It was not going to be a special night at The Generic in Dullville. On Tuesdays like these, only the most persistent patrons would drop by the local bar for their poison of choice. The wooden sign board, reading ‘Tonight: live bands’ in intelligible handwriting, persistently held its place on the sidewalk, for no one in particular. One of those nights, in short, when you suspect to be mostly playing for the bar personnel.
A few frequent flyers were muttering to each other at the bar while my band had just barged in through the back door. ‘Musicians are nomads’, someone had just said, cringing to pull a flight case through the narrow door. ‘You take a whole shitload of things with you, build it up in hours to play for 30 minutes, then break it all down to start over at another place the next evening.’
While our band of nomads is settling up on stage – the drumkit tuned, the cables taped to the floor to prevent crashing into said drumkit – the back door swings wide open, the entrance shot of a cheap western movie. Five perfectly styled young men come parading in. ‘Ah, one of these nights’, one of them boasts, and his peers laugh aloud.
As a nomad you meet many different people. Consequently, they start to look alike – or worse, they become a parody of themselves. I had seen these guys so often before. Beard style: nonchalant. Checkered blouses. Converse shoes. Tight jeans. Our band leaps off the stage for a handshake, which they accept – barely. In their eyes the look of professionalism, completely uncalled for.
The professionals walk to the stage, and start unpacking their matching guitar cabinets. One of them – I just realize he’s their sound man – drops his bag next to the mixing panel and starts fiddling with the knobs. At this point, a shadow comes leaping in from behind the bar: the local sound man. Beard style: unkempt. Shabby clothes. Hanging belly. But a nice guy. Had been doing this job for ages, as he practically lived next door. No, never had the intentions of making this his job: he worked at a local factory and had started doing this by accident. Besides, he got some free drinks out of it. A nice guy. Probably still lived with his mom.
‘Please, could you stop messing around with my settings?’, he asks, a shy look on his face. ‘I haven’t written them down yet.’ The sound hipster pauses, looks up, and sighs. ‘Can anyone tell this guy that we have been promised to do the sound ourselves? You’re in my way man.’ A heated argument follows; the sound man is getting red. Embarrassed, perhaps, of the situation. He, as the resident engineer, should be more preponderant.
The other guy raises his voice even more, and when it’s over, the sound man walks away. At the end of the evening, he could be seen sitting behind his beer. At the other end of the bar, the sound hipster is talking to a local girl. He’s elaborating on the support act they recently did, and the actually famous people they have met.
Around two they have packed their van. ‘Screw this place’, one of them yells while slamming the door and driving off toward the nearest highway ramp. Nomads, yes. Unthankful, pretentious nomads.
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Fourteen Twentysix is the cryptic alias of Holland’s atmospheric rock band that uses rain barrels for bass drums, embraces digital music distribution and reaches out to listeners worldwide through digital liveshows and living room concerts. Not afraid of change and experiment, the band shared the stage with both dark rockers Antimatter(UK) as well as folk legends Turin Brakes (UK).