Flag on my Backpack: Part Fourteen
I Like To Rock
Yves Manderville grabbed the last of the gear and handed it to one of the bouncers at Le Loft. They usually played at this club in Montreal, because it was one of few that didn’t just cater to house and hip hop. Here at Le Loft they could play their music and have that dream of being rock stars. How long that would last was another question. Yves was enrolled in his studies at McGill, taking political science. Jacqueline had her track, Michelle was just looking into what design schools were available. And Dom had her own gig as well.
Yves was ready to shut the door to the old Volkswagen van when a flash of red and white ripped past him into the darkness of the vehicle. He stumbled a bit and managed to reorient his surroundings, finally peering into the darkness. Inside, he could see a person squirming into a pair of jeans, as a pair of red, folded boots rested next to the figure. “Dom?” he whispered as he leaned against the door frame of the van. “Was wonderin’ when you get ‘ere?”
“Stake out jus’ ended ’bout fifteen minutes ‘go,” she replied as she quickly tied up her canvass high tops and pulled on a shirt over her uniform. “Not’in’ ‘appen out dere t’night. It were kinda borin’.”
“An’ here I t’ought you’d wanna get into police services,” Yves said with a wide grin. “Good t’ing you dropped you guitar off at my place. Don’ t’ink we have time ta run back an’ get it.”
“T’inkin’ ahead,” Dom stated as she hopped out of the van. She checked to make certain she’d removed the mask and stowed it away. Once satisfied, she grabbed her jacket and shut the doors to the van, and followed Yves into the club. Michelle and Jacqueline were already preparing themselves for the night’s gig as Dom went to her guitar and began tuning. She smiled and gave each a nod, and waited for the inevitable questions to come from each young woman. Again, just as she did with Yves, she reassured them that she had a boring night, nothing happened. And it was time to get down to the business of the evening.
“We gonna start off with a few covers dat we practise?” Michelle asked Yves as he got his own guitar ready.
“Yeah,” came Yves reply. “We were pretty good wit’ No Regrets, so we should start wit’ dat one, lead into some o’ de Hip, an’ maybe some Guess Who. Den we can try out a couple o’ songs we wrote inbetween.”
“Dat’d be sweet,” Dom said with a smile. “Be nice ta see de reaction from de crowd.”
“An’ wha’ if it bad?” Michelle asked with a teasing smile. Dom merely shrugged and smiled back. Crowds could be fickle, but you wouldn’t know until you gave them your all.
“Alright guys,” one of the stage hands called out as the band went through some quick rehearsals and last minute preparations. “Five minutes. Got a packed house tonight. Word got around from your first gig here. You all ready?” Yves took a deep breath and gave a nod of the affirmative. “Alright guys,” the stage hand said with a smile and a thumbs up. “Give ‘em hell.”
“Yo, all you people in the house,” the DJ’s voice came over the speakers loud and proud. “We had ‘em here a couple weeks ago, an’ they were so good, we brought ‘em back again. They fresh an’ new, but they can rock the house. Put ya hands t’gether for Montreal’s very own Blanc Noir!”
The crowd was responsive to everything the band did. Blanc Noir had become very popular on the local scale, playing well known cover tunes and mixing it up with their own music. The crowd at La Loft had grown used to being the early guinea pigs for new pieces from this band that had been together for almost ten years, since they were in high school together.
Each member gave it their all, and even showcased their talents, as each got a chance to wow the crowd with a solo effort. Dom’s heavy fifteen minute guitar solo that would have made Eddie Van Halen give a nod of appreciation. Michelle showed she could be a long lost relative of Neil Peart’s as she went into a full five minute drum solo. Jacqueline did her best to mimic the styling of Geddy Lee’s bass work. And Yves showed just how good he was on the piano with a solo rendition of The Piano Man.
Taking it all in was Able. He’d been musically talented, but this performance blew him away. For him it was like a wild ride that he never wanted to see stop. During the entire performance, he found he kept sneaking a peak over at Dom. Her guitar work was more than impressive, especially when women aren’t usually known for their talent as a guitarist of such calibre. Sure, there have been talented women such as Joni Mitchell, Liona Boyd and others, but known that knew how to thrash like Dom.
