After fifteen minutes of mic testing, circuit splitting and generally trying to remain as unelectrocuted as possible due to tech problems, Ted Leo and Pharmacists finally cranked it on, zooming through six tracks—including favorites "Me and Mia" and "Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone—to a mish mash crowd that did the pogo in one corner, bobbysox dancers in another and a two-man mosh pit smattered in between all the general head-bobbing.
Ted Leo, tipping the hat to Little Rock in his Econochrist shirt, springs, shimmies and crouches like no other. He moves (and looks, for that matter) like every neighborhood's wily 12-year old kid that sprays havoc all over the place, Eddie Haskell style.
Oh, he sung, too. I think. The sound last night was rough at best and inaudible at worst, keeping Leo's note-perfect choir/punk tenor out of the speakers and definitely out of the crowd's ears.
Gracious dude he is, he lauded The Moving Front, applauded The Reds for hanging up their hat with class, praised Kevin Seconds for influencing him so much and even gave shout outs to two of the guys at Guitar Center (full disclosure: two of my best friends) for selling him $200 of strings and shooting the shit about Paul Weller with him that afternoon.
Soon enough, it was 11:30, I couldn't hear and was exhausted, so I traded in the backroom for my bedroom because I'm old, lame and had an early meeting this morning.
Did anything of note happen during the last half?
Oh, and thoughts on the openers are under the jump.
I managed to catch the tail end of another reliably good show from The Moving Front. Even though it hadn't worked for me on their new album, "Everyday Dissonance," the wordy, soul-tinged, uncharacteristic slow burner "Line of Abraham" bowled me over live. "Like Zombies," their signature song closed the set. Still sounds great, still makes me move my feet.
The Reds seemed to savor their final set ("maybe...probably," lead singer Johnny Mac said before flipping a blink-and-you'll-miss-it bird at Little Rock in general), ending on a chugging, militaristic, skronking number that ended on an appropriate unresolved minor chord—hopefully a smirking hint they'll return to stage. I don't like the idea of a Little Rock that can't hear "Maiden Voyage" every few months or "Numbers" ever again. And the folks packed at the front of the stage agreed, judging from the long ovation the trio caught.
To be frank, when I walked back to the stage again to see a middle-aged guy playing acoustic guitar, I boomeranged right back to the porch. Had someone told me that Kevin Seconds was the lead singer of hardcore greats 7 Seconds, I would've stuck around. Now I'm just kicking myself.