Just Announced: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists will play Boot & Saddle…and, wait a minute, the Cages too?

Ted Leo | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Things have been quiet in Ted Leo territory after he finished touring behind his 2017 album The Hanged Man, but not for much longer. The a veteran punk rocker turned indie songwriter will bring his band The Pharmacists to town for two shows in Philly this July, part of a short summer run that also includes an appearance at Central Park Summerstage in New York. On July 1st, Leo / RX will play Boot & Saddle for a 21+ show with Tact, and on July 2nd, they’ll play Everybody Hits for an all ages show with Control Top. Continue reading →


Miles Away: Explore a dream gig of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Ted Leo at the First Unitarian Church in 2001

Yeah Yeah Yeahs | still from video

The maddening thing about music from the post-internet, pre-social media aughties: it is woefully under-documented in the digital ephemera of today.

This is after guerrilla videographers stopped hauling bulky camcorders to shows and before digital cameras were capable of filming anything that wasn’t a pixelated mess. This is when concerts were photographed mostly on film, and the photographers maybe didn’t have enough time to get five HQ scans of their images, much less fifty. This is the era of tours still being plotted and shows still being logged on paper, and maybe those notes have not yet been transferred with any sense of definitiveness to (if they exist at all anymore). This was before Friendster even existed, much less MySpace, much less Facebook.

That’s why we have to say things like “what appears to be Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ first Philadelphia concert,” since we’re not 100% certain they didn’t play at least once before this gig on December 16th, 2001. Continue reading →


Celebrate Ardmore Music Hall’s 5th anniversary with Ted Leo, The Dead Milkmen and more

Ted Leo | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Ardmore Music Hall has hosted so many memorable shows that it’s hard to believe the venue has only been around for five years. This fall, they’ll celebrate in true Ardmore Music Hall style — with nine birthday shows throughout the month of September featuring an eclectic sampling of artists.

The artists in the mix range from familiar Ardmore Music Hall faces to those who will be playing the venue for the first time, with genres spanning punk, jazz, folk, reggae and more. Local indie rock favorite Ted Leo will play a solo show, pianist Holly Bowling will perform classical renditions of Grateful Dead and Phish songs, New Jersey bluegrass outfit Railroad Earth will hit the stage with a banjo in tow, local jazz virtuoso Stanley Clarke will showcase his bass skills, and Philly punk rock legends The Dead Milkmen will tear things up — and those are just a few of the performers scheduled to help Ardmore celebrate. Continue reading →


Ted Leo takes on the priesthood, irreverently, in Philly-made short film Main Blessings

Main Blessings | still from film

My friend BJ does this thing he calls The Challenge and the basic idea is that you listen to everything that a musician or band has done, in order, and if there’s anything bad you can’t skip it. It can be, well, pretty challenging sometimes to get through a band’s entire discography. Take for example Henry Rollins challenge, where you get the good – Black Flag, those first couple of Rollins Band albums – the bad – much of what he did in the late 90s, some of the more over-the-top spoken word – and… everything else.

If you were really going all out, you might want to watch some of the films he’s starred in, like The Chase (good) or Morgan’s Ferry (really not that bad!) It’s a great way to spend a long road trip or, if you’re the nerdy type, to just get really into a band or a specific artist who has made a lot of music over the years.

All this is to say that if you were to do Ted Leo challenge – from Citizens Arrest to Chisel and on through all of the Pharmacists and other releases – once you listened to his latest album, 2017’s absolute banger The Hanged Man, you’d truly be doing yourself a disservice if you skipped out on the short film he recently starred in called Main Blessings.

The Philadelphia-made movie was written and directed by Abigail Bruley, best known for the cult comedy series Down The Show. She first thought up Main Blessings while recovering from a traumatic brain injury following a car accident two years ago. Continue reading →


Free At Noon Flashback: Ted Leo brings The Pharmacists along for a revved up, reflective set

Ted Leo | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Things I was not expecting when arriving at work today: that it would be snowing by mid-day. That Jersey indie rock vet Ted Leo would have his longtime band The Pharmacists in tow for today’s Free at Noon set. That I would be screaming along to “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?” while attempting to shoot photos and not bump into the people around me too drastically. (Sorry, everyone.)

It’s true, Leo’s been on the road with this remarkable group of players — multi-instrumentalist James Canty, saxophone player and vocalist Adrienne Berry, drummer Chris Wilson, guitarist and singer Ralph Darden and bassist Marty Violence — since September, in support of his new record The Hanged Man. And the album is his first released under his own name, versus the standard “and the Pharmacists” credit…so the billing I read versus the performance I saw should not have totally caught me unawares. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aimee Mann and Ted Leo at Colonial Theater, Darlingside at Musikfest Cafe, Jon McLaughlin at Ardmore Music Hall

Aimee Mann and Ted Leo
Aimee Mann and Ted Leo Christmas Show | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN |

Singer-songwriter vets, collaborators in The Both and good buds Aimee Mann and Ted Leo bring their fall tour to the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville tonight. Unlike their holiday extravaganza that hit Union Transfer a few years back, this show is simply two exemplary songwriters with new music under their belts; Mann released her latest record Mental Illness in the spring, while Leo dropped the excellent LP The Hanged Man in the fall. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Ted Leo is playing a priest in the new short film Main Blessings

Ted Leo in Main Blessings | courtesy of Femme Flash Films

Indie rock legend Ted Leo has taken up acting, and will appear in a forthcoming short film by Philly filmmaker Abigail Bruley. Perhaps this shouldn’t come as such a surprise, as the film evidently has music at its heart — Main Blessings promises to showcase some Tom Petty appreciation alongside its dark comedy, drawing on Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels” for some lyrical inspiration. Leo appears as “Father Ted,” a jaded priest who is visited by the film’s recovering alcoholic protagonist Lars, played by fellow musician and R5 Productions founding member Josh Agran. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at Union Transfer, Ms. Lauryn Hill at BB&T, Bastille at The Fillmore, plus more

Ted Leo | photo courtesy of the artist

Ted Leo is back and bringing his trusty crew, the Pharmacists, with him to Union Transfer tonight. This past week, Leo smashed his seven year hiatus with the new record, The Hanging Tree, which was funded through the generosity of his fans via a successful Kickstarter campaign. Watch his latest video for “Can’t Go Back,” below, then find info on tonight’s show here. Continue reading →


Ted Leo reinvents himself as a suave crooner in the “Can’t Go Back” video

Ted Leo | still from video

Jersey indie rock fave Ted Leo returns this fall with The Hanged Man, his first record in seven years and a pretty tidy summation of everything he’s done in his career.

As Kickstarter backers who got an early copy of the album know, it runs the gamut from abrasive anger to contagious joy, from the hooky power pop of The Pharmacists to the introspective folk of The Both. Lyrical themes are less rooted in the political furor of his past work and more in reflective introspection as Leo sings about getting older and realizing the changes in the world that come with age, but also feeling solace in that. And then there’s stuff we’ve never heard him do before. Continue reading →