Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ryan; Ray

Ryan; seen at the Empty Bottle at about 10:30 p.m., 6-13-11

Ryan was nervous. During the drive down from Milwaukee, he felt like a bubble had been slowly expanding in his stomach until it pressed against his spine and ribcage, squeezing nerves and sending pulses of anxious energy up and down his body. He wished that they would just play already. Ryan was the lead singer of the band Broken Bottles. More specifically, the lead screamer. The hardcore band had a pretty good following in Wisconsin, but this was their first show in Chicago. If it went well, their fanbase could get a huge boost. The band before them had been awesome, and the band playing after them, Cave Bear, was already seeing a lot of success in the local Chicago scene. Ryan and the rest of Broken Bottles were really feeling the pressure. 

They had been practicing non-stop for the past few weeks. Rob's guitar parts had become much more complicated, and Tim's drumming had become progressively tighter. Ryan had directed the other members to shout a few extra grisly roars at strategic points during the set. He knew the band was better than it had ever been; and yet, he was still nervous. 

Ryan breathed in the warm, beer-scented air and moved his skinny frame against the microphone. Tim counted off, and Ryan screamed his soul out. 

Ray; Seen on the Purple Line to the Loop at about 5:15 p.m.

Ray is having trouble deciding what music to listen to today. The weather is the real problem. It's warm and relatively sunny, but there are enough clouds to confuse a person; looking outside, one would think it's colder than it actually is. This makes a music choice extremely difficult. He can't go with bold, loud, bright music, but he can't play soft, acoustic, pastel music either. 

At first Ray scrolls through his iPhone and selects the modern-day disco sounds of MGMT. "Ooo, girl, shock me like an electic eel; baby girl, turn me on with your electric feel." The smooth electro beats slink into his ears and pulse in his chest, pulling his heartbeat into the groove. But it's not right.

Next he opts for a newer sound--that of Wiz Khalifa. Ray closes his eyes and lets the rhythmic words fall from the rapper's mouth and tumble back and forth behind his eyelids--"Black and yellow black and yellow black and yellow." Wiz Khalifa may be the future of rap music, but his songs aren't correct for today. The track ends, and Ray scrolls yet again. 

Finally, he decides to take it all the way back to 1998 with some Lauryn Hill. The horn section buzzes below his lungs, and he wishes he weren't in public so he could sing along with the soulful Ms. Hill: "Girls, you know you better watch out! Some guys, some guys are only about that thing, that thing, that thiiiing." The girl sitting across from Ray smiles and starts bobbing her head in time with the music. He realizes that the volume must be way too loud. But it's his stop anyway. He smiles back by way of apology and gets off the train, truly satisfied.

Sorry, must fly. I'm going to see Demetri Martin tonight!  Joy of joys. :) 

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