The venue used to be a family-style steakhouse set just off the highway overpass. Hidden behind a smattering of the region’s characteristic oak trees, it had been the perfect place for weary nuclear families to temporarily escape the close quarters of the car.
Now remodeled, it’s pleather booths ripped out and kitsch decor removed, the place offered traveling indie bands a venue with which to reach new audiences and gain rural integrity outside the over-saturated city music scene. More importantly, it promised a stage unadorned by regional, yet controversial, flags. This commodity was not found elsewhere within a hundred miles.
For their part, the locals did their best to support the highway-side venue in the hopes it would bring money into their dwindling downtown district. Mostly though, the venue survived on the local college and high school students hungry for anything that vaguely tasted of the distant cities they all aspired to in some facet. The lax carding by bartenders helped considerably. Young, disposable, and underage money was still money.
Cole passed over a damp bill in exchange for two soapy beers. He was tall enough that the bartender never gave him a hard time, but he still couldn’t quite meet the staffs’ eyes. Cole avoided them and pushed himself into the press of bodies on the main floor.
Cole didn’t care for the band, but his girlfriend liked it and his life was easier when she was happy. And Stephanie was happy, pressed up as close to the stage as the venue would allow and gazing up at the bespectacled scruffy lead singer. Cole found the caterwauling reedy and whiny, but knew better than to say so. He passed Stephanie her beer and quickly ceded ground.
Having retreated away from the stage, his back pressed against the venue’s back wall, Cole found the experience much less audible and far more bearable. Though he did have an excellent view of Stephanie’s adoring gaze up at the stage.
“She is a bad influence.” The voice came from his side. Cole looked down to see his younger sister, Lane, standing next to him. Her black curly hair fell loose over her shoulders and compared to the rest of the audience’s bared skin, was overdressed in a jean skirt and knit shirt. She held a drink in front of her with two hands.
“You’re one to talk.” He grabbed her drink before she could do anything but gasp with indignation. Cole took a sip. It was coke, but without the sickly aftertaste of liquor. He handed it back to her. “Good.” He said.
“And you’re a hypocrite.” She said. Her huff was annoyed but lacked any real outrage. After Lane got her drink back she turned her disdain to the enthralled audience. “But at least we’re not easily impressed. Do you think all bands from the city try this hard?”
Cole heard Lane’s dig but didn’t answer. At the front of the crowd, Stephanie leaned past the stage and threw something to the singer. Cole’s stomach turned and he decided it was better he didn’t know what exactly of Stephanie’s the singer had just pocketed.
“Cole? Don’t tell me you’re actually impressed by tight jeans and the excessive use of flannel?” Lane’s question distracted him from the odd feeling in his stomach.
He snorted. “Can you even see the stage?” With her clunky boots, Lane just managed to top five feet. He doubted she could see anything over the churning crowd.
Her lips twitched. “I’m not wrong though, right?”
Cole finally laughed, “No. You’re right. They’re terrible.”
“They really are.” Lane stifled another laugh by taking a sip of her coke. Cole took a larger gulp of his beer and felt better.
I have no idea what I just wrote to. This week’s music challenge was brought to you by Raw Rambles, she charged me with writing something to or inspired by The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth by CYHSY. Check out here piece here.