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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Monday, August 28, 2006

Mp3s: Ted Leo live in Cambridge, MA

Ted Leo came to town earlier this month and pulled a nice little bait and switch on an unsuspecting all-ages crowd at the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge. It'd been years since he'd played a space that small in this area, and I'd fortunately seen him put on some great shows in that very room before he graduated to the much larger downstairs stage. It was no surprise to some that the Sunday matinee show sold out weeks in advance, but I naively figured I had some extra time with students yet to flood back in town. Well, silly me... I completely underestimated Ted's under-18 following and missed out, and was only there by the grace of Craigslist and another fan with an extra. Good thing, because I would have missed something pretty special.

Knowing that show-opener Drew O'Doherty used to be the second guitarist in Ted's band, the Pharmacists, I figured there might be a bit of low-key collaboration between the two solo singer/guitarists. What I didn't expect was to find a drum set and bass amp on stage when I walked into the already-crowded room. Hmmmmmmm. I glanced around for Ted's ace rhythm section, drummer Chris Wilson and bassist Dave Lerner, but saw neither an impressive beard nor a curly mop in the room. Double hmmmmmm. When I came upon Ted & Drew back by the soundboard scribbling setlists, their jokingly evasive explanation confirmed it... this was to be no ordinary solo show.

Yes, after a short but sweet set from Drew (at the end of which Ted joined in for a Springsteen cover as musical hand-off), then a few solo songs from the man himself, the Pharmicists emerged from their 'hiding place' in another room of the MidEast. They walked in halfway through 'Timorous Me', took their places on stage, and proceeded to help Ted blow the roof off the place. The overwhelming enthusiasm of the surprised young-ish crowd filled the room with an energy that fed the band, and they gave it right back to us. It was a rockingly beautiful thing. Even though I was one of the oldest kids in the room (along with Ted himself, and guest backing vocalist Jodi, his talented Secret Star significant other), I sure as hell didn't feel like it.

With full-on Pharmacist action in effect, Drew jumped in on guitar for a few songs as if he'd never left the band, while the trio shared a bunch of new ones to the more-than-receptive fans. Some were familiar, with Ted having posted demo versions of 'Army Bound' and 'Some Beginner's Mind' on his site earlier this year, and the band having performed 'Sons of Cain' during a KEXP studio session in September '05. I'm sharing up the live versions of those three previously-heard new songs, but in keeping with Ted's wishes, I'll let him unveil the other as-yet-unreleased numbers when he's good and ready. They're all worth the wait, especially the absolutely killer 'The Lost Brigade', which made its debut and was a personal highlight.

So here's (most of) the set, including the transitionary Springsteen song...

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

Live at The Middle East Upstairs
in Cambridge, MA
on Sunday afternoon, August 6th, 2006

with Drew O'Doherty...
Dancing In The Dark (Springsteen cover)

solo songs...
01. intro
02. To Whom You Were Born (Lungfish cover)
03. The Sword In The Stone
04. banter
05. Bleeding Powers
06. The High Party
07. Dirty Old Town (Ewan MacColl)

with the Pharmacists...
08. Timorous Me
09. Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?
10. Little Dawn
11. Sons of Cain (new)
12. banter
13. Some Beginner's Mind (new)
14. banter
15. Me & Mia
16. birthday banter
17. Hearts of Oak
18. Army Bound (new)
19. Crying Over You (new)
20. banter
21. Who Do You Love? (new)
22. Heart Problems
23. Colleen (new)
24. The One Who Got Us Out
25. Counting Down The Hours
26. The Lost Brigade (new)
27. Biomusicology
28. banter
29. Stove By A Whale

Ted Leo will be back on the road for a few dates in mid-September, including a set at the Touch & Go 25th Anniversary weekend on September 8th in Chicago (I'll be there... will you?). Other cities include DC, Memphis, New Orleans, Austin, & Houston, and then I imagine he'll be hunkering down to get all those new songs ready for the studio and his eagerly awaited next album. Here's hoping...

Some Leo-centric links...
  • The Boston Phoenix's On The Download was at the show as well, and wrote it up. Check out their descriptions of the new stuff, although I'm not sure which song they thought was titled 'Catch You On the Way Down'. Did I miss something?

  • Grab those previously-released Ted Leo demos from the Timorous Me fan site: MP3s: 'Army Bound' & 'Some Beginner's Mind'. You can also grab a live recording of another as-yet-unreleased song over there: MP3: 'La Costa Brava (live)'. Speaking of that very fine fansite, it was sadly hacked awhile back and has been suffering from a bit of neglect since. Hopefully it'll return to its former extensive self sometime soon.

  • Stream the KEXP studio version of 'Sons of Cain' right here, watch it performed live at a Philly gig in December '05 on YouTube, or snag an ezarchive MP3: 'Sons of Cain' (live).

  • You Ain't No Picasso wrote about Ted's bloody appearance at the Pitchfork fest back in late July, and Clever Titles Are So Last Summer did the same for a show the night before at the Temple Club in Lansing, MI.

  • I recently (and finally) ordered up the DVD of the Ted documentary 'Dirty Old Town' from Plexifilm, and it's pretty much a must-have for any TL fan. Stellar footage from the 2003 Coney Island outdoor show (back when Drew was in the band, along with keyboard player Dorien Garry, and Ida Pearle on violin), nice incidental footage of the boardwalk area, and some insightful interview clips with Mr. Leo. DVD extras include a generator-powered Pharmacists performing at the South Street Sea Port during the August 2003 NYC blackout, as well as outtake footage from a July '03 solo appearance at Piano's, hosted by David Cross. Check out a quicktime video clip of the band performing '2nd Ave., 11am' right here, and order the DVD over here.

  • postscript: If anyone has an issue with this live set being made available, just say the word (email link at lower left). Recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and MZ-RH10 minidisc, saved to .wav and edited to 192kbps mp3s. Mp3s are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.


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