The Concerts

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 For the next few weeks we jammed in the warehouse, learning how to cover a few more songs to expand our repertoire. But it was at the end of the month that we got our first real shot. Our bassist Paul told us that his uncle worked at a local club, and that he could pull a few strings to get us a concert. The news was immediately greeted with a round of high-fiving and cheering, as we imagined strutting our stuff with our name up in lights, in front of hundreds of adoring fans screaming our names. 

As we stood on that stage, we began to notice that it wasn't quite how we'd imagined it. Our name up in lights was downgraded to a cardboard sign hanging loosely above the stage, and our hundreds of fans actually amounted to there being eight people in the club including us four band members and two bar staff. In short, our first gig was a disaster. But I tried not to let that bother me too much. Everyone's first gig goes badly, right? Sadly the second and third met with a similar level of success. The only improvement we noticed was that there seemed to be some sort of two-person mosh pit going on halfway through the third, which we later learned was just two drunk guys fighting over a peanut one of them dropped on the floor. 

We later learned that if our next concert didn't draw in a bigger crowd, then we'd lose our slot in the club to some "up and coming new pop group". I wasn't sure, but that seemed to be more a threat than just politely being informed. That's when we realised. We needed to get some buzz going, and to do that we needed to release some material. 

Through some research, we discovered that a record label a couple of cities away was celebrating its tenth anniversary, and were giving unsigned bands the chance to record an EP for free. We managed to convince Sam's uncle to taxi us all up there, and we spent the whole two hour journey discussing which songs we'd record. Nightmare was the obvious choice for the first song, and we then decided to follow it with Waking the Demon. But that still left us with a three song gap that desperately needed filling. By the time we'd reached the studio we still had no idea. Our time running out, we decided to do what all the greats did. We'd improvise, and hope for the best. 

As we walked inside, we were stopped by a representative who gave us a form to fill in. We went over to one side to a desk and sat down. As we glanced over the form, we kept looking up at each other in confusion. We didn't understand what half of these categories meant. There were a few we could fill in with ease (genre, number of band members, influences, etc), but a couple just completely stumped us. One in particular kept us sitting and scratching our heads until an answer we all agreed on just jumped onto the page. Eventually we managed to complete the form and hand it in to the receptionist. We sat in the waiting room and appraised the other acts warily. We could see several different doors labelled with all the different genres. It stung me to notice that there were a lot more acts summoned into the "Pop" door than the "Rock/Metal". Still, that meant that we were a minority and therefore had more chance. 

After what seemed like an eternity, the Rock/Metal door opened. 

"Your Guardian Demons?" We all glanced at each other nervously. The other people in the room weren't laughing, so at least our improvised name wasn't going to make us a laughing stock. We got up and walked into the audition room. Thankfully there wasn't a full-blown audience, only three guys who looked like they'd just staggered off the set of an 80's music video. 

"Ok, so you are?" Instead of the stereotypical nerves that show during an audition, Sam immediately stepped forward confidently. 

"We're Your Guardian Demons." The judges nodded approvingly at each other, and Sam shot a quick smile at us. 

"So, a metal band with a female vocalist. And I presume you're the frontwoman too. I've seen a few people like yourself today." Sam's smile faded and the main judge continued. "Let me guess: You want to prove that metal isn't just a man's world anymore, and your role model is Joan Jett?" Sam shook her head. 

"I'm more of a Lzzy Hale girl. And I'm not like the others." 

"Okay then bigshots, we're ready when you are." We each caught each other's eyes, and we immediately knew how to blow their minds. In a moment of madness, we'd decided it'd be fun to learn Beelzeboss by Tenacious D. Perhaps we subconsciously knew we'd need something that showed off the sheer power of Sam's voice, maybe it was just a coincidence, but either way it gave us the perfect song. 

When we'd finished, we looked at the judges. They looked back at us for a second, before head judge spoke up. 

"I have to say it, you're better than we expected. Your voice just has more power than the National Grid, and, Johnny is it? If you rocked that guitar any harder it'd burst into flames. Are you free this afternoon? Because you've got an EP to record." All four of us burst out screaming, hugging and high-fiving each other.

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