Centro-matic Bids Farewell To Sold Out Austin Crowd (SHOW REVIEW/PHOTOS)

Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers once described Centro-matic as “his favorite band that is still vital and intact.” This quote resonates with a bittersweet feeling now; on the one hand hearing such a respected songwriter call the Denton group his “favorite” and “vital” is the upmost compliment, but on the other hand, by the end of this week that band will no longer be intact. Through twenty years and a prolific output of music Centro-matic has always been a band’s band, one of those acts that the most respected artists adore yet the masses just can’t seem to figure out. Even with a loyal following, the quartet has always been one of the most criminally underrated acts, which may be part of the motivation for closing the book on their life as a band.

When Centro-matic announced their final tour earlier this year it had nothing to do with the negativity that often plagues a band’s demise. Glide Magazine’s James Roberts summed it up well in an interview with lead singer-songwriter Will Johnson when he wrote “Rare is the case when a band makes the conscious decision that their work is accomplished and that they can walk away happy and with a sense of achievement.” It was this sentiment that overpowered any feeling of sadness when a sold out crowd gathered at the Parish in Austin to catch Centro-matic on their final lap around Texas that ends this weekend with three more sold out shows in their hometown of Denton.

The members of the band were in positive spirits when they took the stage and began the set with “Anything Torn Out,” a slow-building new song off their latest album, perhaps reflectively titled Take Pride In Your Long Odds. The energy continued to build on older songs like “Fountains of Fire,” the spunky “Iso-Residue,” and “Huge In Every City.” Scott Danbom added beautiful piano flourishes to create a sprawling textured sound while harmonizing behind Will Johnson’s sandpaper vocals. The band wasted little time waxing nostalgic, remarking about past shows here and there but mostly staying completely in tune with one another on a musical level that can only come after years of playing together. Will Johnson and Scott Danbom knocked back beers and leaned into each other affectionately during jams while drummer Matt Pence and guitarist and bassist Mark Hedman stoically held down seamless rhythm.

As the set neared its end after nearly two hours a strange thing happened. Instead of the mood growing increasingly sad as the reality set in that this would be the crowd’s last chance to see Centro-matic, both audience and band seemed to revel in the final moment more and more. There was no need to mourn the loss of a truly great band, but rather to celebrate that band’s incredible artistic contribution to the world. Throughout the performance they stayed on point, nailing song after song in a set filled with close to thirty. After encoring on a rock and roll high with a trio of “Salty,” “Good As Gold,” and “Am I the Manager or Am I Not?”, the members of Centro-matic left the stage only to be pulled back by an audience of fans not ready to say goodbye forever. Thanking the crowd, Will Johnson and Scott Danbom played an emotional “All the Lightning Rods” before ultimately ending an a jubilant note with what is probably the most poppy, light-hearted Centro-matic tune, “Love Has Found Me Somehow.” Not every band can last forever, and though Centro-matic may no longer be intact, they will never cease being vital.

Photos by Arthur VanRooy. 


Follow Neil Ferguson

Related Content

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide