Friday, September 09, 2005

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - El Rey Theater - 8/8/05

Although far from a household name, Ted Leo is probably the biggest non-football-playing celeb to come out of Notre Dame during my early-90s era. I never met Ted while we shared the campus, but I saw his band Chisel a few times and they rocked. They were the rare college band that made original music and actually practiced before gigs - even us drunk domer kids could tell. Ted always seemed older, cooler, and wiser than the rest of us. After college, I saw him in little clubs in New York a couple of times - once with Chisel before they broke up, and once on his own. I was pleased when his last two albums got press in Spin and Rolling Stone and he started to play bigger venues. Last night I got a chance to see him again at the El Rey Theater. Despite some technical difficulties, voice problems, and the failure to pack extra 9-volt batteries, Ted and his Pharmacists put on a great, tight show full of passion and punch. I admire Ted for keeping it real all these years, staying indie, and never compromising. I've played it safe and kept a day job and done my creative stuff on the side, but Ted has lived on the edge and always put his music first. A full house at the El Rey last night would attest that the commitment and sacrifices have paid off.

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