Burn Halo had just finished their set, the band bidding farewell to the crowd before bounding backstage and off to their dressing room to decompress after their set. Evie’s nerves elevated higher and higher as she helped bump out the Burn Halo stage and bump in the Avenged gear. As she wasn’t sure of the placements of most items, she had volunteered to tape leads to the stage. That was the easiest job she could do, and was very hard to fuck up. Plus, she was sure to at least get on JB’s good side now.
She ignored the chanting crowd as she continued to rip the gaffa tape and place it over the drum mic leads. Rip, place, stick. Rip, place, stick. The repetitive job was actually helping calm her nerves for the upcoming show, managing to temporarily get her out of her own head. Unfortunately, she was running out of lead to tape, and her bump in job was complete. She gave Matt a thumbs up to let him know she was done and then scurried back down the stairs to start reading over the setlist for the millionth time.
She saw the band emerge from their dressing room, splitting up to their respective sides. Brian approached her, followed by Jimmy and Matt, Jimmy already twirling his drumsticks in his slender fingers while Matt cracked the knuckles in his hands. Evie held out a black and white pinstripe guitar to Brian, and as he slid the strap over his head Evie clipped the wireless pack to his back pocket to secure it.
Brian could sense Evie’s nerves, smirking at her obsessive-like tendency as she made sure for the third time that she had given him the correct guitar and wireless combo. She looked down at the set list again, confirming that their first song would be in drop D, therefore making sure she had given him the correctly tuned guitar.
“Does that pack feel secure?” She asked him, pointing down towards his pocket as she bit at her bottom lip. About thirty different innuendos popped in to his head as he went to reply, but he managed to bite them back and just nod in confirmation. “Ok, good.”
He watched her as she ran over the set list again, her right index finger ghosting down the page as she pointed at the guitars on the rack and the one in his hand to correlate to each song.
“You need to calm down, Blondie,” Jimmy told her, also noticing her struggle with staying calm. “If all else fails, I’m sure that lazy ass can tune his own fucking guitar.”
“Thanks for the love, man,” Brian replied, rolling his eyes at his friend.
“Ok, go go go,” JB told the trio, instructions from Matt on the other side of the stage coming through his walkie. He slapped the ass of each of the guys as they climbed the stairs and disappeared on to the dark of the stage.
Already the crowd were roaring, their excitement peaking as they caught a glimpse of the band take the stage. Matt sat down at an organ, quickly checking to his left and to his right to see the rest of his band mates in their correct spot before starting the show with the intro of ‘Critical Acclaim’.
For Evie, the show flew by, her attention solely on her job. After each song she ran on stage, taking the guitar from Brian and trading it for a freshly tuned version. She helped him plug in the wireless pack to the guitar before taking off and returning to side stage once more. While the band played, she would retune the guitar she had swapped, placing it back on the rack for the next time it was required. She obsessed over the set list, making sure that when the time came to change out the guitar for one in different tunings, she had the correct one in hand. She checked 4 times before the end of ‘Beast and the Harlot’ that she was holding the guitar in drop D flat for the song ‘Scream’.
Before she knew it, she saw Jimmy, Matt and Brian return to side stage with the roadies, the fans continuing to chant, scream and applaud. With the house lights still down, she realised that they were awaiting an encore, one that the band had already prepared for.
Brian came over to Evie once again, holding out his guitar for her to take. She grabbed it from him, also trading his wireless for another pack that was already adjusted on the sound board for the effects that were required for the next song.
“How are you liking the gig so far?” Brian asked her, taking a huge drink of water while she tucked in the new pack to his back pocket. He was too wired to even think of what else he could suggest she could check while she was below his waist.
“Honestly? I have barely paid attention,” she told him, a small blush rising on her pale cheeks as she spoke. She had been too immersed in tuning, double-checking, and even re-stringing to pay attention to what was happening on stage during the songs. “I have been too distracted with the work to watch you guys perform.”
“I don’t know whether to be offended or impressed,” he replied, taken back by her answer. He was used to their normal road crew, each of the roadies telling them how great they were playing as they paused before the encore. To have Evie not even pay attention to them was definitely something he wasn’t expecting.
