By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
If roots-rock is your thing, well, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better triple-bill—on New Year's Eve or otherwise—than this Kessler Theater offering of Centro-matic, Slobberbone and RTB2. Individually, all of these acts are forces to be reckoned with, each more than capable of offering up a soul-cleansing performance that can recharge your faith in rock 'n' roll.
Throw them all on a bill together, and you start to wonder why other venues in town aren't running around crying about this bill being unfairly stacked and too difficult to compete with. Perhaps that's because, to the untrained eye, it doesn't appear as if any of these acts were too prolific in 2010—which, indeed, is a fair criticism. None of the three released any new material this year, save for Centro-matic, which, with its Eyas release, simply ushered out some left-overs from its 2008 double album, Dual Hawks.
But let's not miss the big picture here: Centro-matic, which features should-be legendary local singer-songwriter Will Johnson fronting as impressive a cast of players as can be found in Texas, is counted by those in the know as one of the jewels in the regional musical crown. Slobberbone, meanwhile, has always, for better or worse, been the dirtier, rawer Old 97's cousin, burning down Brent Best's brutally honest drinking anthems with glorious reckless abandon on stage. And then there's RTB2, which, after years of being known as the most professional, inspiring outfit in town, finally saw its classic rock-leaning roots music get the acclaim it deserves in 2010, when the band was voted by Dallas Observer readers as the Best Group in town during our annual music awards.
Other New Year's Eve shows happening around town this year may boast more flash, sure. But none will prove as refreshing a display as this one.