It’s a cool night in Vegas, a rare occasion. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, and every star is visible. Each one is like a streetlamp, guiding weary college travelers wherever their little angsty hearts desire. It’s a Saturday. Ryan’s had no class all day, he has no class tomorrow, and all of his weekend homework has been completed. It’d be the perfect night for a stressed college kid like himself to go out drinking with his friends, or see a movie with his friends, or get some dinner with his friends. If, you know, Ryan had some friends.
<lj-cut text="From the razor to the rosary, we could lose ourselves, and paint these walls in pitchfork red.">
Instead, he’s heading himself over to the Savannah Café and Nightclub, a typical hotspot for strapping young scenesters and college students alike. It’s almost a weird combination: A quiet and friendly café run by two guys in their mid-twenties by day, and by night, a door opens in the back to reveal a staircase and suddenly, the sounds of angry and hardcore musical screams fill the room, and there are bodies flailing and jumping every which way to the sound. Back when Ryan had only heard rumors about such a place, he’d thought it was the most mystifying and almost romantic thing he’d ever heard. But now…
Ryan opens the café door; the bell above it chimes his arrival. The two baristas/owners he’s come to know so well in his annual visits to the Savannah don’t even greet him anymore. Not until--
“He’s got the newspaper boy cap on,” the blonder, blue-eyed one behind the counter notes, scanning Ryan’s outfit.
The other owner, a darker-haired man with smiling eyes looks up from where he’s wiping a table across the room. “It’s a work day,” he finishes for the first boy, with a slight lisp.
Ryan presses his hat tighter onto his head. He used to get self-conscious when the baristas talked about him like that, but nowadays their criticism of his odd choice in clothing has just become as natural as ‘hello‘.
He’s about to correct their bad sense of time, (“Work night, actually. See how there’s, like, no sun outside and stuff? Isn’t that weird? It’s all dark and shit. That’s because it’s night.”) but before he opens his mouth the blonde one says, “The band’s already started. You’d better hurry up.” Ryan nods and meanders to the back of the room, where Zack is waiting by the door. (Hey, every proper nightclub has to have a doorman, right?) He goes through the routine process of showing Zack his press pass. Zack nods and Ryan opens the door, hops down the staircase and into the club, free of charge. This would be pretty cool if, you know, the bands Ryan got to see were actually good.
He’s had this job for months and it’s almost still kind of a shock when he steps off that final stair, and into the club itself. It’s relatively big, for being under a tiny indie coffee shop. It’s only a bit smaller than the bottom floor of any House of Blues, but probably twice as crowded.
The place smells like sweat, and blood, and beer, and more sweat, and, alright, maybe a little bit like urine. But seriously? This place isn't for babies. That’s just gross.
Years ago Ryan would have thought the club smelled like rebellion, and defiance, and music. But that was then, and this is now, and Ryan Ross isn’t the Ryan Ross he was years ago. He’s older, he’s more mature, and he’s. Well. Things change.
Ryan weaves his way through pulsing teenaged bodies to the bar, and perches on his usual stool. The bartender, Joe, isn’t a bad guy. When Ryan was only 20 and had just gotten his job, Joe would still let him have a beer or two, so they’ve had a relatively good relationship since then.
Tonight, though, Ryan’s too tired to drink. He’s too tired to even be here, but he needs the extra coin. Between the new books he has to get for this semester, and the hospital bill he has to pay for his dad, and the fact that his car just magically decided it had to break down today…
Yeah. More money would be nice.
He’s not even listening to the band at first, he’s observing the crowd. They’re all doing generally the same thing: slamming into each other, screaming, grinding, hitting, punching, occasionally doing awkward forms of interpretive dance, and being overall obnoxious. But Ryan can tell that half of them aren’t even there for whatever unknown band is playing tonight. No. Half of them are just there to be there. Ryan can see it in their faces, in their appearance. From their poor chemically dyed multicolored hairstyles and thick eyeliner to their sarcastic or “clever” t-shirts, ( ‘I Can’t Hear You Over the Sound of My Awesomeness’ and ‘Free Hugs!’) all the way down to their bright, too-tight jeans and checkerboard shoes. He sees pretty much the same picture every Saturday at the Savannah: Just a bunch of fake kids trying to impress more fake kids by showering themselves in concepts they don’t even care about or understand. It’s almost enough to make Ryan puke.
But then he notices the band, and it gets worse.
Surprise, surprise, it’s another screamo-popcore-indie-punk-whatever band. There’s exactly four billion eight hundred and fifty seven names for bands like this one, but they’re all the same to Ryan: more wannabe rock stars who are playing nothing that’s already been heard before and will remain forever unsigned.
