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18 May, 2009: [137/365], 16:21.56 [Monday]
Filed under: Microfiction

I wrote this in 2005. It’s a review of a concert written in the perspective of a high school student. I’ve been writing a follow-up of it that I’ll post later.

Bright, migraine-inducing purple ultraviolet lights flooded the abandoned church. An even harsher feedback noise cut through the hot, stale air, bringing three hundred forty-six people to their knees simultaneously. Their startled, exasperated gasps drowned out the feedback, and a hoarse voice apologized for the horrible noise. All but thirteen of the people got back on their feet, the rest were either out cold, or dead, crushed under the weight of the crowd. The building was filled well over capacity (about one hundred fifty), but a payoff to the zoning department made them look the other way.

The church, which was normally the local bingo hall/fish fry hall/fallout shelter, was converted to a veritable rock n’ roll machine, for tonight, the tri-county winner of the battle of the bands contest—three times running—was playing. Vertigo12 was the biggest thing to hit the small town of Tobacco Spit, Oklahoma, since Alan Jackson’s tour bus broke down in nearby Wet Hole, the next town over (Jackson’s publicist still insists it was sabotage). Dozens of disenchanted teenagers lolled their way into the decrepit former house of worship, as dozens of concerned parents picketed outside. The county sheriff insisted it was okay, since “those damn kids won’t be messin’ up our water tower, whut with their spray paint and eggs. Damn hooligans.”

The tortured screeches of distorted guitar ripped through the smoky atmosphere, as Vertigo12’s turntable player, Brutus J. Roadkill, cut some phat beats. The band’s lead grunter and its three backup screamers stepped to the front of the altar. Skid Viscous, the band’s decidedly unoriginal frontman, coughed violently into the mic. “ARE YOU READY TO—krff-blak-khurl—um, rock (harfharf)?”

Several spiky haired fourteen-year-olds, in their most aggressive growls they could produce with their neo-pubescent larynges, yelled “I guess,” but went mostly unheard over the din of the guitar tech clumsily knocking over and destroying about six hundred dollars worth of second-hand equipment. One of the lights overhead exploded, causing all but one of the three hundred thirty-three members of the crowd to drop to the floor again.

The remaining person was one 73-year-old Bernice Johnson, who realized that Tuesday was Bingo Night, not Saturday. The explosion didn’t bother her, as the battery in her hearing aid had been exhausted for a week, and the attendants at the senior care facility failed to notice. They would no longer need to notice, however, as Mexico Jackson, the six-hundred-pound human beatbox, jumped in front of the frail old woman, inducing a fatal heart attack.

The show finally went on, as the other twelve members of the group sauntered onstage, fashionably late by about ninety minutes, and hurtled into a menacing rap-metal rendition of Lee Dorsey’s “Workin’ in a Coal Mine”. Jimmy Hotpack, the bass player, looked up at the crowd—completely out of character, as he was “the catatonic one”—and vomited all over the front row of the crowd, who hadn’t noticed as they were engaged in a particularly violent mosh fight. In fact, nobody had noticed, because this was normally part of the show; afterwards, Vertigo12’s three drummers, the Beef Sisters, would launch a keg off the stage, so the crowd could join in on the puke party. This time was different, however, as former Motown superstar Lee Dorsey, who was touring with them, rushed up to the mic, announcing that some members of the band had eaten some bad fishsticks the night before, and would have to cut the show short.

The crowd appeared to be none too pleased, as they started throwing Molotov cocktails at the stage. However, according to one of the twenty-seven survivors of the resulting fire, there were already plans to burn the church down during the concert, and that the fishstick incident was merely coincidental.

Overall, it was a pretty good show by Vertigo12 standards. The show actually lasted longer than five minutes, and they only lost eight of their bandmates this time. This was probably their best since they played at Carl Weathers High School in their hometown of Dry Hump, Oklahoma.

Kevin Worthington is the music editor of the Carl Weathers High School newspaper, The Weekly Hunt. He can be seen on Friday and Saturday nights at CWHS sporting events as a member of the Predators’ marching band.

Note: yes, I know, Lee Dorsey is dead, and has been for nearly twenty-three years. Like I care.


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