Friday January 2, 2009
(With Futureshock)


 Atlanta, GA









Well, we did it. We're back. And we're not too much worse for the wear.




We hadn't even seen each other (except once) since October 11 when we last performed together. Yet somehow, we went in and pulled out a show that was not only good "considering" but a solid show to be proud of by anyone's standards.

The performance area of
is basically the basement of a non-profit creative arts organization in Atlanta. I'd be lying if I wasn't a little concerned when we walked through the door. As it turns out, the environment couldn't have been more ideal for a band reboot. In fact, when I asked Christy (our hostess) if we could "make some noise" after we set up, she said "Do whatever you want". That's my favorite answer.






Josh, Frank and I started jamming. Joe joined in at some point with some cool, bluesy, jazzy stuff. At some point, I stumbled across a riff that instantly caught Frank's attention and before long, we had all joined in on it. I think I'm going to try to call the song "Wonderroot". We'll see if I can pull off lyrics that might work with that title. Right now, I love it and it's another to add to the handful of new tunes of my own that I'm thrilled about finishing.



It was freezing down there. The door was open beside us with the January wind blowing. Josh and I both kept warming our hands. We were supposed to be the fourth band of five to play but we were ready to go so we went ahead and started. Within a song or two, the place was so packed you could hardly move. It was amazing how fast it got full.

We had no set list or anything so we just "wung" it.     




The ol' default starting of "The Only Way" and "Sometimes I'm Sam" felt a little shaky. Joe's tone was a bit dry and thin sounding right at the start. By the time it improved, the humidity and temperature change from the sudden influx of bodies had knocked Frank way out of tune. Our friend Mary made it in just at the beginning of "Sam". I was happy to see her.

 We hadn't done "Into My View" in a while so that was fun to bring back. The "Something Unseen" ending that we've added is (almost) always fun, too. Maybe we'll have to do it again at the TV recording next week. Who knows?



"Sadder Day" was pretty intense. Joe went wandering a bit during the solo so I did a harmony to a part that wasn't actually being played but I doubt anyone else noticed. I know it was my best performance of the evening, although I think the band as a whole did better on a few of the later ones.

 Joe suggested "Tonight Never Happened" so we did it. See how simple it all can be? It might've been the best live performance of that one ever. I'm not sure but it felt really, really good to me.

 I chose "Waiting For The Siren" next. We probably should've done this after "Phony" but it was played almost perfectly and felt good so I'm not complaining. "I Won't Stand Still" and "Phony" were almost perfect as well. "Phony" rocked. What can I say? Say I'm bragging if you want, but it did. The crowd roar at the end seemed to justify my opinion even if Frank and I collided near the end, effectively knocking me out of tune for a few measures.



Joe brought out "Happy Here And Now" next. This was one of the best performances the quartet has done of it. For some reason, Joe cut out one "Happy Here And Now" during each of the first two choruses. Luckily, Josh, Frank and I caught it and covered it. I don't think anyone else noticed. I was thrilled that a few people (some of which had never even seen us) were singing along. That is good.


Photographer Ken Lackner, who's become a friend of ours, didn't make it until just before "Happy Here And Now" so we added in "Rebel Rebel" to make sure that he got what he needed. I really thought that we might be retiring that song but you know what? Last night was easily the best we've ever done it. So maybe it stays a bit longer.



Overall, I was impressed that all of us managed to get through the show without smashing any of our heads on that super-low ceiling.

(Mary's note: See Chris's awesome chin-up below)





It was good to be back. It was even better to know that despite the major, life-altering changes I've personally been through lately there is something consistent, powerful, fun and life affirming that I can cut loose and enjoy.



Critical Darlings Set List For January 2, 2009
(with Chris' entirely biased "star ratings")

1. The Only Way ***
2. Sometimes I'm Sam ***
3. Into My View / Unseen ****
4. Sadder Day ****
5. Tonight Never Happened ****
6. Waiting For The Siren ****
7. I Won't Stand Still ****
8. Phony ****
9. Happy Here And Now ****
10. Rebel Rebel *****



Thanks to the Futureshock crew for inviting us out. Thanks to everyone that had never seen us who stood there rocking, smiling, getting into it and encouraging the ham in all four of us. Thanks to Jonathan and Christi from Wonderroot. I hope we get to come out and see you again soon.
















All pictures by Amanda McKay. Copyright 2009.