Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’ recent Seattle visit was a rollicking – and wicked loud – one. They blew through an hour-plus chunk of songs, hammering out a slew of fast-paced, impressively tight tracks.
The set featured a mash of new material from Living with the Living with classics like “Me and Mia” and “Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?” The reggae-driven “The Unwanted Things” was particularly well delivered, as was the anthemic “Little Dawn” (ending in a two-minute hypnotic whisper/scream chorus: “it’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right…”). In betwixt songs was not a lotta talk, though when frontman Leo – decked out in a golfer/emo hybrid: spanky white pants – took to the mic, he bantered friendly with the crowd.
Ted Leo sets have all the elements you want in a show: well-delivered songs, blistering guitars, high-energy danceable tracks, and plain good mojo. Ted Leo – who has serious street cred from his pop-punk days in DC outfit Chisel – now speaks to a more mature generation. He proved he’s the master of witty, edgy power-pop – certainly not your 14-year-old cousin’s emo band. It’s not that I can’t and don’t appreciate this fact – I can’t exactly pull off listening to 30 Seconds to Mars even if I do kinda like a few tracks (I hear your collective groan). My point here is: it surprised me that this show was open to all-ages. I’d figure Leo and the Pharmacists would opt to book a space like Neumo’s, packing the venue rather than half-filling a larger space like the Showbox.
We didn’t stick around or the encore, and it looked like a lot of the crowd had also bailed by that point. I don’t blame Ted, I blame Tuesdays. Here’s hoping next time he and the Pharmacists grace Seattle, they book for a weekend.