As the crowd cheered their last song, Able gravitated toward the area near the stage, some place where he could ask about getting back stage. Of course, the stage manager was more like a bouncer, with a facial expression to match. A giant of a man who looked more like the roadie for a death metal band than someone who actually worked at a trendy night club. Still, Able decided to turn on the charm.
“Hey mate,” he said with a grin as he approached the stage manager. “I got an invite ta see the band back stage after their performance.”
The stage manager lifted a bushy eyebrow and studied Able carefully. “Ya know, mon ami,” he replied in a gravely voice as his arms stayed crossed over his barrel of a chest. “I have been working in this club for many years. And I can’t count the time people have tried to get past me to see a band. Each time I go back and ask if the band know some kid, and each time they try to sneak past me.” The stage manager bent down to stare Able right in the eye, unfolding his arms to do so. Able swallowed hard as he stared wide eyed back at him. “Now, you gonna promise me that you not gonna do that?”
“Sure, mate,” Able said in a small voice, though he did try to make himself look bigger to intimidate back. It didn’t work very well, as the giant of a stage hand rose again to his full height, grunting a laugh and moving back stage. Five minutes past as Able stood and waited, smiling and nodding to passing patrons.
The man returned with a much softer look on his face, although still with some stoney expressions. “Yves say you are fine, mon ami,” he announced as he held open a door for Able. “C’mon, you can go.”
“Thanks, mate,” Able replied quickly as he walked with purpose through the door. Backstage there were a few people milling about as they carried equipment and put them away. Some were carrying a packed up drum kit out to a Volkswagen van through a door in a back alley. He continued walking, asking someone where the band was, and was directed to a small sitting area. Sure enough, the four band mates were relaxing on some couches as they talked and laughed.
Michelle looked up from a laptop and smiled as she saw Able, nudging Dom in the arm. Both happily waved him over, which Able completely obliged. He took a seat on one of the couches and looked about for a moment with a smile on his face. “Man, this is somethin’,” he said with a grin. “You guys rocked up there t’night.”
“We were ‘avin’ fun, you know,” Yves said as he handed Able a Ginger Ale. Able graciously took it and held it in both hands as he sat back in the softness of the couch. “T’night were pretty good ’cause we had a full house. An’ we feed off de energy when it packed.”
Able nodded in understanding as he took a drink, then motioned to Michelle and the laptop. “So, what’re ya doin’ with that?”
Michelle kept her nose in her laptop as she answered Able’s question. “I got a photographer friend who take pictures o’ our gigs, an’ I upload dem to de band’s Flickr page, an’ she shoot some footage o’ one or two songs. I’m just uploadin’ dat to our Youtube profile.”
“You guys have a Youtube page?” Able asked with an impressed nod. “I’ll have to check that out sometime.”
“You know, dat might be a good idea,” Jacqueline piped up. “Considerin’ we were talkin’ just b’fore you came up. You write lyrics an’ music, do you play instruments?”
“Well, piano, guitar, some with the pipes,” he said with a nod and motioned as though playing bagpipes. “Ya know, bagpipes. Plus the recorder. Stuff like that.” He looked to the four as they all grinned, the kind of grin as though suspicions had been confirmed and at the same time were plotting and scheming. “What?”
“How would you like ta join the band?” Yves asked with a smile as he nudged Able’s shoulder. “Could use a fifth, an’ we could branch out an’ experiment.”
Able blinked once, then looked to each band member in kind. They all shared the same smile. He looked back to Yves. “Yer serious?” Yves only nodded in reply. “True right!” Able replied with a grin. “That’d be awesome, mate.”
“Den it settled,” Dom said as she clapped her approval. “Tomorrow night we start practise, an’ get ready for our next gig on de twenty first.”
“Lemme tweet dat,” Michelle said as she moved to her laptop once again. “Good t’ing I don’ ‘ave to put dat on Facebook, got Twitter an’ Facebook status both connected.”
“Michelle,” Dom said with a teasing smile as she wrapped an arm around Michelle’s shoulders. “Our little social maven.”