Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings

Thursday May 24 , 2007
(With Jason Lyles)

Midtown Music Hall
Chattanooga, TN

Here's some new blood for you. Emily from Side B Music has taken on this show report. I'll follow her with some comments from Josh and me.

Thanks, Emily!

"Well, I bet most of you are expecting a review from one of the band members but I'm the reviewer this time! So let me introduce myself. I'm Emily and have been working with the Critical Darlings and Side B Music as a volunteer who is hoping to one day work in the music business. So now let's get onto the show since I'm sure you don't want to hear my life story.

The Critical Darlings took the stage sometime around 11 PM, opening with “The Only Way.” They instantly grabbed everyone's attention to hear more. As at any local show the crowd stayed back at first. Chris coaxed people to get closer and everyone did. It was obvious that they had won over the crowd since everyone appeared to be having a good time and dancing (or at least bobbing their heads to the songs).


By the end of the night everyone was up in the front coaxing the band to give it all they had. The crowd hyped Chris up so much that he wound up going to the edge of the stage and having the crowd “strum” for him a la Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham. They ended with “Give Up Town” leaving everyone wanting more but giving them just enough to satisfy their concert going needs.

While Chris claims that they haven't been practicing like they should, you wouldn't have been able to tell. They sounded tight and energetic, showing me that this is definitely a different band then what I had seen nearly two years ago at Chattanooga State. Joe was on fire during the “Sadder Day” solo and Chris nailed “Phony”. Meanwhile, Frank was his normal amazing self and Josh was definitely the energetic drummer that everyone else has been talking about from previous shows. I must also state that “Give Up Town” was the best that I have heard. It is much harder and faster than on the bootlegged demo and it just killed!

This was a great show and I'm sure the Darlings will be getting calls from Chattanooga wanting them to return. Oz from 96.5 The Mountain has already vowed that he is going to play one of their songs next week on his show so make sure you tune in."

Now over to Josh:

First, we had a lot of drama surrounding this show. When we were first booked, the promoter didn't realize that 3/4ths of us were based in Athens, GA. Because he books the “Home Grown” (locals only) show, he had second thoughts about letting us play. Eventually, we convinced him to give us a shot and he stuck with us. We're thankful for that because this show was a blast.

Thanks to tons of promotion and a good bit of radio play, we had a good turn out. We played an hour long set that started around 10:45PM. It was a great feeling to know that the people that were there were right up front drinking and rocking out. It felt great to have fans in a city that the Critical Darlings had never played (Well, not with me!)."

Josh's show ratings:

Musicality @ 95%

Showmanship @ 100%

As for me, I don't know what to say. This was easily one of my favorite shows EVER. I just felt so welcomed and taken care of in Chattanooga. It really does feel like a second home to us and I hope we get to keep on coming back over and over again. Thanks to Dave for making us feel like rock stars from the second we stepped into town and saw that massive article about us in Enigma and to all of you who kept us there signing autographs until time to hit the road. You've made quite an impression on us and I hope we've done the same for you!


Completely biased star reviews of each song performed.

1. The Only Way****
2. Sometimes I'm Sam****
3. Waiting For The Siren****
4. Sadder Day*****
5. Towel Cape Song*****
6. I Know Too Much (For My Own Good)*****
7. Scared Of Myself****
8. I Won't Stand Still****
9. Phony*****
10. Taking Its Toll*****
11. Give Up Town*****

Special thanks to Joey (sound man), Harvest Reaper (Ryan), Midtown Music Hall, Jason and Jeff (thanks so much for switching slots with us, guys. We can't wait for the upcoming shows together), “Boner” from Rock 105.5FM, The WAWL 91.5FM, Dave and Jessica from Enigma Magazine, The Pulse Magazine, Gina, Oz from 96.5FM, Emily from the label, Sarah, Amanda, Laura, Jennifer H., Alice S., Andrew F., Phil C., Kristin, Gina and Dave S.

We had a great time!

If you want more, we'll be back in the area at Pokey's (Cleveland, TN) on June 15!


Photos by Amanda Stahl.