Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Oct 26th 2009 10:30AM by Anna Deem
"Thanks for having us on this auspicious opening night event," said a newly-mohawked Leo, who took the stage around 9:15. Kicking the set off with several favorites from 'Shake the Sheets' -- 'Heart Problems' and 'The One Who Got Us Out' -- Leo picked up on the crowd's slightly subdued vibe. "You're a very polite crowd," he said before starting into 'Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?'
Taking a break from their older songs, Leo and his Pharmacists ran through half a dozen new songs all in a row, with Lincoln Hall's crisp, clear sound and excellent views of the stage proving to be a great venue for them to road-test their new songs. One new track showed a '70s, stripped-down punk side of Leo's sound, with a catchy chorus of "Where was my brain?" repeated several times, while another, 'The Stick,' featured drummer Chris Wilson tapping his drumsticks together for a few seconds in-between fast-paced verses.
During the last new song of the evening, 'Bottle and Cork,' Leo and guitarist James Canty began singing the repeated outro lyric ("Tell the bartender I'm falling in love") when suddenly instead of Wilson coming in on his drums, he motioned to the offstage area that his bass drum had broken. When Leo finally opened his oft-closed eyes and turned around, Wilson was midway through changing his bass drum with a replacement one from openers, the Jai-Alai Savant. Laughing it off, Leo started to improv on his guitar and Canty leaned into the mic, "This is called 'jamming,'" he said jokingly. Once the new drum was in place, the band restarted the outro without missing a beat, proving 'Bottle and Cork' to be one of the standout new songs of the night.
Not one to play a show without covering at least one song, Leo proceeded to go straight into a version of the Misfits' 'Hybrid Moments,' dedicating it to a girl from New Jersey -- Leo's and the Misfits' home state -- in the front row. Again, this time during the encore, Leo dug into his mental archive of cover songs, playing solo versions of Eddie and the Hot Rods' 'Do Anything You Wanna Do' and the Waterboys' 'Fisherman's Blues' back to back. The rest of the band joined him onstage afterward to end their encore with fan favorite, 'Little Dawn,' a great finish to Lincoln Hall's introductory show, the first of many great events at Chicago's best new venue.