Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Centro-matic at Schuba's

Wed 12 Nov – Centro-matic, South San Gabriel

It is rare that I go to a show and do not leave wishing that certain songs had been included in the set list. I typically enjoy all the shows I attend, but find myself calculating in the moments between the last set and the encore if there is any way the band can jam my 3-4 picks into the encore. I drive home happy, but always wondering what song X would have sounded like that night.

Centro-matic at Schuba's was an exception.

It is not that I need to know every song in a set to enjoy it. I do not yet have Dual Hawks so many of these songs were new to me, but Redo the Stacks and Love You Just the Same are rank up there with London Calling and Man who sold the world as some of my all time favorite albums.

The show this night was perfect in so many ways. It was a rainy Wednesday night in Chicago and Schuba's was about 3/4 full. The room is the back room of an old Tap Room. If you have visited Chicago or Milwaukee and gone out to corner bars you will know what I am talking about as they are so common in this part of the country. From the front entrance you walk into the bar area which is just one big long bar that runs the length of the room and then some raised tables on the opposite wall against a windows that look out onto the street. Follow the bar to the back, past the bathrooms and there is a door that leads to what used to be the dinner or banquet area. This is where the band plays at Schuba's. The stage is all the way at the end of the room. No back stage or side entrance, just 5-6 stairs leading up to the stage, which is the width of the room and about 20' deep.

It appears that nothing has been done to this room to make it sound great, but man does it ever sound great. I have played their two or three time with my band (the first time back in 1996) and as crazy as this sounds I think they still have the same sound guy there. He does a great job. Every band I see there sounds great.

The show started with South San Gabriel. It was a subdued set well performed. The lead singer from the Baptist Generals played solo acoustic next. His set was plagued with tuning problems blamed on heat from lights causing trouble with his nylon strings. It was a decent showing, but not nearly as interesting as he was with the full band when they came through Milwaukee 2 years ago.

Right before Centro-matic went on I ran into Matt Pence and asked about recording the show and he gave me the OK. I have a great recording of the show but am waiting to hear from Matt about posting it or widely distributing it. It turned out great.

The band was in good spirits and made reference a few times to their joy over the Obama victory, to which someone yelled out "What Up Texas?" Will replied that he thinks "Texas would look beautiful in a Blue dress."

There was also an amp problem which led to a impromptu performance of an improvised song which was good fun. The rest of the set broke down like this:

Post-it Notes From the State Hospital
Fountains of Fire
Good As Gold
Most Everyone Will Find
Flashes and Cables
Technical Difficulties for Me
Mighty Midshipman
The Rat Patrol and DJs
Quality Strange
Argonne Limit Co.
Discussion of Obama Victory
Calling Thermatico
Strychnine, Breathless Ways
Counting the Scars
the pilots on the wall
The Blisters May Come
Fidgeting Wildly

I wondered if I were to revisit my Centro-matic albums back to back if I would find a few favorite songs that were not included in the set, but as I continue listening to the recording of this night I cannot help but think that I am not missing anything.