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  THE DEATHAY DAVIES w/ Centro-matic  
  The Earl  
  East Atlanta, GA  
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I have to confess: before I went to this show I'd never heard the music of either The Deathray Davies or Centro-Matic. I'd heard vague recommendations about the bands, but I wasn't sure exactly what they sounded like…or if they'd put on a decent show. Still, on the evening in question, I was sitting at home feeling depressed and getting over an illness. In short, I was mopey and down and I needed to get out of the house. And this concert was my best bet.

From their first notes, I was pleased with Centro-Matic, who (it turns out) hail from Denton, Texas. The guitar-driven rock (reminiscent of Son Volt, or one of those slightly twangy bands) immediately caught my attention and drug me out of my slightly melancholy state. But just when I had this band pegged as another loud, fun band, Centro-Matic changed the pace by playing some softer, more melodic ballads. These songs showed a different side of the band, and emphasized the keyboards and the harmonies of lead singer/songwriter Will Johnson and the keyboardist (whose name I unfortunately never caught). In their own right, each style was interesting, entertaining, and well-executed; together, the combination was fairly irresistible (to me, at least). As their set drew to a close (in too short of a time, in my opinion), I was suddenly glad I'd decided to come out. This was excellent and well worth my time - anything the next band could add would just be a bonus.

I wasn't sure what to expect from The Deathray Davies, but based on the name alone I was expecting a spectacle. Maybe they would be some dark horror-rockabilly combo? Or perhaps they'd be a goth country band, in the manner of Myssouri? Either way, I wasn't really expecting a 60s-esque garage rock combo, with a little 80s new wave stylization thrown in. And, as I've stated in past reviews, I'm a sucker for a garage rock in pretty much any form.

Anyway, suffice to say, the music of The Deathray Davies rocked, and rocked hard. The fuzz and reverb of the guitars played off the drums in a way to satisfy the garage rock fan in me. And underneath it all, the sound was propelled and sustained by this amazing bassist, who wasn't just satisfied to perform the standard chord-marking of so many musicians. His style and expertise were such that I continually found myself watching him to the exclusion of the other band members. Still, as wonderful as all this was, The Deathray Davies added one final touch: a keyboardist. This person added melodic (in sometimes fruity) touches to most of the songs and, more importantly, seemed really into the music. Watching him perform (and grab his beer in perfect time with the music), I could see that this band was having a good time trying to entertain the rather sparse crowd.

Admittedly, after a few songs, the music started to have a vague same-ness. And admittedly, the sound at The Earl was such that the vocals were lost in the wash, although the announced song titles seemed intriguing, in a witty Karl Hendricks kind of way. Still, in the end, I found this band remarkably interesting and just plain good. And when it was over, I was almost sad that the music had ended, even though I hadn't planned to spend the night watching this live show.

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