Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings



Tuesday August 30, 2005 - Georgia Theatre - Athens, GA
(with Freshwater Collins)

This was our second show in two days which may be normal to all those big-timers but for us is a relatively rare thing - especially for a Monday and Tuesday. Knowing full well that we couldn't pull a lot of people out for a last minute show on Tuesday we took the show because the booker Will said he just wanted to see us again. So basically, this was for him. Don't get me wrong, I love playing the theatre. It's one of our favorite venues. But we're smart enough to know that 1000 seat venue with only a few people isn't the best way to handle things. Still, we knew this going in so it was alright this time. Pre-show, we hung out with the Freshwater Collins guys who were pretty cool. They told us that they heard we were "kind of Americana and alt-country". This description elicited giggles from all of us. We gathered 'round the TV while waiting for soundcheck and watched coverage of Katrina. All I could say was "My God!" I had some great times in New Orleans. I hope I get another chance but it's not looking so good today. That didn't help get me into a rock and roll mode but that's our job so come 10:45, that's what we did anyway.

Our chops were definitely there tonight. For once, we're actually practiced up properly. Some sound problems hampered "Colors" a bit but by "Until The Road Ends" we were cruising. And that's just what we did for the first half of the show...cruised. I think we played better and tighter than ever. We were focused and did our jobs well. I just wish more of our usual crowd could've made it out.

"Phony" had its usual effect and it's always cool to play that song in a big venue. That just feels like what it's made for. At the end of "Towel Cape Song", I tried the second new segue in 2 days. This one worked even better. We slid into "If You Want To Go" which then led to a succession of newbies.

"Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something" kicked great. I love the punkier feel, which is so much more like I originally wrote it. Then we tried "You Don't Know Me" again. Yesterday was the first time we ever played it and it didn't quite feel right. Lemme tell ya, later in the set, it smokes. It was perfect. It definitely could give "Phony" a run for its rock money whenever we get it tightened up. I slammed that head first into the debut performance of "Pepper." It's the first time that song's been played since the very last Q-Sign show. I think it's a bit more sparse and rocky with us but it's still got a hellagroove going on. By this point, we'd played 20 straight minutes with no silence or breaks of any sort. The last 5 songs segued. It felt tight and right. We closed the set out our usual way. I can't say the performances of "Taking Its Toll" or "Give Up Town" were particularly special tonight but they did indeed rock. I think this was the most consistent and tight show we've ever done. I just wish we could play this well every night!

Completely biased star reviews of each song performed.

1. Colors In Black & White***
2. Until The Road Ends****
3. Sometimes I'm Sam****
4. Into My View****
5. I Won't Stand Still****
6. Phony****
7. Towel Cape Song****
8. If You Want To Go****
9. Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something****
10. Pepper (N)****
11. You Don't Know Me****
12. Taking Its Toll****
13. Give Up Town****

There wasn't as much hanging out tonight. After 2 days of shows, the stress of still being on "normal person" time was catching up with us. I did stick around to see enough of Freshwater Collins' twangy Zep-tinged riffs. They were a solid rock band that could also fit in with jam bands if they wanted. We also worked well with them. Maybe we'll share the stage again...


Photos by Amanda Stahl.