“Once I feel confident in the routine, I am sure I will have a chance to listen then,” she told him, shrugging her shoulders slightly. She looked down at the setlist for the millionth time, realising that their encore was only one song. “Well, since this is the last song, I should have a chance to listen now.”
Brian heard Jimmy cackle at the conversation, clearly realising that the only song Evie would be able to judge them by was his fucked up masterpiece.
“Oh, Blondie, you have no idea what you’re in for,” he told her before taking his cue and bounding back up the stairs and to his drum kit once more. Evie was astounded with his energy levels knowing that drummers have one of the most exhausting jobs, yet Jimmy was still behaving like a toddler that had got into the cookie jar.
“Good luck,” she squeeked out, watching Brian and Matt follow Jimmy’s exuberant exit once a piano based backing track started.
For the next 7 minutes Evie watched the band in awe, taking advantage of her chance to properly see the band she would be working with for the next two weeks. Apart from a few moments Evie took to make sure that the pack was still transmitting and focusing on Brian’s guitar to make sure none of the strings had snapped, she was enthralled. Jimmy had understated things, she really did have no idea of the things that were about to come.
Throughout the long song, she watched the two guitarists move and strut around the stage, playing off each other’s energy, while occasionally making it back to their respective sides to provide backing vocals for Matt. Johnny walked around constantly, making sure to interact with his fellow guitarists, Jimmy and Matt, while still including the crowd every now and then. Matt absolutely owned the spotlight as the band’s frontman. The attitude he had while performing felt tangible, he made sure that when he was singing, every single eye was on him. Jimmy played like nothing else, his legs constantly riding the double bass while his arms elegantly hit each and every piece of the impressive drum kit before him. While multitasking all of that, he still managed to crane his neck over and sing parts of the song.
One thing she noticed was that all 4 mobile band members made use of the front stage risers, each taking turn to be the center of attention for a while before bailing out and handing over to someone else. It astounded evie the sheer amount of talent this band had, not only musically, but their stage presence was impressive, to say the least. The crowd absolutely ate up everything the Avenged boys did, from the minute they strut on to the stage until the moment they had thrown the last pick and drumstick into the crowd.
All the band members gave one last wave to the crowd before returning to side stage, the buzz of adrenaline they were still feeling was almost palpable to Evie. She was used to the post-gig high musicians felt, no matter the size of the band, every musician felt it with the same intensity. It was Evie’s favourite part of the night. It was the moment between the band ecstatic that they were living out their dream, and the moment they started to analyse the show and nit-pick anything that went wrong. It was just pure excitement and happiness, and it always made Evie smile.
The Avenged boys retreated to their dressing room after receiving praise from JB and Bruce on a great show, Evie taking the guitar from Brian for the last time and putting it away in the travel case. It needed a good clean up and a retune, but the strings looked fine, so she put it aside to fix up tomorrow before the show. For now, she volunteered once more to help with the packing down of the gear, stripping the stage and boxing it up to be loaded in the trailer.
She asked Matt if she could roll the leads, a job she could do in her sleep, so she could observe how the team worked. She watched as they seamlessly went about their jobs, Matt taking all the mics from the stands and putting them back in their cases while JB packed up the drum kit. She saw Bruce taking the monitors one at a time backstage and out to the van, the speakers not needing to be put into any road cases. Dave, the sound guy, was cautiously unplugging his gear and separating it from the venues house gear. Every person in the team knew their job and worked efficiently to get it all packed away. The venue’s help also scattered around doing smaller jobs, one guy balling up all the tape and getting rid of any rubbish, another helping pack up the merch. Evie was impressed once again.
“All the leads are rolled and I put a small gaffa tag labelling what each end was going to,” Evie told Matt, pointing at the piles of cables on the front of the stage, each organised in a pile with similar leads.
“Damn, that was quick! Thanks, Evie,” Matt praised, a smile on his face as he looked over her work. It was only the first night, and he was already impressed with her work ethic. Not all guitar techs were happy with helping the bump in and outs, believing that they ONLY needed to look after the guitars and nothing else. To have a hand with the little things, even something as rudimentary as rolling leads was a refreshing change. He must thank Larry for picking Evie to help them out.
