"Would you help me out here already? This shit's f*cking heavy!"
"Yeah yeah, just let me finish my cig first, alright?"
Brian was struggling to get his newly acquired Fender halfstack up the short wooden staircase and in through the back door of The Town Tavern. His face was beet red, and he was starting to sweat in the 90 degree July heat, and the fact that kevin was basically just standing there watching him while he took a smoke break wasn't exactly helping. It was about 7 pm, 2 hours before their gig, and it was still hotter and muggier than a witch's taint outside. Denise, the head bartender, had paid them $250 in advance to play a four hour set list, which they sprinkled the covers heavily on with a dash of originals. They were allowed three 15 minute breaks to use whenever they wanted to recharge a little bit to be able to continue the massive set, and they fully planned on taking advantage of them.
Finishing his cigarette, Kevin casually made his way over to help Brian out, and they managed to get the halfstack along with Kevin's Marshall amp in the back door. Once they got everything set up, there was nothing to do but wait for the other band members to show up. That, and get a nice buzz going before the show. While waiting for Special K to show up with his drums and Rob and Rich to come with their equipment, they sat at the bar and ordered a drink or five. They were about halfway through their third beer when Brian received a call from Special K letting him know he was outside. They both chugged the remainder of what was in their bottles and made their way outside to help him bring his drum set in.
Since both Rob and Rich were under 21, they had no reason to be there until about a half an hour before the set started and by the time they arrived there were already a decent amount of people in the bar, maybe 100 or so. It seems their reputation had spread like they hoped from the small backyard parties and coffe house gigs they had played over the last few months. There was a myriad of people in the bar, from old heads to the usual bar sluts to a few bikers, even what appeared to be a transvestite. One of the bikers had a girl with him that had caught Kevin's eye, and he was doing an inordinate amount of staring, so much so that Brian noticed, and unfortunately so did her biker boyfriend. He kept giving Kevin dirty looks from across the rectangle shaped bar, and every time he and Kevin locked eyes Kevin would quickly look away to make it look like he wasn't staring.
It was about 10 minutes to 9 when they finally got all their stuff set up and began their soundchecks and made sure they were all in tune. Upon hearing the sound of guitars tuning, the entire bar turned towards the band and gradually got quieter, their chatter turning to a murmur. A few people made their way onto the dance floor between the bar and the stage area that the band was set up on with their drinks in hand, anxiously waiting for them to start. When they finally keyed up the mics, the entire bar got quiet.
"Alright, f*ckers. We're The Truth, and we're gonna rock you so f*cking hard your parents are gonna feel it! Kick it, boys!"
Rob screamed the last sentence into the mic and the bar practically exploded when brian launched into the opening riff to Master of Puppets. It got off to a shaky start but by the time Kevin and Special K fully came in with their parts, about half the bar had moved to the dance floor and were starting to headbang more and more as the song went on. Instead of fading out they decided to stop the song abuptly on the open E chord at the end and the whole band froze in their different power stances. They stood in silence for about two seconds before the bar erupted ina frenzy of cheers, hoots and hollers.
They quickly launched into their cover of Motorhead's "Overkill" and it only served to drive the crowd even more nuts. People were darting off the dance floor and right back again to put their drinks down to get in on the small mosh pit that was starting to form no more than 5 feet in front of the band. The whole bar was in a state of near chaos by the time Rob came in with the 1st verse.
"Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud! So good I can't believe it screaming with the crowd! Don't sweat it, get it back to you! Don't sweat it, get it back to you!"
As he sang the last 2 lines of the 1st verse, Rob held the mic out towards the crowd, and a decent number of people knew the words to sing along. The bar was pretty much out of control at this point and they were only 2 songs into their 4 hour set. The only way they knew how to bring it under control was to slow it down for the third song, and after only a few seconds of discussing it with each other after Overkill, they decided that what the crowd needed to hear to properly calm down was some Alice In Chains, and they chose to play the live acoustic version of Nutshell.
