Leo, who tours with his band, a rotating cast of characters called the Pharmacists, is known as much for his driving punk songs as he is for sensitive slow-burners. He has released a string of acclaimed albums since 2000, and highlights like The Tyranny of Distance (2001), Hearts of Oak (2003) and Shake the Sheets (2004) give him plenty to work with in a live setting.
Not only is Leo a gifted guitarist, but he's also a talented lyricist. He can do what many can't: mix punk politics with love songs and sing-alongs. A case in point is his latest album, The Brutalist Bricks, which makes this delicate balance seem easier than ever.
Leo made some waves a few weeks ago when he implied that the music economy's problems, combined with the rigors of touring, may force him into some kind of retirement. This was tough news coming from someone like Leo, who's constantly working and honestly loves his art. However, Leo has since made clarifications, saying that after 20 years on the road, he isn't retiring per se; he's just looking at his options.
Leo is a good guy -- one of the best -- and I'd hate to see him take any kind of hiatus from doing what he does. That's why it's all the more important that you catch him either at the Che Cafe in La Jolla on Sept. 2 or at the Casbah the following night. As someone who has seen him perform many times, I can say that his shows will not disappoint. And because this is no secret, they could easily sell out -- so get your tickets early.
T. Loper is a writer for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear.