Hi, my name is Cross. Cross McKnight, short for Crossman, so to answer your question, yes, it’s my real name. And to answer your other question, no, I have no idea what the hell my mother was thinking. I’m twenty-four, and I play drums in a local rock band. We call ourselves The Growing Dim Project. Yeah, kind of a contradiction in the title, but that is what we are all about, contradiction. We use a lot of makeup and stage show stuff, but all in all, we’re not bad. We have our hardcore fans that show up at every performance, so I guess we’re not that bad. I can sincerely say that I’m pretty happy with the way we have turned out. The musicians I have picked for this band have come a long way in their playing and with each performance. We have only been together about a year and it’s amazing the events that have happened within that year.
It was Jessica and I that came up with the idea. We put our heads together and came up with some ideas of making our shows like theatrical performances, only a little bit darker than you would expect. Our lyrics that we came up with were kind of on the dark side, so big happy clown faces just wouldn’t fit. We found that the dark gothic approach was what came more natural to us, so we went with it, and go figure, it worked. Tonight we are doing one of our regular gigs, and the place is packed, as it always is when we play here. The crowd doesn’t know us personally, but they know our songs and performance very well, as they have seen it a hundred times before. But to be quite honest, I’m glad they don’t know us personally.
Well, hello, and welcome to our show. My name is Jessica, and I’m the lead singer in a band called The Growing Dim Project. Ha, what a name, I swear Cross can be a genius sometimes, and what’s so great about it is that he doesn’t even know it. Oh, I’m sorry, Cross is the drummer in the band, and also my best friend. He’s not just a drummer though. I can sit here and honestly say he’s a percussionist in the most artistic form. I wish I knew where he gets his ideas sometimes.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, The Growing Dim Project. I’m sitting backstage here at Shit Creek, a local bar here at the end of Lu St., waiting for our show to start. Shit Creek, perfect name for the looks of the place, but the most popular gig for us by far. I just simply love the crowd here; I think mostly it’s because they love us so much. They love our stage show, and I find that with each time we play here, more and more people know our music as well. I say “our music” because it is mostly Cross and I who wrote it. We do some cover songs but we are really pushing our original material. Cross and I have been writing together for about a year and the band has only been playing gigs for about three months. It’s extraordinary how quickly things can happen almost overnight.
We are all painted up and ready to go. Cross is wearing his normal makeup; diamonds over the eyes, and long thinned out black lipstick, with a pale face. He looks very gothic yet tasteful at the same time. That is one thing I can definitely say about Cross, the man has style.
I can also see the rest of the band is ready to go as well. Justin, our guitar player has blond hair so he usually doesn’t do a whole lot of the makeup deal. He usually just puts enough on to make it look like he is one of us. A little bit of eyeliner and a thin coat of the pale face, not very noticeable offstage. Mike on the other hand, our bassist, always goes a little too overboard. He’s huge, damn near six and a half feet tall, and has a nice build on top of that. His makeup always looks a little too gothic for what we try to do. He tries to imitate what Cross does, but it always ends up just the opposite. I don’t think he knows what it means to have style like Cross. He cakes on his white makeup all over, and then has a field day with the eyeliner, and makes a nice thick line around his lips with the same eyeliner pencil.
Clint, keyboards, just has a natural dark sense about him, yet he is never unhappy. He is awfully thin, which gives him that tall look but he never uses much of the makeup and stage show stuff, because his natural way of dress is dark enough. He usually wears all black adding on to the fact that he might be tall. But like I said, he’s usually pretty peppy which doesn’t fit his look at all. I, on the other hand, have been taught that the secret of makeup is to make it look like you don’t have any on at all. So that is exactly what I do. I too, am blond, but have dark skin, so the Goth look comes pretty natural to me as well. We are all pretty dark in our own little way, and this has helped our reputation, as I can tell by the crowd here tonight.
I’m looking at us all backstage, ready to go, but yet we don’t seem like we have it together for some odd reason. Something has been making Cross nervous these past few weeks, and for the life of me, I can’t seem to put my finger on it. I hope this will be a good night. Maybe I’m just nervous, but I have a bad feeling about tonight’s show. I don’t think I could take it if we had a bad night here. Well, all the lights have gone out. Showtime! Enjoy!
The lights went out in the bar, and the crowd started to quiet down. A small figure in black stepped silently before the crowd and began lighting the candles one by one across the stage. Total silence fell over the crowd as they watched the candelabras across the stage slowly reveal the stage. Black drapes hung on the sides of the stage, not allowing too much light on the rest of the bar, only the stage was to be seen here.
It’s October and you can hear the wind blowing outside against the huge windows in the bar. It’s eerie how the weather adds to the effect of this night and the performance about to be seen. A huge set of drums sat high on a small podium, along with other percussion instruments, a xylophone, some chimes, and extra hand cymbals. A keyboard setup appeared with nobody there to play them. There were no other instruments on stage except for some microphones.
A caped figure appeared from behind the drums as a light grew from behind him. As the light grew brighter the silhouette of the figure appeared darker, his face unseen. With all the candles lit across the stage, the other figure disappeared out of sight, without a sound. The crowd barely noticed he was there in the first place. Good roadies are hard to come by. The caped figure spread out his arms and flared his head back as to let the light shine more prominently behind him.
“What time is it?” he asked the crowd in a slightly British tone. And in unison, the crowd answered. Oh yes, this would be a good night.
“Seven-O-Six” the crowd answered. And indeed it was seven o’ six. A trademark the band had used. Not many people in the crowd had figured out why this particular time, but answered all the same.
The keyboardist showed up out of nowhere, as the crowds’ eyes were affixed on the caped figure, and began playing a low deathly chord. The flared arms of the caped figure each grabbed a candelabrum from the side of him and bent slowly to his face so that his makeup could be seen. Painted white with long black diamonds over his eyes. He also wore black lipstick that fell into thin black lines extending his lips. His black hair, shoulder length, wrapped his countenance. With the light shining on Cross’s face, you could also see that he wasn’t wearing a cape after all, it was simply a long overcoat. Kind of like the ones the cowboys wear in the movies.
With the keyboards playing, Cross started the beginning of what would be a long night. He pointed his long finger, fingernails painted black of course, out into the crowd and began to speak in that British tone once again.
“With splitting seas, and red ducks.” The keyboard switched keys with every phrase growing more and more intense with the lyric. “Yellow palm trees, and the hole that sucks.” The crowd sat at their tables and watched as their cigarette smoke engulfed with that of the fog that was being released from both sides of the stage.
“The headless horseman, representing His wrath,” Cross recited. The crowd loved it. He could see that some of the crowd was actually wording his prose along with him. The dark gothic appeal worked for the band for the most part, since they mostly played dark ballads, they felt as though they were an actual pop group, but with their dark presence, they had a different crowd than that of the normal radio listening crowd.
Cross’s words grew more intense with the music of the keyboards, and Jessica approached the stage shaking a tambourine in the air in unison with the rhythm of the keyboards, her outfit dark with just a touch of black lace to add to the Gothic effect of the stage.
“We will all remember when, we took that shortest path” he shook his finger at the crowd, bending his knees, making sure everyone took notice of him. The music took a high note with the low whisper of Cross’s words.
“And when He speaks down, for us to listen. We’ll look to the ground, to see that he has risen.” The fog grew thick as Cross stepped down from the drum podium and approached the front of the stage. Not one person in the crowd was absorbed by anything else other than what this mysterious figure had to say. The music grows more intense, the tambourine shakes, and the bass player, Mike, approaches the stage playing a low hum creating his own dark rhythm under the keyboards.
“And they will battle,” accent a little thicker now. “They! The immortals! And our souls will rattle, out our morals.” It was as though Cross was telling a story at a kindergarten class and all the students were very absorbed. “With both destroyed, and none to follow!” The guitar player, Justin, plays off stage a heavy D chord letting it ring throughout the bar. “We’ll be overjoyed, in our own deep sorrows! Then I shall rise…” The guitar and bass fall into a high melody as if triumph were about to occur.
“And show my powers” his hands raised high, head tilted back. “Until the clouds high, bring raining showers!” Justin leaps onto the stage, acting as if he were about to attack Cross, but instead plays next to him in that guitar player pose shoulder to shoulder with Cross as he finishes his prose.
“You will worship me! Till the end of time! Oh yes! You will worship me, in this world of mine! I am…” said Cross allowing his British tone to blend into a raspy growl. Then, a slight pause in speech as the guitar, bass and keyboard all play, building the music to a great climax, waiting for Cross to complete his declaration.
“I am tyrant, and the time is now!” The music ends with a triplet of bass drum and cymbals, played by Jessica, who has snuck her way behind the drums to end the opening of their act. Cross ends bent in half, as he waits for his applause.
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