Drive-By Truckers brought along their “soulmate band” Centro-matic for a sold-out two-night stand to celebrate the triumphant return of the Georgia Theatre this past weekend. There was an overwhelming sense of excitement and awe that was shared by everyone lucky enough to be in attendance Friday night. The opportunity to see two of the hardest working, genuine bands in the industry in such a revered space was lost on no one.
I was first introduced to Centro-matic when Patterson Hood named them as his favorite band in an interview over five years ago. Since then I’ve taken every opportunity to see this extremely prolific albeit rarely southeast-touring band (at least until recently) any chance I get. Although they were barely able to make it to Athens in time for their set due to some trouble with their van, Will Johnson led his band through a passionate set containing tracks from the recently released (and outstanding) Candidate Waltz in addition to deeper cuts from their impressive discography. “Iso-Residue,” “Supercar” and “Flashes and Cables” were especially memorable.
DBT fans are known for their loyalty (as well as their lack of sobriety) and tonight was no exception. Within my immediate vicinity at the front of the floor I could see several people with DBT-related tattoos and I’d be surprised if 85 percent of the crowd hadn’t seen the band live before. At this point in DBTs career, they’re pretty much required to play two- or three-night stands in their hometown in order to satisfy their fans and get through even a small portion of their extensive catalog. DBT has long been known for their epic live performances so the fact that they absolutely rocked the Georgia Theatre Friday night goes without saying.
It was easy to see how grateful the band and all of their fans were to be back together in one of Athens’ most hallowed venues once again. Hood, Mike Cooley and company powered through a set full of fan favorites such as “Women Without Whiskey” and “Sink Hole,” as well as songs that the band doesn’t play live very often like “Santa Fe” and “Cartoon Gold.” One of their new live staples, “Everybody Needs Love” from this year’s Go-Go Boots, was especially joyous on this night, with most of the crowd dancing and singing along with the band. Understandably, everything kept coming back to the Georgia Theatre. Hood even worked the main attraction into his lyrics for “Dead, Drunk and Naked,” singing “I know the Lord is coming/The Theatre will rise again!” The band left the stage to the echoing reverb of “Angels and Fuselage” against the Wes Freed-designed set backdrop resembling the stained glass of traditional churches. It truly felt like a rock revival had just taken place in the absolutely beautiful new theatre that has recently risen from the ashes.
The folks at Southern Shelter were kind enough to professionally record this epic weekend of rock. Head over to http://southernshelter.com/ to listen and download both shows.