Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings



Friday April 1, 2005 - Athens, GA
Washington Street Tavern

This was kind of a last minute adventure. Just a couple of days ago, Alec Wooden (the "leader" of this whole thing called Athens Open Mic) called us to see if we were interested in making up for our forfeited appearance in last week's finals (ah, scheduling difficulties) by doing a quickie in the "wild card round". What the heck? So here we were. We did it under the stipulation that we be allowed to go first, which is traditionally the worst place to be in a competition. I insisted on this tonight because we have a big show tomorrow night at the Wild Wing so I didn't want to burn myself or my voice out. When we got there for soundcheck, we noticed that my amp was crackling and sputtering a bit. This is not good. We all three tried to work on it (Frank being the only one actually qualified to do so) but nothing was acheived. I decided to bite the bullet, turn it up and hope for the best. Luckily, no one seemed to notice during the performance.


Lately, we've taken to winging things more than I ever have in a band. We were going to open tonight with "Goodbye Tuesday" but literally about 3 seconds before starting, we changed it to "Sometimes I'm Sam." Then I managed to scream out the segue and we jumped right into "Give Up Town." I wasn't really warmed up yet but I think we did alright. There were no major problems or errors and only a little static from the direction of my amp. My patter tonight wasn't all that great because - hey - I didn't know what we were going to do at any given time. Someone yelled "rock and roll" so we threw the "I Won't Stand Still / Phony" twofer at 'em. It got a good response as usual. We probably should've done "Taking Its Toll" to balance things but Alec requested his favorite "Colors In Black & White" so we did that for him. Of course, that gave us the perfect segue back to "Until The Road Ends." I think this is actually the first time we've ended with it. When I originally wrote it that was the position I assumed it would take in the set...and yet, it's almost always within the first couple of songs. Oh well, everything was fine. I was just getting ready to go at it when it was time to stop but I'm perfectly happy with the show.




Completely biased star reviews of each song performed.

1. Sometimes I'm Sam
2. Give Up Town
3. I Won't Stand Still
4. Phony
5. Colors In Black & White
6. Until The Road Ends


I got out of there fast tonight. I really felt I needed to rest up for tomorrow night's show. Tom hung around to see the night through. Frank left a while after me. I was later told that we tied with Sarah Tollerson so the judges did their deliberating thing. In the end, the act who was still all there took the prize. That's fair enough. Sarah's worked much harder than us at this particular thing...and I like her, too. Besides, there's a good chance that our increasingly crazy schedule won't permit us to make the finals anyway.

Thanks to Alec and the AthensOpenMic crew.


Photos by Amanda Stahl.