Texas®

Man, oh, man! What a show. Unfortunately, I’ve only had to hear about what a great night of music last week’s Drive By Truckers / Centro-matic show was, as I was out of town. Thankfully, our man-on-the-scene David Heidle was not only in-town, but all over the Granada Theater in Dallas.

Opening the show was Texas favorites Centro-matic, who have been friends with DBT for years. That friendship showed, as Centro leader (and wonderfully wooley-bearded) Will Johnson played guitar for the Truckers during their set, due to lead Trucker Patterson hood’s playing hand being stitched up after a nasty cut.

You don’t have to just assume that this was a show worth catching, Noah from the Dallas Observer thought it was pretty special, too. Heidle was able to make his way through the sold-out crowd to snap up some mighty fine pics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years now, Centro-matic, a band that began in Denton well over a decade ago, has been known as a prolific group that has risen to a rather lofty status in the world of American Indie-rock. Led by Will Johnson, now an Austinite, the band hasn’t yet put out a record that one would consider anything less than stellar.

The band members themselves are highly sought after when it comes to contributing their individual talents to other’s projects, even. Johnson was the touring drummer for the massive Monsters of Folk project, and he also played guitar on Patterson Hood’s (Drive by Truckers) last solo album. Of course, that’s aside from his many producing projects. Drummer and sound engineer extraordinaire Matt Pence has toured with Jason Isbell while multi-instrumentalist Scott Danbom has played with Slobberbone and Sarah Jaffe. See? In-demand!

Their new album, Candidate Waltz, has reawakened many to the greatness of this band and has already began earning more than its fair share of rave reviews and predictions of the album finding its way onto a solid amount of year-end-best-of lists (Hint: There’s no way it’ll avoid landing on this blog’s list of 2011′s Best Texas Albums. Not a chance).

Enough of me blabbing. Since it’s always nice to see fellow Lone Star dwellers win praise from outside of our own borders, I’ll just let you see for yourself, OK?

 

 

 

 

So, there. Centro-matic might be a band from our state, but it’s clear that their appeal lies beyond the Red River. Still not sure? Check out the tour schedule for the guys. There aren’t many corners of the great 48 they wont be hitting soon, if not later…

Earlier in the week, I showed you fine folks a few pics from my trip to this year’s SXSW Music Conference. As I said then, I really only grabbed pictures from my adventures on Thursday. After starting the day at the New West Records party for some Buddy Miller, among others, I caught a few other great acts like Sarah Jaffe at some cool venues like Red Eyed Fly. Below are some more pictures and thoughts on how I ended my SXSW Thursday…

Hey, how else would I wash down some Frito Pie from Stubb's BBQ as I awaited the evening's sets to begin, but with a cold Lone Star? Robert Francis from L.A. came on shortly after this and really impressed with his straight-forward brand of good ol' American rock.

Canada's Besnard Lakes simply tore the place up with their epic brand of anthemic rock. Just before their set began, an older gentleman with a Canadian accent asked me, "Who are these guys coming on next?". After I told him, he started laughing and explained to me that he was the uncle of The Besnard Lakes' lead singer and I passed the test he had given me. Those wily neighbors to the north.

Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas can't stop tearing it up...

Even though I have now seen Georgia's Drive by Truckers a few times, this set was special as it featured, almost exclusively, material from the just released "The Big To-Do", which is an album that just kicks you in the throat and then laughs at you for even thinking of wincing from the pain.

Kicking off their set a little after 11:00pm, Tim Bluhm, of San Francisco's The Mother Hips makes the shoddy stage on Encore's patio seem not as shoddy. Also mainly belting out tunes from an excellent recent release, the crowd ate up every last bit of the tunes from the Pacific Dust LP.

After, soaking in the greatness of The Mother Hips, I actually ended that night with a set from the heavy metal band, Solace, then did a bit of nameless showcase hopping, as I made my way back to the car in the wee hours of Thursday night/Friday morning.

Well, there you have it. I wish I was able to share photos from the rest of the time I spent at SXSW 2010, but that would require me to have a clue when it comes to various electronic-type items, and I just dont have that. Rest assured, many great sets were enjoyed and I’m sure that I’ll bring a few of those artists to your attention, soon enough.

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob