. Notes




I wrote most of this last night, and some of it this morning.

So I just got home from the Paloma, Pujol, and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists show. Earlier this year, LN found out Ted was coming to Pensacola on tour, so she snagged a few tickets for my birthday. I spent a week or so in shock, and when I finally recovered, I got all the TL&Rx albums I didn't already have off iTunes, made a playlist, and listened to nothing else through August, September, and October. Suffice to say I was sufficiently psyched for this show. I woke up 3 hours before my alarm and couldn't get back to sleep, so I occupied my day by getting veggie "chicken" nuggets, coffee, and wine from Target. After that I still had 5685326990542 hours to kill so I got a car wash, took the dogs to Petco, and rented and watched a movie. (Hanna, and it was ok.) Somewhere in there, I cooked the veggie "chicken" nuggets, ate them, and decided I should probably keep them stocked in my freezer for those days when I just want to say FUCK IT to cooking. I played minecraft. I read blogs. I considered OWS and stumbled around (on the internet, with stumbleupon). I hope this all illustrates properly how desperate I was to kill time. Hours were the enemy.

Fast forward a good bit, and I was headed to eat at End of the Line Cafe with LN, J, AW, and E. When you get in there, the smell of fresh vegan deliciousness and hometown hipster charm fills the air. LN said she was going to drink this totally pretentious beer called Fixed Gear (I have pictures), but when we got up to the counter, we found out we have to leave and come back because they don't take credit/debit. The cashier told us where the nearest ATM was, and we went down so we could continue our adventure. Armed with cash upon our return, we bought our 347893 course vegan dinner and took our seats. E talked about the power struggle that is inherent to handshakes. I felt like the fifth wheel in between two couples. Best vegan cupcake ever, but the soup had a salt deficiency. By the way, doors to the show opened at 8, so after we finished eating, I excused myself to the bathroom (to secretly check the time) and realized that oshitfuckshit it was approximately 7:58. I came out of the bathroom and LN asked if it'd be cool to have another Fixed Gear. I said, and I quote, "No." These beers were like 32 ounces, okay, and I was already impatient. So, we left very shortly after, and we arrived at the Handlebar long before anyone else, which is precisely how I wanted it.

On our way in, we (I--I think LN and J were oblivious) spotted TL&Rx heading down the road, presumably to fetch some Ricola. This is when my blood pressure spiked and didn't let up until 1:30 am. I have never geeked out so hard. Paloma was on first, and they rocked out, then Pujol played and rocked even harder. I want to pause here and make mention of a couple things. First: Daniel Pujol is a tiny person. I shook his hand on my way out and, for a split second, imagined I might snap it off accidentally. One hell of a lot of rock comes out of that little dude. Second: the whole time, give or take a few minutes of absence, Ted Leo sat at the end of the bar watching the show. Of course I stared him down; of course I did. By the way, if you had not guessed by now, TL&Rx make all of my favorite music. I eat, sleep, breathe and weep this band.

I want to say they opened with Where Was My Brain, but this was somewhat overshadowed by Ted's actual opening number, R. Kelly's (or was it William Hung's?) I Believe I Can Fly. He didn't know the words past the first verse, so he made up some freestyle about not fucking with R. Kelly. True story.

They played lots of stuff from The Brutalist Bricks, but not One Polaroid A Day, which strikes me as odd in retrospect because Ted's voice was wrecked from inhaling smoggy excesses of smoke at every show for the past week (Ted, I apologize on the behalf of Florida). At one point he even asked those of us who knew all the words to help him out if he had to back away from the mic to expel a loogie. Anyway, now that Ricola comment makes sense, I guess. He more than made up for it by rocking so hard I thought he was going to fall on the drumset no fewer than two times (Ted is very agile and didn't actually fall ever {clearly this is due to his vegan powers}), and by heckling his hecklers (don't get mad, it was all in good fun) without ever missing a beat. He told us why guitarist (usually) James Canty was playing bass. TL&Rx is again down to a trio, as their bassist has moved home to open a record store (which apparently isn't as fun). We heard a vast array of tunes from several albums including Colleen, Stove By a Whale (and more on that later), Bottled in Cork, Mourning in America, Gimme the Wire (a song I've adopted as my vegetarian anthem), Where Have all the Rude Boys Gone, The Sons of Cain, Me and Mia, The Angels' Share, Little Dawn, The High Party (of which I have a video snippet), Timorous Me, Squeaky Fingers, and others my dumb brain won't recall.

Ted threw a shout out to Occupy Pensacola, and during the very extended guitar solo in Stove By a Whale, an Anonymous/Occupy supporter got up on stage and used a stencil to spray paint Guy Fawkes masks and the word OCCUPY on the wall behind the stage. He got a big hug from Ted as a reward. After the song finished, Ted said, "if any of you have a problem with this, we'll pay for it out of our money from the show." No one seemed to have a problem, but what a nice guy move anyway, Ted. (Oh, and furthermore, Ted tweeted an apology to the Handlebar the next day and said that he should've stopped the dude, but at the time it seemed like they were motivated by the same energy.) After the show, James went off to sell merch, Chris went I don't know where (breaking down eq?), and Ted had meet and greet time with fans. I shook his hand and said whatever the hell I said--I was actually starstruck and don't remember. As I moved to leave, he noted the red rose doodad in my hair and said he liked it. There's a line in his song Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead that goes "if you want to meet me, wear a red flower in your hair," so I had it in there very intentionally. And. He. Noticed. Yes! After that, we milled about a bit and J bought me a birthday present TL/RX shirt that is 3 men's sizes too big but I am totally wearing right now in the bed and it is cozy and wonderful. LN was drunk as shit, by the way, and had more balls than I as a result, so she ensured that she, Ted and I all took a photo together. So yeah bitches, I had my arm around a sweaty, sick Ted Leo and I have a picture to prove it! I then thanked him for coming to Pensacola and told him even if it took him another 10 years to get back, I'd be there. I think he appreciated that.

I just don't know what else to say. It was incredible. It seems completely surreal now. I am not sure if I can articulate this properly, but I've been saying for years that seeing TL&Rx live was something that I HAD to do--a lifetime achievement, if you will--and now it's come and gone and here I am hoping, hoping so hard, that someday I get to relive the experience.

12:09 p.m. - 2011-11-04

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