My First Real Performace This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

“I love you Troy!”… I heard that phrase about seventeen times within a span of ten minutes. I was hot, sweaty and full of energy. I sat behind my most prized possession, sticks in hand, while Jan, Edgar and Evan held their monstrous skill in their fingers. The lights blinded us, but that didn’t drown out the screams of joy we heard. I think that’s what fed our energy, the fans.

It took a lot of preparation to be ready to perform in the Oltman Middle School Variety Show. There were some sixth graders, mostly seventh graders and a handful of eighth graders, but there were no bands… until You Vs. Us talked to Mrs. U. They consist of four members. First there’s Edgar E.; he is the lead guitarist and ‘screamer’, as we like to call it, for the songs that need that effect. Second is Jan C. He is the rhythm guitarist and harmony/lead vocals, depending on the song. Then there’s Evan E., the younger brother of Edgar. He is the bassist; the band never had a bassist and they knew Evan could play pretty good guitar, so since they already had two guitar parts, they had Evan play bass. And their drummer? Me, baby! I, Troy L. am the drummer and lead/harmony vocals for the band You Vs. Us, and we are bomb!

From moving the drums from my house to the school, to worrying about if Edgar would be able to make it to performance night (whole different story), it all paid off in the end. We knew four or five songs in all, but we chose to do only two for the show. Those two songs were Everlong by the Foo Fighters and American Idiot by Green Day. I had both these songs down to the point where I could play them in my sleep! I’m sure my band mates grasped the songs like I did because we played almost flawlessly on the night.

May 13th comes around and I’m the first one to arrive. I’m checking the amps, seeing if they are at the right frequencies and volumes. Then I go to check the drums, seeing that everything was there and ready to be set up within seconds when needed. Yes, everything’s perfect. Momentarily, Jan and the Espinosa’s arrive, followed by other acts. We sit in the teachers lounge, playing unplugged versions of the songs for practice, waiting for a signal meaning we would be on soon. I was pumped! It was Edgar, Jan and Evan’s first time actually being on stage in front of people so I tried to calm them down with what I knew with theatre. But the really important thing I said was, “If you mess up, no biggy, just try to find yourself and do what you can. If you panic, nothing good will come of it.” We’re finally on stage behind the curtain. Edgar decides to make himself known, even though you can’t see him, by doing a sound check. His guitar roared and made the crowd anxious, so the rest of us did sort of the same. I banged everything I had at least once, then I checked the mic saying, “Alright we’re good” the glorious green curtains opened and Jan began our best night ever with the first pluck of the E string.

I was still hearing shouts of love and friendliness across the parking lot. By now, I had my pink flannel off and my Stud Muffin shirt glaring it’s humor. Sitting next to my dad, one whole stick and one broken stick in my hands, he asks with a smile, “Do you think your sister’s jealous?” he steals a funky look from my sister in the back seat. I only respond with a laugh and a smile. My throat was sore and my heart filled to the brim in happiness. The fan’s screams were still in my head. I will never forget May 13th 2010.





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