March 10th, 2010 11:16am

A Little Goodwill Goes A Mighty Long Way

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists @ Knitting Factory 3/9/2010

The Mighty Sparrow (with the director of the song’s video on vocals) / Mourning In America / Ativan Eyes / Even Heroes Have To Die / The Stick / Bottled In Cork / Woke Up Near Chelsea / One Polaroid A Day / Where Was My Brain? / Bartolomeo And The Buzzing Of Bees / Tuberculoids Arrive In Hop / Gimme The Wire / Last Days

The karaoke portion of the night included most of the songs listed here, plus a number of TL/RX tunes like “Ballad of the Sin Eater,” “Me and Mia,” “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?,” “A Bottle Of Buckie”, “Shake The Sheets”, “Timorous Me”, and “Counting Down The Hours”. I got to do Fugazi’s “Merchandise” with Brendan Canty from Fugazi sitting in on drums, which was, as you can probably imagine, both totally crazy and extremely awesome. I hope I did okay! This entire show was a thrill. Ted and his band are as talented as they are friendly, charming, and entertaining. Which is saying a lot.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists “Bottled In Cork”

It’s rare that a song so inviting comes in such a strange shape. “Bottled In Cork” is like a Ted Leo greatest hits album boiled down to one perfect three minute tune, switching up between a series of immediately ingratiating hooks before settling on a perfect chorus in rounds at the end. It’s basically a travelogue in the tradition of “Ballad of the Sin Eater,” with its hero zipping around the globe and accruing experience and wisdom, all to end up with that delirious, out-of-nowhere digression: “I tell the bartender, ‘I think I’m falling in love.'” I really like how that conclusion is not at all foreshadowed by the rest of the lyrics — it opens with the line “there was a resolution pending on the United Nations,” for crying out loud! — but it is hinted in the brightness and swing of the music. The final rounds are gorgeous, floating up and out over chimes as the song fades out, and maybe the character blacks out. It’s so appropriate that this song ends so elliptically. It’s not as if the story is actually over, you know?

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