Live Review: Ted Leo in Akron by Kiesha Jenkins

A few weeks ago, someone broke into my car while it sat innocently in German Village. And whoever busted the lock on the driver?s side also decided to take my CD player. And along with that CD player, the person
took my autographed Ted Leo CD.

Little did that person know the deep, spirtual connection Ted Leo and I have (same birthday), and that Mr. Leo would gladly sign another CD for me at the show I would be attending very very soon.

The show was two weeks ago and it was incredible once again. Rob Duffy, Charlie Tokyo and I took the two-hour drive to Akron to the Lime Spider. Charlie had never seen Ted Leo before, and he was about to be converted.

Finding the bar took some time, as the entire city of Akron seems to be under more construction than High Street at the campus area in Columbus OH. After a few wrong turns and a few detours, we stumbled upon a small, innocent-looking club that turned out to be the Lime Spider.

What a cool club. It?s got a little bit of a High Beck feel, with the rock anticipation of a Little Brother?s. There are places to sit, and places to stand to watch the show.

We opted to sit for the first two bands. The rest of Mr. Leo?s band The Pharmacists were sitting at the table next to us. So, as inconspicously as I could, I craned my neck and looked around the entire club to find the man himself. He was nowhere to be found.

The club filled up little by little. I remebered Rob?s advice that we attend the Thursday show in Akron rather than the Friday show in Bowling Green because “it?ll be less crowded.” Less crowded, my foot. The placed was packed.

The first band was Intelligent Knives. There isn?t much to say about this band. They just weren?t good. There were some kids in the front getting their groove on to the electronica-esque sound, but Rob, Charlie and I amused ourselves with defacing a well-known Cleveland public figure?s picture on the cover of “Scene,” the Cleveland area weekly paper. By the time Chris Sheehan from The All Golden arrived, we had a pretty wacky-looking cover.

The second band was Radar Secret Service. While they were better than Intelligent Knives, I still wasn?t too impressed with them. There was some head bobbing to this set, also, but I think everyone was just waiting for The Pharmacists to hit the stage.

About this time, Mr. Leo finally made an appearance. We were all still sitting down, and he walked around and then stood behind me. Rob took it upon himself to inform Chris that “Kiesha loooooooves Ted Leo,” to which Chris replied, “Grab his butt.” I didn?t do that. I needed to him to sign my CD again, and I couldn?t exactly do that if I was being arrested for assault.

Mr. Leo escaped unscathed and proceeded to set up stuff on the stage once the second opening band was finished. When the stage was set, the rock began.

I can?t even put words to the page to describe how talented this man is. His songwriting is unequaled, and the combination of pop, rock and punk is beautiful. His set included some favorites of mine (“Timorous Me,” “The High Party”) and a favorite of Rob?s (“The Ballad of the Sin-Eaters”). Once again, during “Sin-Eaters,” Ted let loose with his crazy pantomine and tossed a tambourine into the crowd.

The band played an encore, and during the last song, I snuck away to tear a poster down off the wall. It will soon be displayed in a German Village apartment.

After the set, I raced to the backstage area and thrust a CD into Ted?s hands and explained my situation. “I had you sign a CD back in Cleveland,” I said. “But someone broke into my car and stole it.”

“Oh, no way,” Ted said. “Someone broke into our van a few weeks ago and took a bunch of our CD?s.”

Ted graciously signed another CD for me, this time with the inscription “Keep it Secret! Keep it safe. (heart)-TL.”

Good enough for me. And while I?m not exactly keeping it a secret, I am keeping it safe.

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