On Saturday, May 5, 2007, I was with my friend Pat (who now plays in Any Day Parade) and we were seeing Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at Webster Hall. It was an amazing show. Live, Leo rips songs to shreds with what seems to be never-ending energy. He covered (of all things) a Chumbawumba song, and made it sound incredible. He also shouted out Essex County, the county in New Jersey where both Pat and I grew up. We yelled “JERSEY!” back, obviously to show our support.
Even though Leo is a Jersey boy (born in South Bend, Indiana, but grew up in Bloomfield), I didn’t hear him until I was in Michigan. I remember being in my friend Tash’s car with our friend Dan. Dan put this album on and this song started up and I had to stop mid-sentence to ask, “WHO IS THIS?” So good.
There’s something about Ted Leo’s energy and songwriting that hooks you immediately, like somebody grabbing you by the throat, but in a friendly way. In a way that makes you want to say, “hey, I liked how you grabbed me by the throat! Can you do that again?”
All in all, we cannot stop singing.
We cannot start sinking.
We swim until it ends.
They may kill and we may be parted
But we will ne'er be broken hearted.