Will Johnson is a solo artist, singer/guitarist for Centro-Matic, singer/guitarist for South San Gabriel, Drummer for the Monsters of Folk and half of the duo Johnson and Molina. On this night he was solo acoustic in someone’s living room.
He was playing songs in their most stripped down form. He was promoting his newest release under his solo moniker, The Little Raider EP. You can buy The Little Raider EP here. He sampled his catalog to put on a great intimate show.
Johnson’s music is great for this kind of environment. While his catalog with Centro-Matic is largely of a sonic nature, many of his other projects focus the quieter side of things. He focuses on storytelling and painting pictures with the lyrics to his songs.
The environment was very relaxed with the crowd sitting around talking about music, baseball and living room decor. The best part about a small show like this is that you lose the annoyances of a bar show, mainly the jackasses that talk during songs.
The most telling moment of this show and any show involving Will Johnson in my opinion is the first time you hear his voice. It always takes me off guard how big his voice is. If you have heard his records you have an idea but it really is something that is entirely different live. The records just doesn’t seem to portray how full his voice is.
Because of his vast catalog, I was unable to keep a setlist, the fact that he tends to do many new and unreleased songs doesn’t help either. I can verify that among the songs played were: “Flashes and Cables” “Just To Know What You’ve Been Dreaming” “Philo Manitoba” “Little Raider” “Devil on the Interstate Line” “The Scorpion” and the great closer “Nothin’ But Godzilla.”
The highlight for me was my favorite song by Johnson, “Just To Know What You’ve Been Dreaming.” A song that I have strangely enough seen Jason Isbell cover live. Johnson has been doing these living room tours for a while now and I would highly recommend catching one if you ever get a chance.