Inside “Battle of the Bands”

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“When are we playing?”

“Who are you?”

“Modern Misfortune.”

“Oh, you guys will be on last.”

Not something a band with but two gigs under their belt expected to hear, especially considering the fact that at both of these gigs we had been first on the bill. Everyone outwith the band thought the prospect of performing last was brilliant: everyone will remember us! We’ll be the last thing they saw so we’ll stick in their memory! And for a while, it was a great feeling. It was as if we were headlining, despite this being a Battle of the Bands, and so we were filled with an air of confidence, an imaginary strength, like we had something that put us above every other band.

This was reinforced by  our surroundings. We considered Studio 24 our home: it had been the site of our first gig and so, as silly as it sounds, that night felt like a homecoming. We had to outdo ourselves, this was going to be our best performance following a successful first gig and an ever so slightly disastrous second gig. Having decided to play it straight, our setlist consisted of seven original compositions (including our apparent signature song, “Disheartened”. A demo of it had been uploaded to YouTube, garnering some recognition among our friends) and no covers. Pretty much every other band on the bill had some sort of reinvention of some hit or another up their sleeve (with a curious performance of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” arising at one point) and so we chose not to pull out one of the few covers we had actually mastered.

We were at ease, which was reassuring yet slightly worrying. Complacency had been a major factor in the disappointment of our second gig with the success of our debut making us relaxed. If you’re not nervous before a gig, there’s something wrong so luckily (or not) as the night wore on and more and more bands performed anxiety crept in. Of course we were excited to perform but the longer we had to wait the more we began to dread it, especially after seeing some of the talent already on display.

During the band two before us, it arose that there had been a mix-up with the times of performances and for a moment it looked like we might have to shorten our set, making matters worse. Quickly, things were sorted but even the mild stress of that incident had been jarring and by the time we were heading for the stage I was particularly nervous.

However, stepping on the stage any nerves were quickly forgotten and we powered through our half-hour set in what seemed like five minutes. As far as I’m aware, the only mistake made was by yours truly during our opening song, Back to the Fire, and was resolved quick enough so as to be fairly unnoticeable. The audience reaction was incredible , particularly and predictably during our finisher, Disheartened. To be honest it was all a blur at this point. All I could hear was my cymbals and Amber, our singer and at the same time my vision was considerably impaired by strobe lights: I couldn’t even see my drumsticks in my hand.

It was incredible.

Once we had finished, all we had to do was wait for the verdict which wasn’t long. It was announced before I had even made it off stage.

We came second to a band called Lost Weekend. It was decided by the audience who wrote their favourite band of the night on a piece of paper however, according to many people we invited, a lot of people hadn’t had a chance to vote. A longer voting period could have benefited anyone.
Regardless, we were overwhelmed with the result. In all the excitement I ended up knackering my ankle as I jumped off the stage but, to be quite honest, it was worth it.

It was a night of ups and downs but the high points outweighed the lows. The concert as a whole was brilliant and we, Modern Misfortune, came off more than pleased with our performance.  We’d done exactly what we’d hoped we would.