Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings



Friday May 27, 2005 - Athens, GA
(with Midnight Ride)

DT's Down Under

Tonight started super-frustrating for me. I got to the venue at about 7:30 (there was an alleged 8 start time) only to find no one there. And I mean no one. Not even the rest of the band. After a while, I called Tom. He headed on out. Then there were two. By 8:15, there was still nothing. I was about to turn around and go home when the bartendrix showed up to open the joint. Her name's Alana. She's the one that booked us for
the big ZOSO gig last October at the Georgia Theatre. She said she liked us and invited us out tonight. So despite the fact that it's not only summer vacation for the University but also Memorial Day weekend (in other words, it's a ghost town), we took the booking to play for her. When she got there, she apologized profusely for being late. She had a perfectly good excuse (which I'll not divulge here for privacy's sake) and Tom and I began loading in. By 8:30, Frank still wasn't there. So now he's MIA a full half-hour after the scheduled start time and an hour after he was told to arrive for load-in. I was not all. Tom finally called him. I couldn't. It wouldn't have been a good idea. Anyway - he finally ambled in as 9 approached. This was not the way to get me in the mood for a rock show and I was not appreciative of the circumstances. So despite my desire to say a whole heck of a lot, I said nothing. I know Frank's smart enough to know better. I choose to believe he had a legitimate excuse and won't repeat it.

By the time we went on, it was over an hour after our scheduled start time. We jumped right in with the usual opener. Because of the (ahem...) limited P.A. and amount of time to soundcheck, the mix left a lot to be desired. Still, we got through it okay. By this point, I was more or less feeling flippant. I dedicated nearly every song to Alana. In addition to our regular staples, we decided to throw in a few interesting ones for the handful of people there to witness it. After asking "Do you feel brave?", I talked the band into attempting "Stay Away" for the first time. Tom's singing it and it's good to just sit back and play every now and again. The stupid thing is that I forgot my harmonics during the verses. Tom and Frank did okay! I blew it. Oh well, it was still fun to do that one for the first time since Star Zero. By now, I'd started getting a bit giddy and stupid. You can tell from the "rock poses" below. For the record, these are my insincere poses. I enjoy making fun of myself sometimes and that's just what I did. On a good night, I may look ridiculous but every pose is "from the heart". Tonight, it was "from the frustration." ROCK!

I've got to say, for a band that's been in the studio day in and day out and hasn't had time to rehearse, we played pretty well. The eyebrows were a little lacking (on my part only) but I made up for it with stupid faces. For the second gig in a row, I forgot to use the proper effect for "Phony." I can't believe I did it again. I've gotten good enough at it now that I don't need to rely on effects and it sounds fine without it, but I love the way those sounds push it completely over the top. ( Later in the show (and again for the sake of our faithful few), we shook things up with "Skyward," which we've only played once or twice and probably not in six months. This was one of two highlights for me tonight. Frank was prettty sloppy on "I'll Be Fine" and all of us were on "Worms On The Pavement" but they certainly weren't bad. We did the new drum intro thing on "Worms" and in my off-center state, I slowly transferred it into "We Will Rock You" by leading Tom in that direction. I actually sang a verse and chorus and did the full solo while Tom rocked behind me and Frank looked slightly panicked. Then we deftly slid into "Worms." I couldn't resist doing the same thing again for the intro of "Taking Its Toll". This time I intro'd it with Led Zeppelin's "Tangerine." It worked amazingly well. The other highlight was next. Since we had a couple of members of The Quincy Jonestown Choir out in the audience, we invited them up to do the "lay down"s with us. It made it much more fun. So fun, in fact, that we decided not to follow it with our usual "Give Up Town" smackdown. How can you top a guest appearance by QJC?

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. Stay Away (F)**
7. I Won't Stand Still****
8. Phony***
9. Into My View***
10. It's Never The Same****
11. Skyward****
12. I'll Be Fine***
13. We Will Rock You (F) / Worms On The Pavement***
14. Tangerine (F) / Taking Its Toll****


Just after we ended, some old friends (and relatives of Frank) from South Carolina showed up. They'd travelled nearly 200 miles and had hoped to catch us live. They couldn't find the joint and missed us by that much. Oh well, we shared some of the first show anniversary cupcakes that Julia was sweet enough to make for us and hung out on the street while the next band loaded in.

I was home by midnight...

Cupcakes, anyone?



Photos by Amanda Stahl.