Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings



Saturday March 19, 2005 - Atlanta, GA
Peachtree Tavern
Sun Domingoand Lucas)

This was positively the most difficult show of my life. No, nothing so kind as just being tired or in pain from some sort of injury...I've done those. This was much worse...oof...I hate to even type the poisoning. Yep, you try to deal with that and all of its nasty benefits when having to sing, play lead guitar and pretend to be present of mind. I was dehydrated and out of it after having dealt with the problem for over 12 hours by the time we went on. I almost cancelled but I didn't. And somehow, by some miracle...we pulled it off. But just barely. So while some people that saw us tonight say it was our best show ever, (even if it's true) it'll never be that for me. Oh, I was feeling it alright...but unfortunately "it" was something entirely more unpleasant than usual this evening. This is the third sick show I've done with this band and I have to admit that it was more successful than the last two. We did just fine to the observer's eye. Luckily, I stayed on the verge of passing out and never actually did it. I'm proud of me and I'm proud of the guys for propping me up and making it possible for me to get through it.


We kicked off in our typical way. "Colors In Black & White" sounded pretty good and it was tight. Of course, the second I uttered "seeing" in the first line, everything inside of me decided it was time to evacuate through the upper extremeties. So I cut a couple of lines short but made it through without bringing my own form of colorful pyro to the proceedings. "Until The Road Ends" wasn't quite as dramatic...and that was a good thing. There was a little more rocking. I was fairly static but Tom and Frank did a good job of amping up so I could pace myself more. The response was quite good and the club had filled in nicely. There were probably close to 100 people in the room by this point. Granted, they were all there to see Sun Domingo, but that's the way it should be right now. "Sometimes I'm Sam" was yelled up by Mary-Katherine so we did that. We couldn't decide between that or "(Save It For) Another Day" which we haven't done in a while. Mary Kat chose wisely. "Sam" worked great and even got the dancers up and out on the floor. Next up was "Into My View" which was about average. We bravely segued that into a newbie. We've only done "It's Never The Same" a couple of times ever so pulling it out tonight in a packed club while I was about to collapse felt particularly brave / suicidal. We did it really well and it seems to be going over great so I suspect it'll be showing up more and more. Again, the dancers stuck around through all of these which is a nice feeling...even if it still makes me laugh to myself to see people dance to such depressing songs! Speaking of depressing, I started feeling a little weird again and knew I couldn't sing the "Towel Cape / I Know Too Much" bit so I jumped ahead to "I'll Be Fine." For some reason, I gave a slightly rambling mini-speech about my Dad dying and inspiring the song. Apparently, this party bring down bugged Tom a little bit but I stand by it. I'm not gonna censor myself if I want to say something or am really feeling it. Perhaps because I felt I really had to deliver after my comments we did possibly the best version of "I'll Be Fine" yet. It rocked, it had soul and I forgot about my own problems for a few minutes. After the show Amanda asked me if I was trying to conjure my Dad up to help me through the night...especially since I improved so much so soon afterwards. That was not my intent...but I'd like to think that's what happened anyway.

I jumped back down the set list to try and tackle the two-fer. It was another hard one vocally but again, we got through it. For some strange reason, Frank's brain went on vacation during the chorus of "Towel Cape" so he kind of blew that. Between that and my slight relapse, this was the low point of the night for me. "I Know Too Much" was only slightly better in my opinion but we got a great reply from the crowd at the end of it so I guess it wasn't too obvious. My usual favorite part of the show kept that title tonight. "I Won't Stand Still" woke me up and the eyebrows suddenly appeared...and just in time for "Phony." I only feel bad that my friend Scott Householder left about this time to make another appointment. It's too bad that he only saw the first part as the rest of the show was pretty freakin' good...especially under the circumstances. I was into "Phony" tonight. If for no other reason just because of the frustration that I was feeling about not being at my best. I was able to use that feeling to my advantage for this one. I tore the solo up, I must say...I almost tore my guitar up in the process. I bent the b-string so far that I knocked it out of the cradle. I noticed when it happened and then forgot 'til I lost some notes later but it was worth it. After the show, Edgel from Sun Domingo said that the solo was "wicked sick". Little did he know how appropriate his comment was tonight! Since I was getting into the groove of it, we ditched "Goodbye Tuesday" for "Taking Its Toll" in all its lighter-waving glory. In a fit of eyebrows, I yelled to the guys to slam that into "Give Up Town" like we used to do (we've been not doing it very much lately). Well - now I remember just how much people love that song. "Give Up Town" went over like the proverbial lead balloon and not a single post show well-wisher / congratulator neglected that the "second to last song" was the highlight. So, I guess that song's back for a while. We ended up full force with possibly our best performance of "Creepy Jackalope Eye." Again, it felt appropriate tonight. I was just relieved that the band and I have passed another test. So despite the fact that for me this is one of the worst shows I've ever done - I also know that it was actually one of the best shows we've ever done. What a strange and somewhat satisfying feeling.




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. It's Never The Same****
6. I'll Be Fine****
7. Towel Cape Song**
8. I Know Too Much (For My Own Good)***
9. I Won't Stand Still****
10. Phony****
11. Taking Its Toll****
12. Give Up Town****
13. Creepy Jackalope Eye****


Afterwards, I hung out for awhile despite being totally drained. I'm actually a fan of Sun Domingo and was excited to hear what they're up to. They get so much better each time I see them that I know I'll be impressed...and as jaded as I am, that ain't easy, my friend. Tonight was no exception. In fact, I can honestly say that I've never felt more okay with being blown off the stage than tonight. Sun Domingo pulled 'em in, kept 'em there and wore 'em out. They're the full package and amazing musicians to boot. I feel so lucky to know that our next full-length show will be with them again. If you haven't seen them, don't miss us as we perform together in Athens for the first time on April 2.

Thanks to Matt, Edgel, Sr., Eric, Scott, Barbara, Julia, Mary Katherine and Bradley for your support tonight. I hope we gave you a good time.

Very special thanks to Brian, Edgel, Forrest and Jason...see you in a couple of weeks.


Photos by Amanda Stahl.