“Here to help,” she replied, smiling widely as she put her hands in the back pocket of her jeans. “Anything else I can help with?”
“If you wouldn’t mind grabbing the pedal boards, that would be great. There is a case on each side stage for both Brian and Zacky’s,” he told her, pointing at the two pedal boards that were at the front of the stage.
Evie made her way to Zacky’s pedal board, realising that it had no pedals, but was only a foot controller. She wondered what the controller was actually controlling, and where the pedals were housed. She got lost in her own guitar nerd brain, trying to analyse the sounds she heard in the one song she listened to and tried to guess what effects were used. She bent over, grabbing the controller board and made her way back off stage, trying to find the storage case Matt had mentioned would be there.
“So you are giving her jobs to do?” JB asked his brother, pointing at Evie’s retreating figure. Matt quirked his eyebrow, unsure where this was going.
“I guess? She asked if she could help, so I gave her a job,” he replied, slowly unwinding some tape from one of the bass drum mics. He reminded himself that he needed to get another stand for the AKG so he didn’t have to restrap it every show.
“Please keep getting her to pick things up,” JB asked, his lips twisted in a smirk. “I could watch that ass all day.”
Matt threw the ball of rolled up tape at his brother, rolling his eyes at the typical sexist way his brain worked. He swore that if they weren’t identical, he was sure he was adopted.
“Get your mind out of the gutter, man,” Matt told him, shaking his head. “She is here to do a job, not for your entertainment.”
“Just sayin’, she is a lot nicer to look at than Chris,” JB laughed, throwing back the tape ball to Matt. Matt couldn’t deny JB’s statement, after all he was a man himself and could see how attractive Evie was. He had noticed it the second she walked on stage behind Larry earlier that evening, and became more and more apparent the more time he spent around her.
“I’ll give you that,” Matt admitted, smiling back at his brother before returning to packing away the two more drum mics that were on the kit. Every night he cursed Jimmy for having such a monumentally expansive kit, but then knew that each and every piece was there for a reason.
Within the hour, the gear had been packed up and was almost fully loaded back into the trailer. There was only a few more pieces to tetris in before their job was complete. Evie handed over another box of tee shirts to JB, watching him cautiously stack the box inside the van before handing him over yet another. Matt was busy packing the other side of the trailer, his merch being handed to him by Dave.
“Last one,” Evie told JB, handing over a light box of what she assumed was stickers or lanyards or some small accessory. JB deftly put the last box on top of the stack, wigging it a little to test that it was packed in safe before jumping out of the trailer and closing his half of the split door. Matt soon shut the other side, quickly locking them safely before turning to the rest of the crew. He put his hand up for a high five, everyone congratulating each other on another night done and dusted.
They all moved away from the trailer, JB taking a cigarette out of his pack before offering the pack around. Evie refused his offer and took out one of her own, lighting it happily before returning the gesture and offering her lighter to JB. He took it, lit up his own cigarette before giving it to Matt, who followed the lead before giving the lighter back to Evie. Taking in a lungful of smoke, Evie held down a moan as the nicotine hit her system. She hated the habit, but couldn’t help but continue to smoke. There was something so therapeutic about the ritual, and it was a symbol that her job was complete for the evening.
“So, how was your first day?” JB asked her once he had exhaled his smoke cloud, leaning against the bus as he awaited her reply.
“So stressful,” she replied honestly. “This is a lot different than I am used to.”
“But you got through it, though,” he said before taking another hit of nicotine.
“Thank god,” she muttered, following suit and inhaling once again. “Hopefully it will get a little smoother now I know the flow of the show.”
“You smashed it,” Matt told her, nudging her with his arm. “I’m pretty sure you surpassed everyone's expectations of you.”
“Thanks?” she replied, her words more of a question, unsure if his statement was a compliment or not. Thought the comment seemed to be flattering, the fact that their preconceived notions of her were low was not as calming.
“It was a compliment,” JB confirmed, lightly laughing at the confused look on her face from his brother’s words.