Throughout the night they sped it up and slowed it down multiple times, going from Lamb of God to Bob Marley, then to Godsmack and slowing it back down with some Candlebox. The rest of the set went along those lines, and the rest of the 4 hours seemed to fly by for almost the entire band, except for Kevin. Brian noticed that his playing was sloppy, which was unusual as he was pretty much always dead on with his playing. Every few minutes he would notice that Kevin would look up at the biker's girlfriend, but what he noticed more was the biker getting visibly irritated. The last song they decided to play was "Destroy Everything", by Hatebreed. They let the last note ring out for a minute or so before having Special K finish with an insane drum roll and ending on him smashing down on his hi-hat and crash cymbals.
An hour or so later the band was left with the task of helping to clean up the Tavern, as the frenzy they had whipped the crowd into had effectively served to make a gigantic mess of the bar. Both broken and unbroken beer bottles lay strewn about with most of them on the bar counter. A significant amount had made it to the floor, making the dance floor look like a puddle made of broken glass. There were blood stains and vomit piles in rather strategic spots. Brian looked at one and remembered some guy getting drunk off his ass and confronting one of the bikers about something, promptly receiving a swift left hook to the nose. This caused him to stumble backwards, trip, and fall face first onto the top of the bar.
The bouncer was swift to act even through the crowd of people that were almost shoulder to shoulder and proceeded to pick the man up and almost chuck him out the front door. It took them a good 2 hours, but they eventually got everything back in order. Amazingly no bar property had been broken, only beer bottles, egos, and possibly a few bones here and there. It was almost last call when they finished up (3 am), and the only ones left in the bar were a few groupies and a couple of the bikers, including the one who's girlfriend Kevin had been eying up the whole night. Rob and Rich left as soon as everything was cleaned up as they couldn't stay due to being under the legal drinking age.
Kevin tapped Brian on the shoulder as he rummaged around in his pockets for something. "Hey, man, I'm gonna go smoke a J before I leave, you wanna come outside with me?
"Nah, I'm good. We still gotta get our amps cleaned up too, so don't take forever."
"I'll be quick about it, don't worry."
Kevin then made his way out the back door, lighting up his joint as soon as he stepped outside and out of sight of the bouncer. Jess had arrived about an hour before their set had finished due to work not letting her out early, and Brian spun around on his bar stool to talk to her. What he didn't see when he turned to face her was the biker sneaking out the back door. They chatted for about a half an hour, before Jess brought up the subject of her helping the band out.
"So did you ask the band about me helping out?" Jess took a sip from he beer and set it on the bar top.
"I mentioned it to Rob, but he didn't seem too happy about it. I haven't had a chance to talk to the other guys yet."
"But you will, right?"
"Yeah, definitely. As soon as I get the chance I'll talk to them about it." This was a bold faced lie. Brian didn't really have any intention of talking to Rich, Special K, or Kevin about having Jess help out managing the band. He had given ample time to think about what Rob said and now tended to agree with him on the issue.
"Speaking of Rob, here he comes now." Jess was facing the back door and watched Rob bolt in, practically knocking over two people in the process.
Brian turned to Rob and immediately noticed something was wrong. His black Lamb of God shirt was ripped in multiple places, his nose was bleeding, and he was drenched in sweat with his face turning beet red.
"Rob, what is it? What's wrong?"
Through labored, quick breaths, Rob attempted to explain why he was so worked up. "It's....ke....kevin! Th...they...f*ck. Just come...out back! And call...911!"
"What the f*ck are you talking about, man?" Brian asked Rob and was getting genuinely scared as he had never seen his friend this scared himself.
Rob didn't bother to answer and bolted out the back door with Brian and Jess hot on his heels. The 1st thing Brian noticed was the bikers pulling out of the dirt and gravel parking lot, and the second thing he noticed was Kevin lying face down in the mud with a switch blade sticking straight out of his back, the blood flowing liberally, soaking his red Hatebreed shirt.