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“It’s not a jazz show.”

I’m a little bleary eyed from a weekend of extended concerting. Ted Leo played a long solo set at the Black Cat Saturday night, and Wilco played for over 2 hours last night at the Lyric in Baltimore. A good time was had by most.

Ted Leo talked a lot about… well, he talked a lot. But he repeatedly mentioned his last solo tour through DC, another backstage show—I think his chronology was a little wonky, because I think the last time he played backstage solo was with opener Rebecca Gates in 2003, which may be the first time I saw Leo live, but my feeble brain can’t quite remember, and google’s brain is no help. /fanboy

This time around we got no Chisel songs, but a handful of Leo-style covers—nuggets of dusty rock history. He played Do Anything You Wanna Do by Eddie and the Hot Rods (which, pardon my ignorance of 70s British pub rock, was so generic I thought it might be a joke, like Leo’s “cover” of “Barry Dworkin’s” “Rock’n’Roll Dreams’ll Come Through” for “WFMU” a few “years” back), Fathering by Mark Mulcahy, the Misfits' Angelf***, his usual Dirty Old Town, and a couple of others. Naturally, I looked a couple up, embarrassed that I’m not really familiar, trusting that what Ted Leo knows is worth knowing. (Most interesting fact—Mulcahy’s second band, Polaris, was the house band for The Adventures of Pete and Pete.) Regarding the show, much as I love Ted Leo, the unfamiliar covers and extended banter kind of killed his momentum.

Wilco played a greatest-hits kind of set similar to their 9:30 Club show earlier this year. I was disappointed that we got Kidsmoke and neither Monday nor Theologians.
Both shows made me want to revisit David Segal’s 2004 Washington Post treatise on concert fools—yes, the fools that ruin concerts. Spookily, I also dug up a 2004 Post chat with Segal in which someone complains about concert fools at a Ted Leo show. Also spookily, it’s possible if not probable the crank who posted that was me. Segal’s article addresses some of the more obvious fools (there were requestaholics at both shows and a whole crowd of standers at Wilco), but misses out on a few—I may address these omissions in the future.

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