Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings


Wednesday April 18, 2007
(With Great Society, Sleeping In The Aviary and The Cubs)

Tasty World
Athens, GA



"By the time The Critical Darlings took the stage at  10:15 last night, a good-size throng had already gathered in the room "downstairs" at Tasty World. This was to be our last show in Athens before school let out for summer, and we put on a good one. It didn't hurt that we really finally got the cadence of the set list down perfectly. For those in the lay, that refers to the order and the flow of the events that take place onstage in the mystical land of Rock . Each song segued into the next, resulting in the desired dynamic effect and mood throughout. The energy level in the room was tremendous.

After we left the stage one of the guys (in one of the other bands) told Chris he was scared to follow our act. The degree to which I am a jerk for mentioning this is mitigated by the fact that it is true.
Plus, my report wouldn't be complete (or as much fun) if I omitted such tasty tidbits.

Frank looked dandy in a polka-dot tie and ruffled shirt, conjuring a Duran Duran motif. In fact, he looked "Duran Durandy". Afterward he said he was pleased with the way his bass rig sounded and, for once, there were no momentary lapses in signal.

Josh was sick with some kind of cold or sinus thing. Before the show I tutored him the home remedy of bucksnorting hot salt water through a straw up his nose and into his sinuses, effectively waging "nuclear war" on the parasites therein. I hope he didn't take me seriously. In spite of his illness, his playing was fantastic; the rock numbers rocked and his dancier beats were bumpin'.

I was pretty good too.

We boogied.

I don't know what to say about Chris other than this may have been his best performance yet. He engaged the crowd and drew them to the front of the stage, and then he kept them there. It felt like a party. His voice was strong and his playing was on. Chris just basically grabbed the ball and ran with it, and spiked it in the end zone. Are you lay people getting this?

Joe's 100% reliable, unbiased, totally accurate song-by-song "star ratings" of the songs as they appeared on the set list:


Click on the song titles to hear or download the soundboard recordings of each song!

1) The Only Way ***

2) Sometimes I'm Sam ****

3) Waiting For The Siren ****

4) Sadder Day ***

5) Towel Cape Song ****

6) Scared of Myself ****

7) I Won't Stand Still ****

8) Phony ****

9) Give Up Town ***1/2

- Joe"

Now back to me, I want to personally thank the guys in Great Society for asking us out and for hanging around during our set. I felt really guilty that I couldn't return the favor tonight. Hopefully, you understand that it goes along with the reason that we had to open the night instead of playing later as asked. We all had early days waiting for us and needed our "beauty sleep".

I also MUST thank The Joshettes (as I dubbed them). Meghan, Shannon and Ann made a big difference to all of us. Hopefully you will quickly transform from The Joshettes to the Critical Dancers!

Everyone else who decided to be an active participant in the gig gets my hearty thanks too. We can't wait to do it again!

After the gig, our resident "non-working roadie" Jonathan described the show simply: "That may be the best show you've ever done."

When I asked Amanda what she thought about that, she only said, "Yep."

I don't know if it was all that good but it did feel strong, steady and that we'd hit our stride. The pacing was pristine, the audience was receptive and kept pushing us harder and we all played pretty well.

In fact, I will be posting links to the soundboard recordings of the show to the song titles above. Click 'em and hear how it went down. If they ain't there now, they will be shortly. This is the whole warts-n-all show. 'Tain't bad for a 6th time ever. The guitars are a little low straight from the board since we're SO LOUD with our stage volume but you oughtta be able to get an indication of what went down even if it doesn't capture the intensity or all of the flailing, leaping and windmilling.

Oh yeah - and did I mention...


Photos by Amanda Stahl.