Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings



Saturday November 20, 2004 - Athens, GA
Washington Street Tavern

Truth time. This was one of my least favorite shows we've ever done, maybe just on the good side of the Mulligan's show. Did we play poorly? No. We played about like usual. There was just no energy exchange. Without that, I can't do it and everything just languishes. It all started when I got to the Tavern and found no P.A. I swear they used to have one. So what do you do? It's 9 p.m. on a Saturday night! Well, in Athens, it's not that hard. You go to Nuci's Space. They hook you up. You say thanks and thank God that you live in Athens. Without Nuci's, this band would simply not be the same. We may not even exist. If you're in this area, you owe it to yourself to take advantage of the space. Anyway, we got everything set up in plenty of time for our quarter to 11 start time but no one was there. So we waited. About 11:30 we decided to get it going anyway. A couple of Bearfoot Hookers showed up with friends and we played for them, a couple of bartenders, Amanda, Mary Katherine, Molly, Julia and Jonathan (as you go 'round the table). Later, we'd figure out the problem. In the moment, it was just weird and disconcerting (pun fully intended).

I can't really give you show details for tonight 'cause there wasn't really a show. We debuted all six of the remaining untested songs and played 23 in all. It was an open rehearsal: nothing more, nothing less. I can say that I was happy with the new tunes. "I'll Be Fine" and "I Know Too Much (For My Own Good)" are sturdy potential staples. "Wide Bicycle" is a super cool alternate. I was glad to finally do "If You Want To Go," too. I did it in the pseudo medley form with "Down."

At some point, my photo friend Rich Merritt showed up (see him shooting me in the above left pic). He stayed for a few then had to move on to his next shoot. (I can certainly relate to that). Every now and then a handful of people would come down and or go back up the stairway. We never could find the magic code tonight to keep 'em down. Mark my words, that won't become habit.


Completely biased star reviews of each song performed.

1. Colors In Black & White***
2. Until The Road Ends***
3. Sometimes I'm Sam****
4. (Save It For) Another Day***
5. Into My View****
6. I Know Too Much (For My Own Good) (N)****
7. Emotions To Free****
8. Haven't Got A Clue***
9. It's Never The Same**
10. I Won't Stand Still****
11. Phony***
12. Twist***
13. Wide Bicycle (N)***
14. Creepy Jackalope Eye***
15. Down***
16. If You Want To Go (N)****
17. Everyday***
18. I'll Be Fine (N)****
19. Skyward (N)***
20. Worms On The Pavement****
21. Towel Cape Song**
22. Give Up Town****
23. Deuce (N)***

We've got at least 2 more shows in this residency. We won't be playing to no one again. How can I be sure? Watch me. Part of the problem was us not realizing that the crowd upstairs didn't know we were down there! Not once did any of us simply go up to notify them. It just never dawned on us to think that they don't usually host shows there. Why would they think we'd be down there? I didn't realize this was the problem until after we stopped. When we started moving out the door, people saw us moving equipment. Several excitedly asked, "Are y'all about to play?" Ack! "Nope. We just finished." They seemed genuinely upset to have missed it. One guy said straight out, "We didn't even know there was a downstairs, we would've much rather been down here." Next time, friend, next time. It vaguely reminded me of a band called Moke. They were this amazing English rock band. I remember seeing them play to no one. We got into a conversation about it post show. The singer said,"It's like our manager said: You could have Elvis Presley back from the dead playing and no one's going to come unless people know about it." It seems obvious but we let this one slip by.

A huge thanks goes out to those who did come out. We hope you'll wind up looking back one day on the fact that you heard these songs performed for the first time and just for you.

And thanks to the Bearfoot Hookers rhythm section. We can't wait to be a part of that in the works rock 'n' roll smackdown. Thanks for asking! The future will rock.

As for tonight? Live and learn.

Photos by Amanda Stahl.