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December 2, 2008 |

By TK Burton | Music | December 2, 2008 |

How cool is it when big rock stars take a moment out of their busy rock-starry lives and visit with little people at little places? It almost makes them seem like normal eating, breathing, and sleeping humans.

Perhaps that is a bit harsh, because the people I’m referring to, Ted Leo (of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists) and Gene Ween (of Ween), come off as two of the most laid back and down-to-earth guys when with their respective bands. Leo enjoys full interactive banter with his audience and actually responds to the crowd when they toss up jokes or commentary. Gene usually appears in a euphoric haze, as he gives 100% to his performance, and his passion comes off completely genuine.

I have had the luxury of seeing both artists play solo before, and they give amazingly personal shows. They strip their songs down to the bare melody, showing how the songs evolved from demo ideas in the beginning to the three-five piece complexities we are more familiar with. The live music comes off just as fun as the recordings everyone knows and loves.

Both artists are leaving the precious comfort of their bands with a hobo stick over one shoulder for little northeast tours (Ted Leo is extending to the midwest for a few dates). Feel free to leave a comment about the shows if you get a chance to check them out. And perhaps I’ll see you if you happen to go to the Philly dates. Please check with the venues to confirm ticket availability.

Ted Leo covering “Dancing in the Dark” solo at Northsix - Brooklyn 1/26/07

Ted Leo Solo (*with Cale Parks)
12/6 - Cambridge MA* (sold out via Ticket Web, tickets avail at door DOS)
12/7 - Buffalo NY
12/8 - Pontiac MI
12/10 - Chicago IL
12/11 - Cleveland OH
12/12 - Baltimore MD*
12/13 - Washington DC* (sold out)
12/14- Philadelphia PA* (sold out)

Gene Ween playing “Don’t Get 2 Close 2 My Fantasy” solo (but with Dave Dreiwitz on bass) at Johnny Brenda’s - Philly 3/22/07

The Gene Ween Band
12/10 - Teaneck NJ
12/11 - Towson MD
12/12 - Washington DC
12/13 - Asbury Park NJ
12/16 - Philadelphia PA
12/17 - Brooklyn NY
12/18 - New York NY

On a side note, The Gene Ween band is actually a full-on band featuring Aaron (Gener) singing with Dave Dreiwitz (bass: Ween), Scott Metzger (guitar: RANA, American Babies) and Joe Russo (drums: American Babies and The Duo). The backing band has played together in both the Led Zeppelin cover band Bustle in Your Hedgerow as well as Chris Harford’s The Band of Changes. Even if they don’t play Ween tunes (a set list is unconfirmed), the musical foursome should still rock.

Through snow, wind, & rain, ShepRitz is probably bicycling through Philly at this very moment. Or he’s on a tennis court. 50/50 chance, really. Other shows he has reviewed can be found on his old blog: Dublin Tundra.

Pajiba Music

Bigger Than Their Bands

Ted Leo and Ween Going Solo / ShepRitz

Music | December 2, 2008 |

TK Burton is the Editorial Director. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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