Will Johnson
Will Johnson (Photo by Shelley Hiam)


Waterloo Park, Nov. 8

Centro-matic is Will Johnson's most formidable vehicle, but the quartet's polish often threatens to overwhelm the raw emotion inherent in the Dentonite's songwriting. Such was the case with the first half of Saturday afternoon's set, and with only a half-hour slot, the band never settled into a groove. The rough melodic hues of guitar-driven opener "Mighty Midshipman" buried Johnson's gritty vocals, as did the bruising and distortion-rocked "Rat Patrol and DJs" from Centro-matic's recent double disc split with musical offshoot South San Gabriel, Dual Hawks. "Calling Thermatico" pounded furious, but Johnson emerged more prominently on the haunting "Flashes and Cables." Most impressive was closing with "Fidgeting Wildly" from the group's 1997 debut Redo the Stacks, Johnson flailing about the stage with his trademark leg kick as the band locked into an extended and unbounded jam.

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