Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings



Friday March 12, 2005 - Athens, GA
Washington Street Tavern
Carrying O'Brien)

Next year - someone please remind me that Spring Break is not the time to do a show in Athens. I actually knew this at one point but apparently I forgot. Luckily a few people came in to fill all the seats downstairs but it was still sparse compared to (any definition of) usual. We took the opportunity to flip the set list around and experiment big time. But not before our new friends in Carrying O'Brien did a groovy, folk - jam - lite jazz set that relaxed me a little more than I needed to be! They sounded great. I loved the syncopated bits but it was all alright with me.

We went on right at midnight (I also forgot to have my show day caffeine) so I was ready for dream time, not rockin' and rollin'. We warmed into the set with "Sometimes I'm Sam" then crunched into "Give Up Town". What a weird combo - but it still worked. The highlight of the night for me came next. I did the best version of "I'll Be Fine" that I've ever done. I think the tiredness actually helped this one. I was feeling it. And I didn't notice anything but good stuff from the guys either. Yep, definitely the best version of it to date. "Into My View" came next and slid into what I think is only the second live performance of "It's Never The Same." Just as I suspected, it got a really good response and we played it pretty well for something we rarely even rehearse. It may be time for it to become a regular alternate. I enjoyed it tonight. "Towel Cape Song" and "I Know Too Much" followed. My eyebrows had fallen asleep and I kept trying to nudge them awake but I couldn't really. 'Twas still a solid performance - it just didn't have that extra edge that I like. On a whim, I yelled back for Tom to segue into "Wide Bicycle." He didn't realize that I wanted him to not do the stop until the last measure of the intro before Frank and I come in. It was awkward and herky-jerky. Next time hopefully we'll remember "no stops 'til before the lead". I need time to switch effects, you know!

We pulled out the song that's probably ultimately responsible for the foundation of the band next. "Goodbye Tuesday" hasn't been played many times live (because I don't want to bother with the capo) but I was glad to dig it out tonight. And we did it well, too. Again, it's time this one moved up in the rotation for awhile. Next up, "I Won't Stand Still" and "Phony." If you read these show postings, you know what went just wasn't nearly as energetic tonight. They were played perfectly well but it really didn't feel "live" to me. So what could we do but delve into the archives again? This time, we pulled out our re-imagining of Jeff Buckley's "Jewel Box" as performed by The Who circa '70. Thanks to my cheat sheet I got the lyrics. We didn't do this one great but there was nothing really wrong with it. We were just (rightly) not as sure of ourselves on it as we are with the standards. The rest was cake. We bumped "Colors In Black & White" and "Until The Road Ends" to this late spot. To my surprise, it worked well here, too. "Taking Its Toll" felt like its title but again, there was nothing really wrong with it. We ended the night with "Creepy Jackalope Eye" and managed to get the eyebrows to twitch a few times but still couldn't get them fully awake.

Above photos by Maggie Borders (thanks, Maggie)...


Completely biased star reviews of each song performed.

1. Sometimes I'm Sam ***
2. Give Up Town ***
3. I'll Be Fine ****
4. Into My View ****
5. It's Never The Same ***
6. Towel Cape Song ****
7. I Know Too Much (For My Own Good) ****
8. Wide Bicycle ***
9. Goodbye Tuesday ****
10. I Won't Stand Still ****
11. Phony ****
12. Jewel Box ***
13. Colors In Black & White ****
14. Until The Road Ends ****
15. Taking Its Toll ****
16. Creepy Jackalope Eye ****

--------- ENCORE / REQUEST---------

17. Worms On The Pavement ***


Gettin' stupid by turning the camera on each other (please forgive us, it was a long night)...

Below photos by Tom, Frank & Chris...

Really, I just needed some interaction as can be proved by these ridiculous shots. Our regular photog Amanda couldn't make it tonight so we turned the camera on each other to make sure the night was documented in some form. While we were acting like idiots (and finally awake at 1:30 a.m.), Sam Deeds (front man of the opening band) requested "Worms On The Pavement" which he heard the last time he saw us. His friend Maggie Borders offered to photo us with my camera during that last song. So she did. That's where all the non-silly pics at the top of this page came from - that one song. Thanks, Maggie. We owe you one. With a little interaction and a camera flashing at us, we finally put some guts into it. I laid into the strings so hard that I broke one right near the end of the final riff. I gave up trying to transpose and just oscillated between A and C until Frank and Tom stopped just as they were supposed to. For once, I actually ran completely over the ending. It was absolutely the sloppiest we've ever done "Worms" but it was probably the best feeling song of the night. We really crave and need interaction. That's the lesson for tonight.

Next stop, Atlanta...