Saturday September 12, 2009


The Independent

Auburn, AL



By Joshua Harrison


Attention! Have the following read to you by an experienced Shakespearian actor or Jack Black. Whichever happens to be around closer. For best results, be inebriated.



The day started like any other day. Two Rock & Roll road warriors packed up their gear, loading skins, axes, and the occasional polyester shirt into the car for the epic journey to come. The one known as Frank DeFreese removed the poisonous asps from his pants in order to sit a little more comfortably on the ride to come. He shelters them there as a tribute to one of his most beloved mistresses, Cleopatra. And for another reason… to show all nonbelievers that he is indeed an utter badass. The other, known as Joshua Harrison, finished styling his locks (as Leo’s are often found doing) and finished off a glass of wine in tribute to Dionysus. The two channeled the spirit of Pan and hit the road in search of mischief.

The sounds of White Zombie and the occasional Mariachi ballad thundered through the speakers, pinned their heads to the seats behind. Dark sunglasses concealed the fiery eyes of the two as they sped down south to Auburn, Alabama. Little was said but you could hear the howl of demons in awe as DeFreese lit up the sky with his god-like abilities on the air guitar. No note was missed. No pinch harmonic befouled. Zeus had to battle back the Titians once more because they threatened to break free to be graced by the presence of DeFreese’s air guitar perfection.

Little of the story remains of what happened when these two pulled into the infamous Q.T. on the way between Athens and Atlanta. But here is what remains in the form of a troubadour’s song.

“The great great great grandsons of Caligula rode in as the sun slipped past its peak. They tore the pavement from the ground in the den of the Lion that never sleeps. Drinking up everything till the owner gasped “No more!” The two left in a sonic quake leaving spent maidens upon the floor.”


The road makes men weary and restless and these two were no exception. Luckily they pulled up to the doors of the Independent  before causing Armageddon. Being that DeFreese and Harrison tend to have an unquenchable thirst for beer, it was perfect that they were allotted two pitchers each of the finest brew in town. (Well, it was actually Bud Light but on a Game Day such as that day, it was perfection.) Later the two were joined by their valiant leader, Chris McKay and his gorgeous queen, Amanda. The locals were extremely friendly as their local football team was in the process of winning their game. McKay, often astounded by his personal reservoir of knowledge, realized that he knew exactly what was going on in the game. He used his telepathic powers when necessary to make sure that the game stayed in favor of Auburn to keep the Critical Darling’s new friends happy. McKay even stretched his mind, almost to the point of bodily collapse, to aid the Darlings Hometown team, the UGA Bulldogs. Both teams won. McKay quickly walked outside to recover for a moment. His mental acrobatics had caused his head to swell to alien-like proportions. But after a few moments all returned to normal and he swaggered back into the Independent with a smirk.


The Darlings did a sound check during the madness that ensued. All their Auburn friends stampeded through the doors for a post game ritual. They took to the streets intent on sacrifice. Their ritual consists of sacrificing a child and presenting it to its mother. But those bloody days were in the past. The modern, enlightened people of Auburn found a loophole. A way to unite old and new… they TPed a tree. This doesn’t sound that exciting in itself but hear this out. There is a sacred tree that grows just a few blocks from the Independent. Over the years the locals of Auburn have harvested the seeds of this tree and grown a small magical forest in a green house. When the time is right they cut down some of the trees and chop and press and pulverize till there is sacred pulp. Once pressed into sheets of throwable paper they then present the sacred mother tree with its slain child. Ingenious really.


Once they all returned back to the Independent the Darlings were ready to rock. And rock they did. The crowd responded like pre-historic cavemen discovering fire. It warmed their souls. But due to the extreme volume that the Darlings radiated off the stage, many were forced to go outdoors. Some of the  smaller folks had to go into underground bomb shelters because of the risk of being battered against the walls by the raucous rock. After spilling their rock seed onto the stage the Darlings wearily carried away their equipment.  By then Apollo had long since dragged his chariot across the sky. The McKay’s had to go a bit early that day. Amanda was weary from taking pictures like a wild woman and Chris needed sleep for his morning search of the Holy Grail. He dedicates at least a few hours a day searching for the Grail. It’s his way of finding balance in himself. Some use meditation, some use exercise, but McKay quests.


DeFreese and Harrison stayed for a while and then decided to feast at IHOP. You can not imagine the carnage that was delivered by these two upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of Eggs and Bacon Land. You can not imagine the sea of tears that poured from the King of Pancakes as they tore his kingdom to the ground. After that, the two rock warriors were on their way home. DeFreese stayed away just long enough to make some snarky comments about some overly ridiculous R&B music coming through the radio and then he was gone. Harrison drove the rest of the way home with peace of soul.



Set List
1. Until The Road Ends
2. I'll Be Fine
3. Sadder Day
4. Happy Here And Now
5. Worms On The Pavement
6. Waiting For The Siren
7. Scared Of Myself
8. I Won't Stand Still
9. Phony
10. Towel Cape Song


This is Joshua Harrison, the drummer for the Darlings. I wanted to add to my ridiculous and exaggerated tale that the people in Auburn were amazing to us. Especially those running the Independent. You all were very generous and fair to all the bands playing. It’s hard to be a band out on the road not knowing if you’ll even make enough to cover gas for the trip, but at the Independent they take care of you. Thank you.



Click here for more pics of Chris McKay and the Critical Darlings at The Independent.




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All photographs by Amanda McKay. Copyright 2009.