Wednesday April 6, 2011


Play For Japan Benefit

(With Kite To The Moon, Michael Guthrie Band,

The Shut-Ups and Monahan)


Melting Point
Athens, GA



By Chris McKay





This was supposed to be the new beginning. 

Things don’t always work out as planned. There had been a few issues between other members of the band that had started during our video shoot at Live From The Classic City a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t even told about them until later. By this time, I was made aware and, unfortunately, those issues had spread.

Even so, we all pulled together and did the best we could. And that was pretty good. It was the first time in public for Alex, Kate and I. And it was the first time for all of us with Mark Crowley on bass and Robert Caruthers on guitar.

For the past couple of years, the Critical Darlings have been me (and Frank) with pick-up bands. I had hoped to get rid of that feeling, but honestly, it still kind of felt that way tonight. Despite that, I was just so happy to be playing again and satisfied to know that the Darlings can survive and apparently will.





I was a bit nervous since we had to debut the new lineup by following one of my personal idols, Michael Guthrie. Coincidentally, Ash Miltiades is the bass player for the Michael Guthrie Band. I had been playing with him in The Pretty Please. I had no idea that I would get my wish and have him as a member of The Critical Darlings within a month.

I think we did just fine. It was a little slow going at first, but once we dug into “Hold On” for the very first public outing, it was feeling good. Even though the backup vocals (and the mic) were on the wrong side of the stage and not what we’d rehearsed, the song held up. The addition of Kate on keys and vocals was obviously a good one. And Alex was the MVP of the band tonight in my opinion.

Both “Waiting For The Siren” and “Worms On The Pavement” made me happy. Finally, after all these years, the keyboards were in there and giving us that extra lushness for the first song and the extra darkness on the latter.

And speaking of darkness, we closed out with “You Belong To Me”. I had done it once before with The Spinoffs, but this was the first Critical Darlings performance. In many ways, it was the weakest song tonight, but it still made its point. I was satisfied with the gig and afterwards, Michael Guthrie told me that he felt like we stole the show.

Considering the amazing line-up, that was an incredible compliment. I don’t believe it, but I wish I could. This is the first show with this many bands that I’ve ever been on where I loved each one. We were all complimentary without being redundant. And to see some of the people out there in the audience who I’ve followed and been in the audience for their shows over the years made it feel even more special.

It was clear that this lineup wasn’t THE lineup yet, but we were well on the way and that issue didn’t last long.

Special thanks to Michael Guthrie for inviting us out to play this great benefit show and to Kemp Jones from the MGB for saving us when we had issues with our keyboard. Thanks also to Kevin Sweeney for that sweet mix and the recording of the show. We hope to see you again soon.

To read the preview for the show that was featured in Athens, Georgia's Red And Black, click here.


Critical Darlings set list for April 6, 2011




1. The Only Way
2. Sadder Day
3. Hold On
4. Waiting For The Siren
5. Worms On The Pavement
6. You Belong To Me



See all of the photos from this show by visiting the Facebook photo gallery.

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