Beneath the smoke and neon lights milled a crowd of several hundred Friday night party-goers. The club, set in a downtown location, was a popular gathering place for twenty-and-thirty-somethings as well as teens with fake IDs and too much time on their hands. The dance floor was packed with bodies swaying and jiving to the club's music whilst trying not to spill their drinks. Couples hung on each other and singles prowled around like hungry wolves, often in packs with their friends. The night was still young and as the music faded out a host climbed onto the stage where every weekend live performances were held by local bands. The dancers paused and a good portion of them took advantage of the lull to make a bar run. A dozen or so young people made their way to the front near the stage with shrieks and whoops of anticipation. The host stood in the spotlight held a mic, and behind him cast in a red glow the band waited, as motionless as statues. "You may have heard some bad things about our band tonight, but rest assured, ladies and gentlemen, they may be Idiots With Instruments but damn, can they make some great noise!" A handful of the front group cheered. No sooner had the host ducked out of the way then the guitarist, a long-haired young man with oriental features, pierced the murmuring of the crowd with a breathtaking solo, and the rest soon followed his lead. They played through the first song perfectly. It was one of their earliest and most popular singles and thus made for a good opener. By the time it was over they'd captured the attention of the majority of their audience. It was the perfect opportunity for their frontman to introduce the band, even though it was likely at least half of these people were already familiar with them. "Hello hello hello!" Rob began bumbling around the stage with a massive grin and sweat dripping down his face. "Who wants to party?!" He gleefully shouted at the top of his lungs and got a screaming reply. "Alright alright. That's pretty good, but you know I think we can do better than that." He chuckled. "So, who wants to RAAAAAAOOOOOOCK!" He screached out the word as loud as he could at the very peak of his quite impressive vocal range, and in return he got a thunderous reply. "Well that's good to hear, because we are Idiots with Instruments and we are going to rock your fucking world!" Before he'd finished speaking the band was launching into their next song. The crowd was swept along with them, anywhere between fifty to a hundred people with their hands in the air, even more watching with passive enjoyment. The real hardcore fans were pressed up near the front of the stage, most of them had driven in from out of town and had been with IWI since the beginning. They cheered the loudest and knew each member by name. They played a handful of other songs, including a couple of new ones, before wrapping up their time on stage. It had been a big night, and they'd been really privileged to play in such a high-end establishment. Everyone felt fantastic. ~ ~ ~ Vince Hall As the last notes were swallowed by applause and cheers, Vince lowered his guitar and raised his hands to the crowd in a gesture of thanks, eliciting a round of shrieks from a few fangirls up front. The lights on the stage went down and it was their cue to start packing up the equipment. They didn't have a tech crew, but luckily a few friends had volunteered to help pack everything up so it didn't take long. Besides, between the back door by the stage and the trailer outside he was able to sneak a cigarette. By the time they were finished the crowd had thinned, either returning to their previous activities or heading for home now that the evening's highlight was over. A number of people came over to congratulate the band, some even wanted autographs, and most of them crowded around Rob. Vince located Daphne, their youngest member and someone he felt personally responsible to keep an eye on. Almost everyone had had their doubts about the girl when he recruited her, and she was probably the most inexperienced when it came to playing live shows. So far she'd been cool though, and he had a lot of faith in her. Giving her a congratulatory pat on the shoulder he said, "Good job tonight. The band was a big hit, I think--" he was interrupted by a tap on his arm and turned to see a timid looking girl, definitely not old enough to be in a place like this, holding out a notebook and marker. Vince recognized her from some of their other shows, he smiled and took the objects, quickly signing his name in the book and handing them back. "Thanks for coming tonight." She nodded and smiled back, then asked for Daphne's autograph too. "And, um… is Tam still around?" Vince checked, then pointed her in the direction of the other guitarist and she scampered away. In hindsight he was a little disappointed they didn't have any CDs or T-shirts to sell. Someday they would, he knew, but right now the cost outweighed the benefit. "I don't remember what I was talking about but I was wondering if Daxton's here tonight, did he say if he was coming?" He'd become pretty good friends with Daphne's brother. "Ohey, Solly!" he waved to get the piano nerd's attention, "Wanna get a drink?"