“Ok then, thanks!” she repeated, putting extra emphasis on her words and an over-the-top smile on her face. The two Berry’s laughed at her actions, already getting to know what kind of sense of humour Evie had. “So where are we going next?”
“Kansas,” Matt answered for her. “Shit, I need to give you a copy of the schedule!”
“Don’t stress about it,” she told him, putting her hand on his arm to get his attention. “As long as you can give me a look at yours, I am happy.”
JB opened his mouth, ready to make a joke at the way Evie’s sentence sounded out of context, but was interrupted as the band, followed by Dan, emerged from the venue. Their voices carried over the parking lot, some of them taking the chance to light up a cigarette now they were out of the confides of the building.
“In three, two, one…” Matt counted, Evie furrowing her brows at his words. She dropped the butt of her cigarette, grinding it between her shoe and the pavement while Matt counted down.
Once Matt had said one, a second later Jimmy came bounding over, wrapping his long arms around Matt’s frame.
“Mathew, my favourite roadie,” he said, his voice loud enough for everyone in the vicinity to hear.
“I’m a technician,” Matt mumbed, the conversation clearly already been had many times.
“Hey!” JB exclaimed. “I’m your fucking drum tech!”
“Fine then, Evie is my new favourite roadie,” he announced, moving from Matt around to Evie. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders which made her look up to him with a raised eyebrow.
“Dude!” JB exclaimed again, clearly not happy that the drummer had not even mentioned his own technician.
“You see, if I pick you, then the brothers won’t fight over my love,” Jimmy stage whispered, his voice loud enough that both the Berry’s clearly heard what he had said.
“I am not involved in this,” Evie said, raising her hands in surrender as much as Jimmy’s arms allowed her to. “I am Switzerland!”
“Welcome to your very first Jimmy moment,” a voice told her, Evie’s attention falling from her fellow ‘roadies’ to notice that the rest of the band finally caught up to Jimmy. A smile graced Zacky’s lips as he finished speaking, quickly returning to the cigarette between his fingers.
“You are clearly one of us now,” Johnny said.
“Is that a good thing?” Evie asked, playing in to the joke.
“Only time will tell,” Johnny replied. He approved of Evie, her wit was quick and he could tell that she would fit in with this group for the next few days.
“Party continues on in our bus,” Zacky told them, dropping his cigarette butt before making his way over to the band’s bus.
“Fuck yes!” JB cheered, quickly running to catch up with the rhythm guitarist. A few of the others turned and followed in their footsteps, starting their own conversations.
“Have fun,” Evie said, noticing that Jimmy’s arms remained around her as he started to walk her towards the bus.
“You’re coming,” Jimmy told her, not giving her much leeway to say no. As much as Evie was touched by the gesture, she had to put her foot down.
“Not tonight, Giant. I am shattered,” she told him, trying to stop his movements so she could unwind herself from his arms.
“I am sure I have something that can perk you up,” he told her, wiggling his eyebrows. Evie laughed, shaking her head.
“Maybe another night. Tonight I have a date with my bunk and my pillow,” she told him, finally succeeding in getting him to loosen his grip. He pouted at her, saddened by her decision. “Next time, ok?”
“Promise?” He asked, holding out his pinky for her to swear on. She giggled, her musical laugh making the others in front turn around.
“Promise,” she agreed, pinky swearing with Jimmy.
“I hope you made specific terms with that promise,” Brian shouted out, finishing his cigarette.
“Not specific enough!” Jimmy replied, bouncing away from Evie and overtaking the rest of the guys.
“Should I be worried about that?” She asked Brian, the only one that had yet to turn back around.
“I would be,” he replied with a wink. Evie shrugged, blowing off the reply before she opened the roadie’s bus and disappeared within.
Brian watched her until she had disappeared, his eyes roaming her body before she climbed on to the bus. He was saddened to hear that she would not be joining in on their party, but then his spirits lifted when he realised that her promise to Jimmy meant that she would definitely have to come along to tomorrow nights party, and tomorrow nights would be big as they had no gig the next day. He would soon enough get to know more about his new guitar tech.
Hope this was ok!
Let me know what you think :)