Friday March 20, 2009





40 Watt Club
Opening for The Rattlers

Athens, GA


Review by Joshua Harrison



On March 20, 2009 the Critical Darlings saddled the rock stallion once again at the fabulous 40 Watt in Athens, Georgia. The Rattlers, all local boys from here in GA, would be closing the night out with their own blend of southern blues-rock.

Though the Darlings were worn out from the show the night before, we found a new strength kindled from the amazing fans we met at Legion Field. After having just met them, we did our best to get as many of them as possible onto the guest list for this show. That’s what it’s like to be part of the Darling Family. We take care of you.




 Prepping the stage for the show began at 5PM. I was the first Darling on the scene so I carried in my drums and watched The Rattlers bring in their gear. While I was waiting I got the opportunity to meet all of them, Tracy, Matt, Kevin, and Woody. They were all great guys. After all the Darlings showed up we waited and watched to see what we were up against. We happened to notice that there was a different sound guy than before, and that was somewhat worrisome. Personally for me, my biggest worry has to do with what I’m supposed to do about the drums. Do I play the other drummer’s kit? Do I sacrifice stage space for the rest of the Darlings by playing my kit out front? Fortunately, Woody was cool about moving his kit off the stage. (Thanks again, man. You don’t know how much I appreciate it). Things took a while to work for our sound check. Our usual 1 and a half song sound check drug on to around 4 or 5 songs. It all worked out well, though. The sound was even better than the last time we played there for me.

Around 7PM, we all split ways to don our best “rock wear.” I met up with Gina, another member of the Critical Darlings Family, who had traveled from Asheville, North Carolina to see us. Everyone got themselves pumped up for the show in their own way. My way usually involves listening to Primus, jumping up and down, and then having a cheap beer with Frank at the show. The jumping up and down must be done before the drinking…if you catch my drift. In addition, a Primusless Joshua is a sad and empty Joshua.

Around 10PM I reconvened with the rest of the band at the 40 Watt. We met up with a few of our new fans from Legion Field plus a few of our loyal ones that we hadn’t seen in a while. After having a beer with Frank, we went backstage and prepped ourselves for the show. It is backstage that the rock gods and goddesses lift their lightening bolt crackling togas to spray rock stars with “swagger juice” from their loins. With our thirst quenched, we were ready to rock the 40 Watt.



Set list for the evening:


1. The Only Way
2. Sometimes I'm Sam
3. Into My View / Unseen
4. Sadder Day
5. Towel Cape Song
6. Worms On The Pavement
7. Tonight Never Happened
8. Rage On
9. Phony
10. Waiting For The Siren
11. Scared Of Myself
12. Happy Here And Now
13. Rebel Rebel

Afterwards we jumped off stage and took pictures with Kristen and Stephanie, our new friends. We all stayed to watch The Rattlers play. Being a Stevie Ray Vaughn fan, I particularly liked Matt’s playing. Before the evening ended, they called Chris up to play guitar. I was blown away. Later, Chris would say that he couldn’t hear what he was playing, but you would have never known. One song turned into two, and the evening ended with Chris rocking out with The Rattlers.

Overall, the night was great fun. We met new people, got invited to play more dates with the Rattlers, and played a decent show. No band could ask for more. Next up, Charlotte, North Carolina!

Thanks, Josh.

Now, a note from Chris:

I want to thank The Rattlers and the Fabulous 40 Watt yet again. As most know, I’m not one to get up onstage and jam. I think I’ve only done that once or twice in my life (okay, 2 that I can remember). Tonight, Tracy and Matt pulled me up stage and wanted me to join in on Drivin’ & Cryin’s “Honeysuckle Blue”. That might’ve been okay if I’d known the song. I didn’t. But they talked me into it and I trusted them. I think what pushed me over the edge was when Matt started playing the riff to Q-Sign’s “Pepper”. If he knew my stuff from that far back, I gotta do it. It was fun. They shouted chords to me and we got through. I even had a solo thrust upon me. One song turned into two and the night ended up with a fairly stomping version of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World”. I hope we get a chance to do it all again!



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Wanna see more pics of Chris McKay and The Critical Darlings at 40 Watt? Click here!















All photographs by Amanda McKay. Copyright 2009.