Before you could say convenient lapse in time, it was five minutes to ten o'clock in the night. The partygoers were now all smashed, except anyone who would be performing music that night (with the exception of Ric, who was now sobering up pretty rapidly). Sarah was beginning to wander round and inform people of the impending event, and as such Brad was finding it hard to get down to the basement for a slight bit of warming up. John was already down in the basement, watching people as they drifted in, trying to ignore yells of You suck! from the drunken crowd. He couldn't see Elle anywhere, but assumed she would be down soon. Coincidentally, however, he glimpsed Jess towards the back of the crowd, who was unable to return his wave due to her not seeing it.
The room was filling up fast, and Brad had managed to get behind the drum kit, which was currently being lightly tapped. He was starting to feel slightly sick when looking out at the ever-increasing crowd. He focused on the drums instead.
Eventually everyone had made their way down to the dark, dry room. It was a bit crowded, but that was to be expected really. John could make out vague shapes at the front of the crowd that looked like their rival' band, probably making sure their equipment didn't get trashed. Like that was going to happen anyway. It'd be used for five minutes, and then passed on to people who knew what they were doing. John rolled his eyes at the thought, and decided to double check his guitar was tuned.
Sarah closed the door to the basement, then pushed her way through the crowd to get to the front. If it were any other person, it would've been a difficult task, but as it was Sarah people practically threw themselves out of the way to let her through. She was just that amazing. Brad watched this and felt another pang of guilt. He hit himself to take his mind off it.
When she reached the front, Sarah grabbed the microphone and cleared her throat, which silenced the room somehow. She smiled, did a little hair flick, and spoke into the mic.
The male population of the crowd whooped, cheered and cried out in joy at the sound of her voice. She smiled. Sometimes her power was very useful indeed.
So as you know, we have some wonderful music being played for you right now. So first up, give it up for
She looked round to John, who had now decided to replace his fear of the upcoming performance with a general hatred to everything, in an attempt to mask how scared he was. He practically growled the bands name to her. Sarah smiled and fluttered her eyelashes, but to no avail. John merely glared at her harder for forgetting the name. Sarah span back to the crowd.
The Textbook Criminals!
She clicked the microphone back into place on the stand and moved swiftly away. There were a few cheers, but mostly people stood silent and crossed their arms. A minute passed, and nothing happened. Members of the crowd started jeering. People began talking. John sat on his amp looking pissed off. Brad was slightly confused, but mostly annoyed.
Ric was nowhere to be seen.
Upstairs, Ric was asleep on a beanbag. He was having a wonderful dream. He was playing a basement gig, and all his friends were there watching him and cheering. John was an expert at guitar, Brad was pounding away on the drums in a hypnotic beat, and Ric was singing in a silky smooth voice.
Suddenly, Ric disappeared. The crowd stopped cheering and started laughing and booing instead. Bottles were thrown, and the remaining members of the band were sat with glum looks feeling quite embarrassed about the whole situation.
Ric jerked awake and found himself directly in the face of a young girl who was seen by most people as quite weird. Her head was cocked to one side in a quizzical manner, and her glasses were beginning to slide off her face. She didn't smile.
Aren't you going to watch the music? I hear it's quite good.
Ric stared right back in her face, processing the words. Music. Bands. Something about this seemed odd. Like
In the speed it takes a man to click his fingers, Ric had pushed himself up and the girl out of the way. It took mere seconds to reach the basement door, and he practically jumped down the stairs and into the crowd of people. People complained as he pushed them out of the way, and emerged at the front of the crowd in what could only be described as the stage area. John looked severely miffed, and Brad was idly tapping the hi-hat. Ric made his presence known and John glared at him.
Where the f*** have you been?
Ric smiled nervously. The last time John had been this annoyed, Ric had been punched in the stomach for saying something stupid. He took the risk anyway.
Catching some zee's upstairs. Now come on, let's rock this thing!
