(My dreams aren’t like normal dreams with hats becoming penguins and all kinds of impossibilities, my dreams tend to be like little films, in Technicolor, full 5.1 and with coherent plots, characters and locations.)
I’m talking to this guy, he’s about 21 or so, we’re walking along and he says that I need to come and see his band, that I’d love them as I love pop punk.
I try to wiggle out of it because I’m thinking they’re gonna be awful and then I’ll have to do my fake rictus of ‘HEY THIS IS AWESOME’ even though it’s not and my face will fall off from the effort. But the kid’s persistent so I agree.
Next thing, I’m jammed into this old, massive American car (we’re not in America) and being driven to who the fuck knows where while we stop and pick up assorted band members.
We get to the place. I thought it’d be a stinky rehearsal room or garage. It’s actually a big venue. The main building is on the right, it’s a two story place, quite wide and has loading ramps up to high, wide doors, like it used to be a warehouse. On the left of it are utility buildings and in front, where we park, is a dusty area about 80 by 80 feet which serves as a pretty basic car park.
Dude explains they’re allowed to practise in the day as most of them work there at night.
I go inside. There’s a wooden-floored area in front of a wide stage that’s about five feet off the ground. On the left are some kiosks for cloakroom and what looks like a permanent merch area.
The band get on stage and I’m trepidatious. After the usual banging around and drummer being a dick with his snare when the singer is trying to soundcheck, they get going. My dude says, “Right, we’re gonna start with a cover, get warmed up.”
Their audience is me and about ten kids who are obviously fans as they look so happy to be there. The cover song starts and I recognise it! It’s this:
And, fuck me – they’re good! They do it justice! It’s hardly an easy song to play but they absolutely fucking kill it. And by now, I’m thinking, these are really, really fucking good. Some of the kids start just dicking around, jumping off the stage and everyone’s having a blast.
Then the cover’s done and dudebro comes up to the mic and says, “Right, we’re warmed up, here’s the song. We’re Jack First and this is Holding On! onetwofreefour!”
And they launch into this utterly amazing pop punk song that’s halfway between Quicksand and Kyoto Now!, just a fast, poppy, angry slab of buttery goodness. Oh my. Cue kids going wilder, doing backflips and me wishing I wasn’t so old and fat.
The band finish and the singer comes over to me.
“Well, what do you think?
“That was fucking brilliant, mate! I loved it! But I feel a bit bad cos I haven’t really got industry contacts I can put you in touch with. I mean, I know lawyers and accountants and promo people but it’s not like the industry liked me when I was signed, let alone now.”
Dude, grinning, “Oh no, we don’t give a fuck about all that, we just wanted some advice about who to avoid, what not to do, what some of it means, like, different contracts.”
“Oh, I can do that, easily. I can just tell you not to do the stuff I did!”
Dude laughs and thanks me for coming along. And I say, “Is there any chance you’ve got that last song as an mp3 or whatever? My mate Mikey DJs at Mosh and I know he’d love it and play it to death, it’s just his kind of thing!”
Dude: “Yeah, no worries, mate, I’ll email it to ya.”
The dream kind of faded out then as I went up to the merch stand to check out their T-shirts.
So, when I woke up, the first thing I checked: there is no current pop punk band called Jack First. So, I haven’t been telepathically communing (again) which is a relief.
But the song, Holding On, was so catchy. I can remember all the words, and at least the chorus chords, they were big, ringing open chords.
I think I’ll try to write it today.