The Ted Leo - Above Ground Festival Wrap

I attended the Bridgeport Above Ground (BAG) Music Festival in Connecticut to see Ted Leo and a number of southern New England bands play out this past weekend with my friend Jen.
Leo and the Pharmacists were the Bridgeport festival headliner and they certainly rewarded us for driving all that way. Damnnnnnnn - you and the Pharmacists are sick musicians my friend.

I think the high points of the Above Ground Festival were Some Beginner's Mind (brand new TL/Rx song - download from my previous post!!) and The High Party. I really wanted to see Hearts of Oak live- but it did not appear in the setlist.

The song, Me and Mia rocks live. Pop friendly, sure - but amazing still.
Cool video - not from this show... But definitely worth watching!

- ME and MIA -

Another cool Ted Leo videy:
Once again, not recorded by moi - mr. can't film or take a picture.
My pix all came out utter dash!
But, again, definitely worth watching:


Ted Leo likes to banter with his crowds. In this case he dedicated a song; ("Counting Down the Hours") to a marine in the crowd and made a joke about how his playing new songs is a lot like fishing for compliments.

"I don't know why I said fishing. I'm a vegan," he said, "so flock fishing."

During the show the band would have to stop after drummer Chris Wilson had a drum stick fly off his kit and poke him directly in the eye.

"You alright man??" Leo asked of his drummer. The bearded man winced, his hand cupped over his swollen eye. (A long pause, whispering.)

"Chris just said something to me," Leo said turning back to the crowd, a false look of concern on his face... "He said GO!" And another fury of sound, drums extra loud, echoed across the Bridgeport plaza.

The earlier bands had run-over their set times forcing Ted Leo's hand - there would be no slow easy songs this night. That was fine for this crowd 0f fiery teens and twenty-somethings.
Leo took charge and seemed to feed off the audience's energy and played louder with each song. By ten p.m., one couldn't help but notice the number of police in the crowd had more than doubled in the last twenty minutes.

As night fell, Leo had promised several more tracks but was ordered off by the police who had evidently received noise complaints. "One more song was their mantra." Leo would have to concede to the police demands, but he would ultimately have the last laugh.
The singer agreed to play one more song, but then actually played two - the second he quickly mouthed to the authorities would be quieter (this meant solo, but hardly more quiet!) Wilson and bassist Daver Lerner evacuated the stage while Leo prepared to send the crowd home.
To Leo's credit, he started slow and quiet... The song - a haunting, slashing power-chord dominated ballad - was a modernized version of an Irish classic.

"We're in Bridgeport," Ted told the crowd. "This song seems appropriate." It was Dirty Old Town! -- a song penned by Irish songwriter Ewan MacColl in the 1950s, shared by the Dubliners but truly made famous by Shane McGowan's Pogues.

Dirty Old Town
I met my love by the gas works wall
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
Kissed a girl by the factory wall
Dirty old town
Dirty old town
Clouds a drifting across the moon
Cats a prowling on their beat
Springs a girl in the street at night
Dirty old town
Dirty old town
Heard a siren from the docks
Saw a train set the night on fire
Smelled the spring on the smoky wind
Dirty old town
Dirty old town
Im going to make me a good sharp axe
Shining steel tempered in the fire
Will chop you down like an old dead tree
Dirty old town
Dirty old town

"Good Night," bade Leo - as the people of Bridgeport made their way home.

The irony of this song choice - used to closed a festival intended to celebrate the rejuvenation of a city once dominated by crime and one that was once in a state of economic decline was not lost on me.

-- -- --

Listen and Download 14 tracks from Ted Leo directly: here

Go see Ted Leo - because he rocks and you'll have a really good time.


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