Ryan’s heard a couple kids on campus talk about these guys. Apparently the “scene” kids really go for them, or whatever. They’re becoming pretty big for a local band. It’s only a matter of time before they’re dubbed sell-outs by the very kids in this room. The ones that used to spend their days bruising themselves to this music. Ryan’s seen it all before.
Sighing, Ryan takes a small notepad and a pen out of the back pocket of his charcoal jeans. As he does so, a girl in a pink tutu with striped leggings and choppy blonde side bangs bites her lip and winks at him. He offers a shaky smile back and tries not to look too weirded out. This happens to him from time to time, and it’s understandable. In his hugging jeans, studded belt, and clinging v-neck, it’s near impossible to tell that he’s not only a senior in college, but also a journalist. He is “the man”, the enemy. Bands and fans alike are supposed to despise him. And yet, here they are making eyes at him, blissfully unaware. Ryan would have laughed if the idea of himself actually fitting in with these kids didn’t make his stomach churn.
He flips open to a clean page and sighs again, setting his eyes toward the stage. A white banner with the words ‘As the City Riots’ hand drawn on it hangs on the back of the stage. Ryan starts there (as he usually does) by scribbling that band name down at the top of the paper. Then he sits back, and tries his best to relax and watch the performance long enough to get a decent amount of notes down. There’s no good article without good notes, as Patrick always says.
The band doesn’t look like much of a motley crew, rather, just a bunch of stupid kids with nothing better to do. They seem more like a garage band than anything else.
The bassist is some long haired guy in a shirt at least six sizes too small for him. He’s playing pretty decently (Ryan jots it down) but he’s doing this weird sort of…well. Dancing doesn’t seem to describe it. It’s like all the different parts of his body are trying to do the wave at once, and the output is…interesting.
Ryan jots that down too.
Ryan knows the drummer. He’s that guy who left that other scene band with that song that almost went somewhere on the charts. Ryan has seen them play here within the past few weeks. The drummer’s playing has not improved since then.
Ryan makes a note of that.
The guitar player is ehh, for lack of a better word. He doesn’t sound like he’s actually playing the same song as the band. He doesn’t even sound in tune. And he’s covered completely in a baby blue (girl’s?) hoodie that is, once again, smaller than normal. Not to mention that he's about as tall as the Empire State Building, and he's got these black shades on, even though the club is dark enough. He looks like he thinks he's too cool for this crowd, this song, this band.
Ryan sketches a little picture of him on the page, and smirks.
The singer, however, is a mild improvement. It’s not because of his talent, or lack thereof. It’s not because of his clothes or…lack thereof, either. It’s because. Well, to be frank, it’s because from what Ryan can see, the guy is hot as shit.
To be fair, Ryan hasn’t gotten laid in like, weeks, alright? Maybe longer. Definitely longer…Ryan can’t remember the last time he got laid, which sucks because he’s a college student for fuck’s sake. He’s supposed to be having hot, promiscuous sex with random strangers every night and waking up in the morning with almost no memory of the experience whatsoever, because that’s what college kids do. But it’s difficult, you know? It’s not his fault that he’s doing class assignments until the ass crack of dawn during the week; and on Saturdays he’s out till, like, one AM watching shitty bands to earn cash; and on Sundays and Thursdays he’s stuck inside the computer lab for half the afternoon with the rest of the newspaper staff writing a review of said shitty bands as best he can, based on messy notes. And it’s not his fault that some people don’t find him the most…wonderful person to be around. They just don’t understand him. It’s not his fault that he’s so…
It’s not Ryan’s fault he’s so Ryan-ish.
Ryan decides he doesn’t have a sufficient enough view. He makes his way around the crowd to stand by the side of the stage, not so he can get a better look at the singer-- that’s definitely not why. He needs a better view because…he needs to be able to see the show properly in order to write a sufficient article. Yeah, that makes sense.
Up close, the guy is so much different than the blurring mass of limbs Ryan had focused in on from the back of the room.
He’s so, so much hotter.
The first thing Ryan notices is that the dude is totally shirtless. And, okay, maybe he doesn’t have the biggest six pack of all time, but what he does have is pretty nice. And he’s sweating. Like a lot. It gets worse when the singer, woah, when the singer grabs the bottle of water that's sitting on the drum riser, uncaps it, and pours it all over himself. And when he shakes his dark brown hair, beads of water fly into the crowd and all over the other band members.