I awake from the foggy atmosphere clouding my mind and slowly feel the excitement and anxiety grow from the ostensibly abyssal depths within my body. It's January 15th, 2010. I am seventeen years old today, and I can feel the decay of youth slightly take action as I clamber out of the twin bed, stretch, massage my neck, and head out to the small dining room where my humble family and I will celebrate this day. The dining room is filled with the ambiance of calming excitement, and I feel it radiating towards me. My father and mother, as well as my twin sister celebrating too, inquire curiously and sarcastically if I'm excited for the big day. Although my birthday made this "big day" more sentimental, I was not excited for it being solely my birthday. Today my brutal, harmonic, metal-core band, Fear Among The Enemy, would be performing and opening for a very prestigious and well-known local band.
Fear Among The Enemy. An acronym I so deviously conjured to spell out "FATE". I stare at our name and logo printed on the bottom of the waxy flyer while I devour our repast of a breakfast. The worst bands play first, I thought, from experience. I can't help but to feel my nerves tingle with apprehension as I reminisce of conversation between myself and my band mates imagining what this day would be like. I glance at my glossy, hot pink, custom Hello Kitty bass guitar in the living room and realize I'm about to explode from eating the cheesy breakfast casserole and assorted acidic fruit. I thank my parents and we celebrate our birthday, open gifts, and emphasize the day even more through an ice cream cake with chewy chocolate crumbs inside. As if I could eat anymore, I shrug and scarf a
large slice down, and bear it in mind with the only excuse that I'll "need the energy later". I walk over to my ridiculously "hardcore" bass guitar and run through the fast-paced six song set we had concocted over the past year and a half. I play through the bass lines flawlessly, and in hindsight imagine the pummeling of drums, the roll of the double-bass pedal, the sharp guitar cutting through the track, our vocalist casting sinister, alluring tones by screaming, and my funky melodic bass lines coming together and colliding all at once to produce the stories, lessons, and jokes we've all written and grown together to share.
I'm so ready, I thought.
I drink a heaping glass of water, throw on a pair of skinny jeans, and straighten my disobeying hair.
Let's do this.
I load up the Suburu with my bass guitar and humongous 4 speaker half stack, and am on my way.
I roll into our vocalist's driveway and see my four band mates. The vocalist and lead guitarist are shooting each other repeatedly with toy Nerf guns, while the frustrated drummer and annoyed rhythm guitarist struggle to lug the delicate, expensive, 10 piece drum set from the second floor of the tiny house. Typical. I partake in the burden and bring the others equipment down, and finish by the transfer of my own heavy arsenal into my rhythm guitarist's well kept silver Lexus. We converse and joke and talk about how we'll
coordinate our movements, how the set will transition in between songs, and how we predict the show will go in general. When the excitement and nervousness brewed down to a simmer, we headed out to the show's venue, THE PIT.
We pull up and arrive in two cars, and immediately see a diverse crowd taking shape and lining up to the former strip-club. We all feel the eyes analyze, judge; we know we look young. It's a big show, I thought. We park and start to unload the never-ending music equipment. The scruffy-looking booking agent strides up to us and explains that we need to set up soon, and halfheartedly gives us our long-sought wristbands, which meant we were part of the band
and could enter or exit as we please. Scruffy leaves to attend to other business, and soon enough people start to file in. With the apprehension as a group piling high, we proceed to unload the weighted cars and set up the equipment next to the drab and gray numbered stage door, with an infinite level of nervous excitement.
The sense of reality comes crashing down on us like a tsunami. The ancient stage door opens, and we catch a glimpse of the seemingly growing crowd. There are so many people, I thought.
I recognize high school friends I had invited and remember the flawless run through I had managed to achieve, and suddenly felt a sense of courageous relief. More excited than nervous, despite my trembling band mates, we bring up the equipment through the drab door, and onto the heightened stage. We clumsily fumble with the input cords, and eventually find its place in our guitars, while our drummer complains that his coveted double bass pedal will slide on the stale wood of the stage. We hope for the best, and begin the sound check.
Blinding lights surround us, and I spare myself the attempt to gaze at the potentially unwelcoming crowd. We run through the sound check with the overweight sound director, and tells us we're set to go. Frugal people comment on my hot pink bass guitar. They think I'm not straight, I thought with humor and determination. The lights shut out and the venue is encased in darkness. The clueless crowd stares into the void, waiting for an apocalyptic storm of sound to form. We make our way to our drummer, and confirm and confide with each other that this will be OUR show. We talk about how surprised we have to make everybody be, and how we'll run through the set
like we were at practice. Simple as that. And at that, we continue and face our grinning drummer while he hits the sample pad to begin the intro we had so excitedly created. The sound of music cuts through the darkness. It is ominous and it builds up in its intensity, and finally reaches its peak. A giant bass drop comes crashing through, devastating the audience and leaving them in awe. That was just a sample, I thought with a smirk. I compliment the beastly sound with a bass slide going down in pitch, and we transition into the first song perfectly. We move with violent rhythm in unison as a band, and destroy the breakdown that we had taken so long to time correctly. Already out of breath, but I invigorated and satisfied. Observing the crowd just sparks the origin of pure energy. A roar of applause and screams come from the wild audience after the song concludes, and this only heightens my mood and excitement. With adrenaline coursing through our veins, my band mates and I exchange glances of disbelief. Our vocalist introduces ourselves, Fear Among The Enemy, and the glances we share turn sinister and mortally determined.
Let's rip this apart.
We decimate the next two songs, and continue our rampage of imaginary musical destruction. Teenagers and beef heads form a pit and turn the rampage into reality. They flail their stiff arms and attempt to hit others. People are severe and merciless, and in each breakdown we play, someone gets hit. We finish playing the last song, and at this point the sweat pours from every orifice of my body. The crowd is wild and we're on the brink of utter exhaustion, but we all know we put on an extravagant first show.
We load our equipment back into the cars with a satisfied laziness, and stick around for the next band playing. We talk to the members of our savage audience and make some new friends. The compliments wash over us, and we accept them in humble spirit. We make the journey back to the car and decide it's time we leave. We're far too restless to stay here. It's time to celebrate. We recklessly drive to a local Denny's and feast, beyond happy with the outcome of our very first show, and know that the best is yet to come. I get home and sleepily explain how it went, my parents pleased and proud.
I lay down my head and gently fall into the foggy atmosphere within my mind, pondering and reviewing what a grand day it was.