Ted Leo and the Pharmacists / Secret Broadcast Liberty Lounge, Calgary AB October 19

The second of a two-night, sold-out stint at Calgary’s Liberty Lounge, Friday’s night with Ted Leo came with some heavy expectations. Located in the student lounge of Mount Royal College, however, the show was hindered by poor sound and a half-interested audience. Local openers Secret Broadcast at least promised professionalism when they set up their amps, but their sound proved uninteresting. Unimposing alt-rock along the lines of Mobile, their set was a poor introduction to the raw and political energy of Ted Leo. Taking the small stage soon after, Ted Leo and his Pharmacists propelled into a set that leaned heavily on their latest Living With the Living LP. One notable element of their set was their new line-up, which included a new bassist and, unfortunately, a rhythm guitarist. One of the joys of seeing Ted Leo in the past was the near-disastrous guitar feats as he’d pull off the lead and rhythm guitar parts while also performing his vocal duties. Though it always threatened to fall apart, it never did. With a rhythm guitarist added to the line-up, things were a little more predictable on stage. As well, the sound mix was too quiet, leaving an empty sound in the audience’s ears. Regardless, Ted Leo still attacked favourites like "Sons of Cain” and "Me and Mia” with trademark aplomb, leaving the band to chug forward in the background. The crowd, many of whom were clad in dreadlocks and Rage Against the Machine t-shirts, were especially whipped into a frenzy with the now-classic "Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?” Far from his best or worst show, Ted Leo’s performance at the Liberty Lounge was energetic and fun while it lasted, but mostly forgotten by the next day.