concert review: Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, The Constantines @ Berkeley Church (Toronto, Ontario), April 3, 2008
Last Thursday, Ted Leo and The Pharmacists and The Constantines made up a dynamite double-bill for a taping of Beautiful Noise down at Berkeley Church. On any other night at any other venue, that double-bill would be an all-out foundations-shaker but I got the impression that both artists were holding back just a tad. After all this was television. But if they were a little more reserved than usual, they still exuded a visceral live energy that's lacking in a lot of other bands on their best nights.
The Constantines opened up the night in fine fashion with "Young Lions" with other memorable songs of the night including "Hotline Operator", "Working Full-Time", and "Young Offenders". Bry worked in some humorous banter here and there including his admission that he and the band were wearing makeup which drew a chuckle from the crowd. I've seen The Cons live a few times now and this set they were relatively more subdued. Sure, more than a few people took part during the the verse of 'Can I Get A Witness?!' during "Young Offenders" but overall the set wasn't the sweat-fest I'm used to seeing The Cons. A few new tunes(I'm assuming off their newest album "Kensington Heights") were performed whose unfamiliarity to me is only adding to the difficulty for me in spitting out this review. One relevatory moment for me though, was during "Hotline Operator", probably my favourite song of the evening - The Constantines make a kick-ass soul band. I should make mention that Bry's parents[well, I think they were] were in the audience, and his father especially, whooped it up almost louder than anyone. Now, that's parental encouragement.
As I'd mentioned back in October 2007 about Ted Leo and The Pharmacists' show at The Mod Club, I'd reached a point that I said I needed a break from seeing them live. At that point I'd already seen Ted Leo live five time(that Mod Club show making it six times) and while it's always an enjoyable experience to see Ted Leo live, his set list was becoming overly familiar. Not much necessarily changed set-list wise this time, with much of the set concentrating on his most recent disc "Living With The Living", with some scattershot older 'hits' like "Me and Mia", "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?" and "Timorous Me", but I guess time makes the heart grow fonder. I wasn't as impatient as last time about hearing these songs again; I still wished he delve deeped into his catalogue every now and then. Like The Constantines, Ted also took an opportunity to introduce some new material which likely will be on the next album, apparently to come out this September(at least from what I'd overheard a young audience member mention). Perhaps the greatest part of the show was watching the reaction/participation of the younger crowd at the front of the stage, whether it be a top-of-the-lungs shout of 'Bomb.Repeat.Bomb' or the group of four young ladies at that front that danced with gleeful abandon. To be sixteen again and have a reaction like this.
MySpace: The Constantines
MySpace: Ted Leo and The Pharmacists