Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings



Friday May 20, 2005 - Athens, GA
(with The Bearfoot Hookers)

Caledonia Lounge

This was another one of those shows that was a little weird for me personally. I know we did well, I know people responded positively and I know we have done 3 successful (on all counts) shows in a row. For some reason, I wasn't completely on tonight. I was just slightly out of sorts. I was not a master of the grand gesture. Luckily, I still played just fine and Frank and Tom made up the bits that I liked and made it possible for me to kind of cruise. On a 1-10 scale, I think the band was about a 7 tonight. On the other hand, I think I was personally about 3 out of 10 as far as what I usually deliver. So that's my only disappointment. I can't really complain about anything else. We had great friends there and a good list of songs. Maybe it was the iffy, extended soundcheck or the crazy guy who wandered in waving money at us. Yes, this happened. He kept telling us to play him a song that would make a cab come and he would pay us. "I've got money. LOOK! If you play just the right song, the cab will come!" And then he danced in front of the stage and air guitarred his heart out. It was distracting to say the least. I tried to be courteous. After about 10 minutes, the club had to have him removed. I felt slightly bad for him...but not that bad!

We did a really nice opening salvo and there was a surprisingly loud response at the end of "Until The Road Ends." By "Sam", we actually had people up and the Caledonia! Woah! During "Towel Cape", I actually noticed people very animated and hanging on every word of the story. That's the first time I've actually noticed that. That was weird but really cool. Before the song even ended, when I said the part about the guy actually "flying away", several people erupted into excited cheers. Again - very strange but satisfying. "I Know Too Much" garnered at least two eruptions as well. After the final "for you" and an even bigger one after the exaggerated rock and roll / live-only ending. From there we went into the usual high point. Again, "I Won't Stand Still" and "Phony" got a big response. Somehow, in my odd state of mind, I didn't use the right effect on my pedal board for those two so I had no delay for "Phony". It scared me at first but then I realized that I've gotten good enough now to where I don't HAVE to depend on effects. I played it note for note and even managed to emulate a couple of the whammy effects. It wasn't quite as huge without the delay but it was still pretty intense. "Into My View" came next and more dancers joined in. That was nice. Even in my strange mood, I couldn't help but smile. We dedicated "Worms On The Pavement" to the Bearfoot Hookers. It was semi-sloppy but it rocked with all its potency. I think tonight, this one usurped "Phony" and "Give Up Town" in the amount of applause. It's so weird. It's one of our least favorite songs but there's no denying that it's a powerful live cut. It should definitely be on the next album. Our usual closer was still strong. For some reason, my amp started crackling a little during the quiet parts. My guitar was slightly out of tune as well (because of the abbreviated string-stretching session today) but no one seemed to notice or care. "Give Up Town" was even faster than last time tonight. I think we went too far with it this time. It was fun but I think the song lost a little of its groove and impact due to the tempo. You'd've not known that from the response. Everyone was great to us. We even met a keyboard played who offered his services. I plan on giving him a call as soon as things calm down a bit (i.e., when the album's done). All in all, this was a success. It was certainly much better than our last Caledonia show. I think we're hitting our stride. All we need to do is keep up the pace.

Completely biased star reviews of each song performed.

1. Colors In Black & White****
2. Until The Road Ends****
3. Sometimes I'm Sam****
4. Towel Cape Song****
5. I Know Too Much (For My Own Good)****
6. I Won't Stand Still****
7. Phony***
8. Into My View***
9. Worms On The Pavement****
10. Taking Its Toll***
11. Give Up Town****

Tom's opinion: anyway, not to be cocky, but i thought i did all right, especially in attitude, considering. my wrists finally gave out during "give up town" and my saving grace is i've learned how to slow down my right hand while keeping tempo.  i didn't have much trouble with "josh's" kit, but lost my sticks twice. we went over pretty well. i don't know how many of the people there were there for us but they liked us.  i won't (really can't) make a habit of it, but i think having a couple frosty beverages in me is a good thing.  i felt loose but not sloppy, and i just felt like a rock star."


Thanks first and foremost to The Bearfoot Hookers for having us out for this rock and roll extravaganza. You guys seriously rocked. That honky-tonkified version of "Love Gun" was worth being there all by itself. Next time, maybe I'll jump up on stage and sing some backups on it for you ("love guuuuuuuun, looooooove guuuun").

Thanks to Sarah and Eric for coming out. 'Twas good to see Matt and Marcus, too.


Photos by Amanda Stahl.