Ric span round, managing to avoid the two-finger salute John was currently offering him. He grabbed the microphone and ripped it away from the stand, practically shouting into it when he spoke.
The crowd quieted, and someone whistled. Another yelled an obscenity, while others commented on the lateness of the performance. Ric let it run its course before he spoke again.
As I'm sure you're aware, we are the Textbook Criminals, and we're gonna play some songs! Hit it Brad!
Brad, who was now digging into his pocket for his iPod, snapped into action and did indeed hit it. He did a quick solo and stopped, where John took his cue to begin Fell in Love With A Girl. Brad joined in again, managing to keep in perfect time with John. Ric jumped in with the lyrics as John began the chords again.
Fell in love with a girrrrl, I fell in love once and almost completely
The crowd seemed uninterested to begin with. As the band reached the chorus, one or two people began to tap their feet. Someone started singing along during the second chorus. As the band reached the close, people had begun to loosen up, and were nodding along.
On the band side of the event, everything was going smoothly. Brad and John were playing in perfect time, and Ric's singing was more passable than usual. Overall it was a good first performance, which was strange, given the nerves everyone in the band felt. None of them dwelled on this thought.
John slammed the last chord, and a smattering of applause came from the crowd. One person cheered, but upon realising he was the only one, gave up pretty rapidly. Ric put his arm high in the air in a manner that suggested thanks, but the crowd mistook for wanting silence. John laughed at his expense. Ric ignored this and carried on with the show.
Alright! Thank you! Now, we have a very special treat for you. This is one of our own songs!
More people cheered this time, the alcohol kicking in again. The members of the band with the forgotten name looked unimpressed. Probably because they were sober.
This one you can probably guess the name of, since it's got one line. And that one line, ladies and gents?
Ric took a large breath, and screamed.
John and Brad exploded into action, playing loud, hard and fast. Ric fell about laughing as usual, but turned off the microphone so none of the crowd would notice. The crowd stood bemused, some people laughing, others beginning to get riled up. John slammed the same chord over and over, but grew bored and started to mix it up a bit with other chords. Brad messed with some fills, but mostly stuck to the smashing of the cymbal. Ric began to jump around in front of all this, which got some of the gathered folks to start moving too. A moshpit formed for a brief moment.
John and Brad slowed down and quieted. The crowd began to cheer, everyone one of them, save for the sour faced Average Joes, who stood, arms crossed, all in a line, staring at the Textbook Criminals. Ric had no intention of letting this end just now. He wheeled round and grabbed a guitar for himself, plugging it into a spare amp. One of the other band began to protest, but Brad gave him a look that shut him up pretty quickly. John was feeling full of energy now, and looked at Ric with a smile. Ric nodded, and mouthed something about taking rhythm. John geared himself up for a solo, while Ric took another breath and screamed into the mic again.
The crowd laughed again, and began to jump up and down on the spot, as is the done thing. Ric took over the playing of chords, a skill he had developed through a lack of desire to learn anything other than power chords. John began to shred, keeping everything high and squealy to give the most obnoxiously loud sound he possibly could. Brad stuck to thrashing around, loving every second of it.
Laura stared at the band in awe. The song was abysmal, everyone knew that. She was sure that last line had been made up just now, and it was common knowledge that Ric was a poor guitar player. Yet all these people were jumping and shouting and loving it. An energy pulsed through the crowd, carried to them by the noise of two amps cranked high and an acoustic drum kit. Every single person in the room was bouncing around, bar Brad (for obvious reasons) and the five members of a band no one in the room could remember the name of.
Brad decided to stop thrashing on the cymbals, instead thumping the bass drum repeatedly. John heard the change in drums and slipped back to playing one low chord. Ric saw this happen and joined in. The band was working together like never before. The crowd calmed down a bit, waiting for the next explosion. Ric grinned in an almost evil fashion at them, and shouted a countdown.
THREE! TWO! ONE!
Ric and the crowd all took a huge breath and screamed in unison.