Ted Leo Fights the Man in D.C.

“Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. We don’t subscribe to that rule,” an earnest Ted Leo told the sold-out crowd collected at the 9:30 Club Thursday night (March 29). Indeed, there was nothing discreet about Leo’s set with his band, the Pharmacists, as it opened with a declaration of support for D.C. congressional representation. Chants of “I never gave up” felt like barkings of a street-corner preacher to the proletariat in-between.

Perhaps it’s appropriate behavior? After all, Leo was playing to a hometown audience. Decked out in a yellow and red track jacket emblazoned with “University of the District of Columbia” on the back, Leo lead his band through a blistering set of punk rock anthems, both old and new. The rollicking “Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?,” and “Who Do You Love” and the righteously indignant “Bomb. Repeat. Bomb.,” both from his latest album, Living with the Living, packed a powerful punch, but it was the version of “Me and Mia” that had the audience jumping up and down like whack-a-moles.

After a two-song encore, and with sweat pouring down his ectomorphic frame, Leo graciously thanked the audience, and the impromptu fist-pumping rally dissolved in to the night. Leo, still a punk rocker at heart. JEFFREY PARKER / PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE POTTER

>> Listen to Ted Leo & the Pharmacists on Napster

We asked: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists have D.C. roots, and they’ve been pretty critical of the current administration. Who would win in a fight, Ted Leo or George W. Bush?

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