WORDS AND IMAGES BY SARA BUTTON
Centro-matic frontman, Will Johnson played (mostly) solo to about 100 or so patrons at Dan’s Silverleaf last night. Regardless if he was singing a song from one of his many solo albums, or covering a Centro-matic or South San Gabriel tune, hearing the gritty noises coming through Johnson’s pursed lips are always satisfying.
Dallas musician and modern day Beatle, Salim Nourallah opened for Johnson. It is really a treat to see Nourallah not only play solo, but in Denton. I’ve been a Salim Nourallah fan for about a decade or so now and have seen him play at numerous Dallas clubs, which is why seeing him in Denton is special. Although I enjoy his backing bands like the Polaroids and the Travolta’s - Mr. Boombox was a lovely addition to a solo Salim set.
Will Johnson likes to stay busy, and that is obvious when peeping at his discography, if you are not familiar. Johnson’s set was a third comprised of songs from his 2015 release, Swan City Vampires. Centro-matic member Scott Danbom, aka your favorite part-time bartender at Dan’s, aka the one man who can play (what we believe is) literally every instrument known to man, accompanied Johnson for a handful of songs, on either keys or violin.
Johnson doesn’t limit himself to just music, either. In case you missed it, he is also a painter and you can commision one of this paintings. Hopefully you are a baseball fan, as that is what his painting theme seems to currently be.
In between songs, the 44-year-old musician told the story of a fan who had specifically asked if all of his songs were about “fuckin’” - to which Johnson gently smirked and explained that some of the songs are, in fact about that subject. So, if you ever see Will Johnson give an ear tug, please know he is likely not giving a sign to a runner on third, but maybe indicating the song's...theme.
A little over a year ago, Centro-matic played three Farewell Tour shows in Denton and they were all very emotional evenings. News broke in September 2014 of the band calling it quits, but not before releasing their final LP, Take Pride in Your Long Odds, earlier that June.
Johnson played through 16 songs and then came back out after loud cheers to perform an addition 2-song encore. Two of the songs were unknown (and un-google-searchable by lyrics alone), to which I later found out were unreleased tracks. That Will Johnson is always up to something, you guys.
“It’s always an honor to play music on this stage, so thank y’all.”
You vs. Off The Cuff
Tangle for the Less
Ruby Shameless (unreleased)
Almost Let You In
Call, Call, Call
Smelling Medicinal (South San Gabriel)
Murder of Tides
Just to Know What You’ve Been Dreaming
I Feel Too Young to Die (South San Gabriel)
17. Little Raider
18. (Another unreleased track