First Gig

A band with high ambitions plays their first gig. Watch out NME!


1. First Gig


I stood backstage, listening to the crowd. I imagined them screaming my name over and over in some frenzy, jumping to the sound of my Stratocaster releasing powerful scorching blasts of pure noise. I would be shredding like a professional, hitting every note spot on while hordes of hot girls flung their lingerie onto the stage along with notes proclaiming "I LUV U!!!! OXOXOXOX". Then, at the grand finale, I would go apeshit, just playing a random assortment of notes before smashing my guitar up while the dying notes screeched in the background. That would be the life. Sex, drugs and an awesome bassline.

Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t at some major festival, playing with my multi-million selling band. I wasn’t even playing at some dingy club with an awesome underground band that no-one had heard of but the few hardcore music-lovers. Instead, my mum had phoned up the local church and asked Old Tim, the vicar, if her little boy and his friends could play at the village fete that was being organised for next week. Hardly Glastonbury, was it? I stepped out onto the ancient rickety stage that was usually stashed away in the nearby Sunday school alongside my bandmates from college, an all-around good set of lads. I wasn't expecting much in the way of hot topless chicks on their boyfriends’ shoulders but even the pathetic collection in attendance was an insult, not only to me and my boys but also the music.

There were some old people enjoying some 99's with a little Flake in, their brittle teeth curling at the intense cold of the ice cream. An assortment of families, the mums with plastic grins and dads with daft sweaters while their collective offspring looked as though the whole affair was slowly deflating them as they sagged and slouched their way around the various stalls advertising raffles and hooking of ducks. The community police officer standing guard over the whole sorry affair, PC Morrison, was stood behind one of the stalls having a crafty puff on a cigarette and picking his rather large hook of a nose with his free hand. Digging for gold. That’s what my mum called it. Quite a good saying, I thought to myself. Anyway, I had time to get acquainted with the crowds later on after I had wowed them with my awesome skills on the guitar.  Time’s almost come now. Tension. Suspense. Hardcore music.

Old Tim stepped out onto the stage, smiling and waving as if he were the Pope greeting a mob of millions. “Err... hello everyone. I hope you’re all enjoying the wonderful events we have organised or should I say Mrs Miggins organised?” He chuckled to himself. No response apart from a polite laugh somewhere in the crowd. He continued regardless, “It’s all going to a great cause, I assure you. We need a set of new pews so that the more sagely members of the Christian faith who worship at this church aren’t getting too creaky and sore when they’re sitting listening to God’s word.” Some of the old people nodded in approval. “Anyway, before I go on too long, here are some musical entertainment band boys who asked me if they could perform today all on behalf of helping out our little community. Aren’t they wonderful young men everyone?” The crowd all nodded and clapped. I didn’t know if they knew what was going on. They just seemed like sheep, doing whatever they were told. I smiled anyway and pretended to be interested. “Now, here is Nathan Grimshaw and his band, The Kingston Elite. Let’s give them a big hand, okay?” Showtime.

I counted them in. One. Two. Three. Four. Straight from the start, I could tell it was going to be a performance to remember and for all the wrong reasons. The first thing I remember looking back on the shambles that was our ‘show’ was that Gary, our drummer, was completely incapable of holding down a beat, instead veering from rapid tapping to slow thumps. In this case, it meant the rest of us had a tough time keeping track on what we were supposed to be doing. The bassist, Mark Pikey, was an old friend of mine and for that reason, he was in the band. Despite not being able to play the bass, he managed to do alright. Well, apart from hitting a few minor wrong notes. Maybe more than minor. Maybe major. Maybe on most of the songs we played. As for me, those dreams, the fantasies in my head of playing to thousands, that’s all they were. Dreams. I was no good on guitar, never had been. I remember looking into the audience and realising that they were just being polite and staying so that they didn’t hurt our feelings, like some elderly relative who smiles at you and says how great you are even when you murder Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the piano at some family party.

After we finished Wonderwall, we just walked off. No point in prolonging the suffering of those poor people who watched us. I wanted to go home. Go home. Home. Home sounded good to me. Yeah. Mark stared at the ground as we were wandering away, his bass slapping his back with each step. I always liked his guitar. A shame it was in the wrong hands. Gary had got lost, he needed the shitter. I don’t think he found us again after that. Probably blew all his change trying to win some tacky plastic crap on the tombola. Mark found his dad, who gave him a pat on the back and told him he tried his best, and said his goodbyes. I went to the car park. I found my mum’s black Ford Focus already waiting by the exit. She just said, “Well done sweetie, you were really good.” Ever the optimist. I flung my amp and guitar in the boot. Time to go home. At last. 

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