sound that combines the organic acoustic elements of folk music, with an innovative interpretation of the modern British rock scene. i’m not sure whose ass that came out of, but i’d suggest you mix some r n b with some lame indiewussrock, and add in a guy who fancies himself an MC, and maybe we’ll be getting somewhere. total suck.

ted leo and his band played a short but energetic set. they mixed in some older favourites (high party, hearts of oak, i’m a ghost, where have all the rude boys gone, etc.) with a bunch from their new album, whose names i haven’t yet learned (with the obvious exception of shake the sheets, with which they capped off their set). they also threw in a rush cover (the “first time they’ve had the balls to play it in canada”) for good measure, as well as a “cover from a band from new zealand” that i didn’t recognize. it’s interesting: i had never thought of the pharmacists as a punk band, but something about their stance and attitude made me think punk rock – and this was confirmed when ted himself referred to it as a “punk rock show”. i’ve always considered them more of a rock band that borrows heavily from classic rock (e.g. thin lizzy, whom i compared them with and discovered that now had done likewise this week) and rearranges riffs to make them their own. anyway, it was a pretty enjoyable set, although i never really felt entirely engaged – perhaps it was the fact that my back hurt, perhaps it was the fact that the bassist contributed absolutely nothing, including very little movement at all (except for his massive amounts of hair – which, when combined with the crazy beard on the drummer, provided quite the spectacle), or perhaps it was banter, which focussed in large part on anti-bush views (although i can’t really complain about that). oh, and while i’m complaining: what was up with the vocals being so low in the mix? it would’ve been nice to hear ted’s voice a bit clearer over the guitars. in summary: good, but not superfantastic.

One Response to “ted leo and his pharmacists: a prescription for fun (zing!)”

  1. 1
    damon Says:

    Thanks a lot for the review, man! I was fairly near the front toward the middle.. glad to see I’m not the only one who hated the Junction. For some reason they really made my stomach turn.. i dunno if it was all the 12 year old girls who came just for them and left before ted leo, the fact that they seemed horribly fake (i sure as hell couldn’t detect a shred of honest emotion in their music) or just that they sucked. Ah well. Their set almost made me feel dead inside.

    Ted Leo was awesome though! I’m slightly disappointed he only plaed for an hour and 15 minutes.. when I saw him in London back in the summer he played for almost 2 horus in a little tiny club (for 7 bucks, no less).. I think his music isn’t really suited to the fancy lighting.. the music carries itself and the lighting distracts unnecessarily imo. I mean mod club is an awesome venue, just not quite suited for ted leo, I don’t think. Re: the bassist, he actually moved a lot more than he did when I saw ’em before believe it or not!
    The Australian cover was Six Months in a Leaky Boat by Split Enz.

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Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
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Date: 1883

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