Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings


Wednesday April 11, 2007
(With Great Society and others...)

Tasty World (Upstairs)
Athens, GA

About 11:15 pm, I got ready and took off for the club. Amanda decided to stay home so I figured this would be the first show with no pics (which is inevitable sooner than later). Let me tell you, I'm so not used to this rock time right now. Apparently Frank and Joe had both taken naps. Now THAT's rock 'n' roll! I wished I had.

But you know what? When I got there, I was alright. I found a not so bad parking place in front of UGA and lugged my stuff (solo) across the street and up a long flight of stairs. At one point, a massive downpour hit and I found yet another positive feature of wearing a jacket as it will cover your head nicely in a sudden storm.

At the top of the stairs, Josh was there collecting money. He was also going through the pictures on this MySpace page and teasing about some of the people I've met. If he only knew some of the ones that I HAVEN'T posted. Alas, I will keep those secrets to myself.

It got later and later (earlier and earlier?) and eventually, it was time. I was happy and a bit surprised to see that Jonathan had made it despite the time and day. Ashley had come back out too. On top of that, the Great Society guys (and girl) stuck around. There were more people there than I thought there would be but I'd be lying if I said it was anything but sparse. Again, we're talking 1 in the morning on a rainy Wednesday night / Thursday morning.

We set up as quickly as possible and I simply reset my levels to where they had been the previous week for the debut show. Due to a grounding issue (and my lack of an adapter) I wound up getting shocked every time I touched the mic. So I backed off. Therefore, if I had to give a 3 word description of this show, it would be "Worst. Mix. Ever."

Of the 4 shows we've done so far, this one was my least favorite. The lack of a soundcheck, the rain, the time, the sore throat and the exhaustion were all combined. But you know, while we were up there, I had a decent time. And that, to me, is the difference in this band and all the other variations. I simply wanted to play these songs with these guys and it was good.

To be truthful, I don't remember all the details of the night. I was pretty bleary. But I can tell you that my voice rose to the occasion and after a song or two, I felt as if I'd blown the pollen off of my vocal chords and was singing as well as I ever do. Jonathan even wound up taking the pics so the event didn't go undocumented.

I do remember that we remedied the "Sadder Day" cueing problem this time. "Tonight Never Happened" was as it should be (and frighteningly apropos). I also did the manual pitch bend at the end of "Phony" perfectly this time by using the mic stand as a slide.

Here's the set list and completely biased star ratings.

1. The Only Way****
2. Sometimes I'm Sam****
3. Sadder Day****
4. I Won't Stand Still****
5. Phony****
6. Tonight Never Happened****
7. Towel Cape Song ****
8. Waiting For The Siren****
9. Give Up Town****

I'm not going to say who said these things (don't want to embarrass them) but these words are from different people and they hadn't seen us before tonight. Post show, the words they used to describe the band's playing were "phenomenal" and "amazing." Those are their words, not mine. Whether or not I agree is beside the point. I'm still thrilled to hear that someone else thinks that about us.

The warm-up shows are now done. On Saturday, we begin the official shows with another low-key set, and then we go full-bore on Wednesday at Tasty World. We are revved up and ready to go.

Come see this band.

After the gig, I unloaded most everything alone. I was going back up to get my amp and Hamer when I saw a hulking figure coming toward me in the mist. It was Joe. He had my amp on his shoulder. Frank followed behind with my guitar. I was very thankful!

Photos by Jonathan Thompson.