Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings

Saturday March 15, 2008

Midtown Music Hall

Chattanooga, TN


Here’s the official Ides Of March ’08 show report from none other than "Captain Fingers", Joe Orr! Take it away, Joe! Thanks to Dave, Crawfish Gordon and the whole Midtown staff for having us out again and keeping Chattanooga one of our favorite places to play!


"The Critical Darlings Saturday made the 3+ hour trip to Chattanooga in three separate vehicles - Frank&me, Chris&Amanda, Josh&Gina. We all left the greater Athens area around 2:00 - 3:00 in the afternoon so as to take our time, get there early, and profile with our Tennessee posse.*

On the way, Frank&me encountered scattered rain, intermittent showers, cloudy skies with alternating periods of scattered showers and intermittent rain. We listened to a scattered, alternating assortment of intermittently bad music from my collection of mix CD’s. We stopped at Wendy’s where Frank purchased a Spicy Baconator Triple Cheddar Deluxe with tons of mayo**. I opened the window to allow the steam from the sandwich to escape into the atmosphere, whereupon a fly entered the vehicle, laid its eggs, deposited its feces and flew back out. It was Amityvillesque. But ah, ’twas a harbinger of Spring!







Frank and I were to meet Emily at a hotel room she had secured through one of her connections. But we took a wrong turn which turned out to be a right turn since we had an opportunity to shoot 0:07 of footage featuring some choice Chattanooga graffiti on the Band Camera.

Emily & Sarah greeted us at the room. After kicking it for 30 minutes with Sarah plunking on my acoustic, we decided to take a field trip to Walgreen’s for some nasal decongestant, Easter candy, cosmetics and other necessities. The sun was out and the air was breezy & pleasant. We walked over a bridge spanning the scenic Tennessee River and enjoyed the sights and smells of Chattanooga in mid-March, late afternoon.





Back at the hotel, Lord, we had such a mess.*** Realizing it was after 7:00, it was decided that solid communication with the others and a rendezvous time for sound check needed to be established. My feeble attempts at delaying our arrival for sound check and prolonging our respite at the hotel were met with incredulous dismissal. So off we went to the venue, Midtown Music Hall.

When we got there at 7:30 or so, Crawfish Gordon, the headlining jam-cover-band-with-two-drummers, were beginning to set up on stage. After 2 hours of set-up and sound checks, we had another 30-45 minutes to hang around before we went on. That’s 3+ hours of killing time at the ol’ watering hole (with a $25 open bar tab for the band).



Meanwhile the place had started to fill up. We wound up chatting with Willie, a dyed-in-the-wool rocker who works in the kitchen. He said he totally dug our 3-song sound check,****based on which he said we were "the only band I’ve ever liked" that’s played there (wow!!?).

By the time we went on at about 10:15, there was a good crowd of 125+ people. We opened with "The Only Way" and swaggered through a brilliant set featuring material from both the C’mon, Accept Your Joy and Satisfactionista albums. Along with the usual fare, we played "I’ll Be Fine", "Tonight Never Happened" and "Into My View" (featuring a 16-bar lead vocal cameo by yours truly and the first ever live performance of the guitar-duel from "Something Unseen" at the end.).



 The highlight for me was when Chris tore up "Phony", quite apparently putting the crowd gathered in front of the stage into Darling shock.***** We finished with "Taking Its Toll" into "Give Up Town."

Our collective appearance was typically dapper, although perhaps slightly more subdued than usual. On the dapper side, there’s exhibit F, Frank, who rocked what appeared to be embossed tan pants with a muted paisley motif, and a pale yellow shirt depicting myriad visages of gods, heroes, demons, cherubs, kings, princes, slaves, lovers, fools and masters. Or something like that. I only sort of briefly glanced at it.

As for Josh, J-Funk, The Bomb, he got all psyched when they played a few Primus songs just before we took the stage. Considering that he was somewhat relegated to the shadows, squashed along the backline of gear to the left-rear-of-center and playing on one of the other band’s two drum kits, he kept it tight and played great.


Over the last couple shows, we’ve been seeing a pattern emerge at the conclusion of our third-to-last song of the night. To paraphrase, it goes something like this:

Soundman: "You have one more song ".

Critical Darlings: "No, we actually have two more songs."

Not a big deal, you just want to avoid being "tripped up rounding third", as they say in baseball. We haven’t been yet, but it’s a long season!

Crawfish Gordon and everybody at Midtown Music Hall last night was very supportive and good to us. We made some new friends and kept the old, we survived the long ride home, and now it’s on to the studio for the final week of recording and mixing Satisfactionista.


Now to Joe’s notes:

* Emily&Sarah

** Frank hates mayo

*** It wasn’t really a mess; I just always wanted to say that

**** "Colors in Black & White" (twice), "Until Til The Road Ends," "Look Back In Anger"

***** a medical condition in which the uninitiated rock fan stands there in utter amazement over the fact that that sound is coming out of those guys. It can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Note: all or most of the above account may or may not include, or consist partially or entirely of, falsehoods, fabrications, understatements, exaggeration, half-truths, deception by inclusion/exclusion and/or omission/commission, and/or simply the twisted fancy of one confused individual. Any likeness or similarity to persons, living or deceased, places, events or things, real or imaginary, are strictly coincidental. This content is intended for mature audiences and is for entertainment purposes only. The views and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Joe Orr or any member, advertiser or affiliate of Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings. Misuse by deliberately concentrating or inhaling the contents is a violation of applicable laws."





Chattanooga, TN Set List

(with Chris’ totally biased ratings for the evening!)

1. The Only Way****
2. Sometimes I’m Sam****
3. Into My View / Unseen****
4. Sadder Day****
5. Tonight Never Happened***
6. Rage On****
7. Towel Cape Song****
8. Waiting For The Siren****
9. Scared Of Myself****
10. I’ll Be Fine**
11. I Won’t Stand Still****
12. Phony****
13. Pigs On The Wing (Pt. 1)****
14. Taking Its Toll****
15. Give Up Town****