Feb. 12, 2004

Centro-Matic Makes Touring Through Chicago Automatic

By Randy J. Klodz

Centro-Matic, a Denton, Texas-native melodic rock quartet, attempts to play Chicago each time the band has toured upon its history, one that spans over seven full-length albums. Centro-Matic is keeping to that credo by playing once again in Chicago where the band will play Schubas on Feb. 21.

Centro-Matic—which includes Will Johnson (vocals and guitar), Mark Hedman (bass), Matt Pence (drums, percussion) and Scott Danbom (piano, violin)—released its most recent album “Love You Just the Same” last September. And with most mainstream bands calling the Lone Star state home either being a full-out heavy metal band or a country act, it would seem to an outsider that there isn’t much room for a mellow-rock quartet to spawn from Texas. But that isn’t the case. “That’s the fascinating thing about Texas, to me,” said Will Johnson, “it doesn’t really have a certain sound to it, but hopefully there is kind of a feel about it that maybe ties it all together a little bit.”

Though Johnson lives in Texas, where it’s frowned upon to like any other NFL team aside from the Dallas Cowboys or the Houston Texans, Johnson has been a fan of the Green Bay ever since he was a young boy. An affinity for NFL teams and players outside the realm of Texas even led to a track on “Love You Just the Same” called “Strahan Has Corralled the Freaks,” which Johnson said is inspired by New York Giants superstar defensive-end Michael Strahan. “It was just a weird thing that was kind of going through my brain that day, and I’m sure that I had just got done watching the Giants play,” Johnson said. “I’m not really a particular Giants fan—but I am a big football fan—and for whatever reason I just went in the back room with my guitar and standing around singing a line, and that was the one that stuck in my head.”

“Love You Just the Same” offers the best of Centro-Matic’s expansive sound. The album starts with a bang, with the high-low “The Mighty Midshipman” that is sure to wow live crowds with its electric guitar solos and tight drum work. Mellow tracks such as “All the Lightning Rods” and “Flashes and Cables” exhibit tight musicianship and Johnson’s unique singing voice that borders on Bryan Adams meets Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

Schubas is at 3159 N. Southport Ave. Tickets for this 21+ show are listed for $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Show time is slated for 10 p.m. with Summer Hymns and the Pale scheduled as support. For more info on Centro-Matic log on to www.centro-matic.com,and for ticket information log on to www.schubas.com.

Centro-Matic Photo: c/o Nasty Little Man