Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings

Thursday May 1, 2008

40 Watt Club

Athens, GA


As you may remember, our "quiet one", Josh is beginning to come out of his shell. As further evidence of claimed fact, here's his first-ever blow-by-blow show report.

Now over to Josh:

"Don your dirtiest AC/DC T-shirt, rev up the old truck, and head down to your closest firework stand, for this is a moment worthy of cheap sparklers and 99 cent bottle rockets!

This, my Darling friends, is my first show report; I being Joshua Harrison, the Critical Darlings' very own drummer and, coincidentally, lover of all things Funky. Not to be confused with Frank DeFreese, our retro stylin' fashion guru, who is so funky that he was actually born wearing skin tight, plaid polyester pants. No, it is I, the man in the back, the lurker of the drum-kit that speaks to you now.


May 1, 2008 was a very special day for two reasons:

1 – It marked my very first time playing at the 40 Watt!

2 – As if that wasn't already sweet enough, take this on for size. It was my man Frank's birthday. Here is how it all went down.

5:45 pm - I race into Downtown, Athens. With wheels screeching, I blazed down to the 40 Watt. I thought I was going to be late for the Darlings' sound check! You see compadres, this was to be an amazing night. It was a benefit show filled with wonder. We were playing with Birds & Wire, Blue Flashing Light and the Ice Cream Socialists. ALL the money went to aid the Red Cross.

So I get there and see there is no drum kit set up. In case you are unaware, knowing whether or not I have to play my own kit, play someone else's kit, bring only some of my kit, bring my kit and not be able to play it, or have to build one from river wood…is the most annoying dilemma I face at every show. Luckily, some guys from BFL were there with their drummer's kit. Adam was frantically trying to put together the kit for the sound checks since the drummer wasn't there! I stepped in to help them out, plus I even improved a drum part for one of their songs so they could check.

The stage sound was alright, but circumstances allowed me to be the only Darling to sound check that night. (Note from Chris: To be truthful, we probably needed soundcheck the least.)


6:30 ish: Frank, Gina, Emily, Joe, and I go to celebrate the birth of our bass playin' homo-sapien. The amber glow of beer doth flow into our chalices, and all was merry. Afterwards we parted ways, every man and woman choosing the best way to get ready for the massive rock bomb we were going to drop upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of our Greece inspired town.

10 pm: Birds & Wire began the show with a pleasant, enchanting set of melodic folksy/jazzy/ light rock. All was well. We had all been worried about turnout in a college town during finals because the show was to begin at 9 and at that prescribed time, the crowd consisted 100% of people made out of antimatter. By 10, I noticed that somehow, quite a few people made of matter had appeared, giving us eager faces to potentially rock off.

Backstage, Amanda used her sly skills to take some posed (but not too posed) pictures. Check them out in our photo album, candid and promo pic sections!

11pm: The time had come for Chris, our bad-ass-song-writing-genius leader to take us into combat. Joe (our axe-wielding-guitar-god-nice-as-hell guy), Frank (our bass- thumping-connoisseur of beer and fast women) and myself mounted the stage and did what we do.

Because few words have the power to explain the Critical Darlings and what the people in the audience were about to experience, we simply began to play. It's like trying to explain what an atomic bomb explosion looks like to someone that's never seen one. You just can't do it. Mid show, Emily presented Frank with a clown painting we had all chipped in for, while a circus tune erupted from Joe's fiery fingers. A moment of pause, like the calm before the storm, and the Darlings charged on.


Though we ran into technical difficulties (a.k.a. bass strings and chords not being worthy enough to be touched by hands so manicured) (Note from Chris: not to mention a little too much celebratory wobbliness on stage right), it was a great show.

There is always room for improvement. And believe me, the Critical Darlings will never stop getting better until the end of our days. That's why any show you see will be massive, but never as good as one you'll see later on. Evolution is key.



Afterwards, we all hung out backstage and partied it up like the rockstars we try to be, while BFL took on the stage. I'm sorry to say that I didn't stay to see the Ice Cream Socialist, but I wished them a great show in spirit.

That, my friends, is my first show review. More to come in the future. Keep an eye on the myspace page because it is in a constant state of being updated. Watch out for a show near you, because we all need to take a moment in our lives to put on our tightest shirt, take a deep breath, and be rocked utterly to oblivion!"



Athens, GA Set List

(with Chris’ totally biased ratings for the evening)

1. Scared Of Myself ****
2. The Only Way****
3. Waiting For The Siren****
4. Sadder Day***
5. Rage On****
6. Phony****
7. Towel Cape Song***