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  CENTRE w/ Teen Wheat  
  Cabbagetown, GA  
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Many times when I go to a concert, I plan to review it from the get go. However, sometimes I just plan to go and enjoy the music and I'll never write about. On the night in question, I went to see Teen Wheat and Centre on the recommendation of a friend, and I was planning to just enjoy the music and then go on my merry little way. As you can see, that's not what ended up happening.

Before I'd ever heard them, Teen Wheat was described to me as sounding a bit like Unwound. Now I like post-punk music, so I figured "Why not?" and toddled off towards Lennys (not one of my favorite venues). From the first, I found that I really really liked them. Admittedly, to my mind, they did not resemble Unwound, but rather sounded more like one of those 80s Southern California semi-serious punk bands that I grew up on. When I first walked in, I kept thinking they sounded a bit like The Descendants, but as I stood and listened, comparisons to The Germs or perhaps early Bad Religion entered my mind. But even that wasn't right on: the guitars were way too crunchy, the drumming was a little too precise, and the bassist was over the top. Nevertheless, the music and songwriting was fun and, oddly enough, you can dance to it.

More importantly, the band didn't seem to take itself too seriously. At one point, vocalist David Collins stopped a song after the band messed up and said, "See? That's why I didn't want to play this." However, after a brief pause, drummer Kevin Wallace counted the beat off, and the band picked up where they had gone wrong, and brought things to a rousing end. Many bands would have been thrown off by this experience, but Teen Wheat kept on laughing and playing. Finally, they finished up their set with bassist Patrick Hill bring down the ceiling tiles with his bass in good rock fashion. I confess that I clapped enthusiastically, and Im eager to see them again.

I've seen Centre before, and truth be told, I and the other Minions weren't too impressed at the time. I mean, I like math rock/jazz, but I prefer mine to be more angular than noodley. And the time we saw Centre they seemed really noodley and unfocused. However, on this evening, whether it was a different show, a different venue, or just a normal growth process, Centre was much more impressive. Seemingly lead by a masterful drummer, the four musicians created a dark, precise sound that was a perfect soundtrack to the dimly lit venue.

Also, the musicians varied their instrumentation between and during songs in a way that added to the music as opposed to seeming merely self-indulgent. For instance, at one point, the bassist changed to playing a trombone while the keyboardists/extra percussionist picked up a trumpet. In the context, a horn section might seem a bit odd, but during Centre's set it really worked. Of course this may be due to PostLibyan's belief that math rock is the natural evolution of ska music in the local Atlanta scene. Truthfully, this is a natural progression, if only because most people who play horns have the musical training to pull off the off time signatures of a math scene. Furthermore, the drummer in Centre was a sight to behold he played precisely and forcefully in a somewhat unpredictable manner. His drumming patterns were not those you'd expect, which added to the complexity of the music. Furthermore, at various times, he brought out a bow and used it to play the cymbals. That may seem a bit pretentious, but it was certainly different and interesting. All in all, I was quite impressed by the evolution of Centre, and would also go see them again.

Although I claim that I don't give bands second chance, in reality I do (unless they're so god-awful that I never ever want to hear them again). In this case I was glad that my predilection for punk brought me to this show. Truly I loved and enjoyed Teen Wheat, but that wasn't really a surprise. Instead the surprise came from a band I had written off who managed to impress me this time around.

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Centre also opened for Shipping News back in February.


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