Tuesday February 10, 2009

The Caledonia Lounge
Athens, GA





A Rambling, Tangential, Mostly Irrelevant and Wholly Unreliable Account

By Joe Orr





To-do list Tuesday 2/10/09:


That was my day. I took a bath and got dressed. We’d been invited to do the show by Mark Crowley, the bass player from Joker and a fan of the Critical Darlings. Chris, Frank, Joshua and I all were hesitant to accept a Tuesday night show, but in the end we decided to get a little practice in and possibly meet some cool people.

When I arrived at the Wal*Mart auto service department, I was informed it would take an hour-an-a-half to change the oil, service the fuel injection, check the fluids and air filter. It was 10:15 a.m., so I figured I’d still have plenty of time to make it to Sears, order four new tires, and hoof it over to Chris’ house by just after noon as planned.
I strolled through Wal*Mart for a while. I leafed through a Metal Edge magazine, gawked at the abundance of cheesy Hanna Montana, High School Musical and Jonas Brothers crap, checked out the guns and ammo, gripped a big aluminum bat, and checked out the camping gear. Then I wandered back into the waiting area and picked up a copy of The National Enquirer. Yuck.

Seated in the waiting room were a woman and her little daughter. The child was adorable - a tiny version of the rapper Xzibit, with pig tails and flip flops. Every once in a while she would say something in her little baby voice. At one point she looked at her mother and said, “I love you”. That made my day!

I wound up getting out of there just before 1:00. I cruised over to Sears and ordered four new tires. Then, carrying my 4-track recorder and the guitar effects pedal board Chris had loaned me, I traversed the expansive Georgia Square Mall parking lot. I reckoned there’d be a tidy little path through the hedgerow between the mall parking lot and the McKay residence. No such luck. With my burden aloft, I slid my ass down a steep embankment into a briar-choked wash. Then I negotiated a thicket and stepped into the sunlight pretty close to where Chris lives.


Chris was able to set up a program on the pedal board where I could access a few effects I wanted in order to augment my live sound. Then he kindly transferred parts of a song I’d been working on from cassette to disc. While listening to it, he noted that some of my ideas were Beatle-ish, which suited me fine considering that they went on to enjoy a pretty good career as musicians, or so I’ve heard. You see, there are a lot of 5th graders running around out there who know more about the Beatles than I do...



My father, who was a fan of Buddy Holly and The Crickets, Jerry Lee Lewis et al during the 50’s and 60’s, has told me that, when The British Invasion came to America, he was horrified. He thought it was the end of the world, and had no interest in it whatsoever. My mother, who used to listen to the Motown stations as a teenager in New Jersey, liked the Rolling Stones but wasn’t particularly keen on The Beatles.

When I was very small, my family had an 8-track player. I remember climbing the bookcase like a monkey and figuring out how to turn it on and operate the tape player. There were several cartridges featuring Elvis, Ray Charles, assorted “girl groups” and other American “oldies”, along with Jim Croce’s greatest hits, The Nutcracker Suite, and an 8-track of Middle-Eastern belly dancing music. I played them all nonstop, especially the Middle-Eastern one. No Beatles.

At one point my parents bought Billy Joel’s “The Stranger”. I knew the whole thing by heart. My big brother and I thought we were rocking out. The only records they bought us were book-and record stories featuring the adventures of The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, Dracula, Batman and Star-Trek. My imagination feasted on that. Oh, and a Winnie The Pooh record, which my brother and I despised and completely ignored.

After I was 5 or 6, I got into FM radio. WPST in Trenton, WCAU FM in Philadelphia, and K-Rock in New York. Popular music. The Beatles? They were just another band, on equal footing with Kiss, ELO, Rick James, Joan Jett, Rod Stewart, The Cars and everyone else. And by that time they were long since finished, so it’s not like I ever saw them on Solid Gold, Soul Train or Band Stand. The Beatles weren’t any more or less special than anyone else – just another star in a big, beautiful sky. And it was all SO exciting!

During middle school when my brother started bringing home music, I had to sneak into his room to listen to it. So I was a slave to his schedule and to his tastes. And his tastes, while broad, did not happen to include anything by The Beatles besides their version of “Twist and Shout”.

By the time I got to high school, I noticed that some of my friends had an odd fixation with The Beatles, but by that time I was busy studying Hendrix, AC/DC and hard rock. When I had enough money to shop for records, The Beatles never entered the equation. They didn’t belong to me; they were for someone else.





When I rolled out of the mall parking lot that afternoon, my SUV was totally bitchin’ with four new tires and a sparkly exterior. It was shaping up to be a great day, and I had a rock show to go play. In my favorite city in the world, Athens, GA.

The weather was cool but pleasant when the band arrived at the Caledonia around 9:20-ish. During sound check, I hooked up the pedal board to my amplifier but my enthusiasm waned when it unexpectedly threw my amp settings completely out of whack. It would have to wait for another day. Sometimes you just have to roll with it. Rollin’ and Rockin’ are Siamese twins.

By the time the band took the stage at 10:30, there was a pretty decent-sized audience for the Caledonia Lounge on a Tuesday. The 40-minute set was fun, fast-paced and pretty raucous. Because it was a short set as opposed to a mini-concert of 50+ minutes, it lacked the full dynamic bandwidth. But hey, it was The Caledonia on a Tuesday!





The Critical Darlings' set list (as best as I recall it):

1. Colors in Black and White
2. The Only Way
3. I Know Too Much (For My Own Good)
4. Sadder Day
5. Rage On
6. The Towel Cape Song

7. Worms On The Pavement
8. Phony



After the set, The Darlings hung out to chat with the partygoers and listen to the next band, whose name eludes me at the moment. I was the lone straggler for Joker, the third and final band of the evening. Joker is a hard rock band with good songs, great riffs and serious chops. The Critical Darlings would like to thank Joker for calling us out to play, and for a most enjoyable evening. Looking forward to hanging out again.

As for the rest of you, come taste the band next Tuesday night in Atlanta, GA at Ten High with The Sex Slaves. See calendar for all upcoming shows.















All pictures by Amanda McKay. Copyright 2009.