Hold Onto It Tightly

It’s two in the morning and you’ve just stumbled out of the show, into the cloud of smoke that hangs around the entrance like a wreath. It burns and stings at your eyes but you just try to ignore it, clutching your jacket tighter as you make that oh so long journey back to your car where you’ll sit for a minute telling yourself that you have to drive home. It’s late. There’s work and school in about six hours.

You do the mental math. If you were to fall asleep right now, you’d get six hours of sleep. But you have to drive home, move the crap off your bed, brush your teeth. Then get up in the morning, shower, eat, get to campus… ugh. Looks like it’s going to be another four hour night. You groan as you crank up the car and turn on the lights, eyes blurry and your jacket smelling of smoke. Great.

As you pull back into your parking spot, you replay the images of the night in your head. How dumb the guitarist from the opening band looked with that see through guitar that he probably thought was the coolest thing ever when he bought it. Then the singer who would’ve been more at home at the karaoke bar than in the 40 Watt. The headliner wasn’t that great either. Weeks of hype and constant listening to their latest album (“it is a departure from our usual style”) had soured your experience.

But it was that second band, the one that no one really knew, that came from far away, that made everything worth while. You slide into bed remembering how incredible that bass sounded, how you felt every single beat of the drum. The singer held you in his hand the whole night, knowing that this may be the only time you’ll ever hear what he’s got to sing. The guitar was piercing and abrasive and subtle and sweet and… damn. It’s 3:15 already.

But your mind is buzzing. You didn’t have money for the full album at the show but the drummer gave you their demo and a sticker anyway. You want to hear it again so knowing full well that tomorrow’s work day will be hell, you turn on the laptop and burn it into iTunes. Click. Sync. Play. In a feeble attempt to sleep, you leave the earbuds in as you lay down.Sleep…

The next day you’re talking with your friends. They were so happy with the hot to trot headliners and start trashing the openers. You agree with the first but you can’t bring yourself to say a word against that second band. They all start ribbing you about liking such an obviously untalented bunch but you disagree. You make your point and then move on. The walk back home finds you listening to the demo once again.  You’ve found a band.

Now you remember that either one of two things will happen. You’ll be enthralled by this band for a month or so and then they’ll start to crawl back into the corners of your mind or you’ll love them forever. You sincerely hope that it’ll be a case of the second this time but you know it’ll more than likely be the first. Sighing, you wrap your coat around yourself to keep out the wind, turn on the record, and just enjoy the here and now. Worth it.


  1. An evocative run down of the live music crapshoot. Sometimes the reward is equal to the risk, and then you've got that “I saw them way back when” story, too. Solid.

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