By: Jacquie Underdown

‘That band you booked for Saturday night pulled out.’

I dizzied as her words drilled into my head. ‘What? Why?’

‘The lead singer overdosed.’

‘You’re kidding me. The singer overdosed?’ I pulled on my ear, my jaw tight. ‘How bloody…selfish!’

Sabine’s lips curled and I had to giggle, because if I didn’t I’d cry.

‘But seriously, how the hell am I supposed to get someone at this late notice?’

Sabine breathed in deeply and shook her head as she blew out her breath. ‘That’s what I need you to figure out. And fast.’


My desk was covered with paperwork and post-it notes. I couldn’t think straight with all this mess. Was it seriously only one day I had off? And this was what I had to come back to. I roughly ordered files, threw away the useless rubbish — morning tea notices, after-work social club news. I lifted a pile of business directories and a white square of paper flittered out and fell onto the carpet.

I picked it up: a simple-looking advertisement, on plain white paper for a new band, Perennial.

I held it up to Katie, another event planner who sat in the cubicle next to me. ‘Do you know anything about these guys?’

Katie shook her head, red hair bouncing. ‘No, not at all. Some guy brought that in yesterday for you.’

People drop in flyers and promo all the time; it was part and parcel of the industry. I looked at the name again, trying to materialise the nebulous memory it stoked. This could either be a stroke of fate or a massive fail.

‘My band for Saturday night pulled out,’ I said.

Katie wrinkled her freckled nose. ‘Oh, no. I’m doubly glad they gave that baby to you now. What a headache.’

‘Should I risk asking these guys?’ I said, holding up the flyer again.

Katie nodded emphatically. ‘God, yes. You’ve got four days to secure a band for the biggest fundraiser of the year. Even if they’re mediocre, it’s better than having no one.’

The muscles between my shoulder blades tightened and my stomach squirmed. ‘You’re right. It would be career suicide to screw this fundraiser up.’

‘Totally. Let me know if you need my help.’

‘Thanks, Katie.’

Shit, shit, shit, shit. This was not what I needed to come back to after a full day spent with my head shoved down a toilet bowl retching for all of China to hear. I flopped back against my chair and sighed, then grabbed my phone and dialled the number on the flyer. I choose to see this situation as fate.

‘Lucas speaking.’ A deep male voice with a hint of an accent.

‘Hi, Lucas. My name’s Anthea Lewis. I’m calling from Martin & Marshal P.R. You dropped in a flyer —’

‘Anthea. Good to hear from you. I didn’t expect you to call so soon.’

Expected a call? Confident assumption, considering most of the promo that comes through here is thrown in the bin before given a second glance.

‘I know this is really, really late notice and all, but I need a band for this Saturday night. We’re looking for music that appeals to 25 to 40 year olds. So maybe covers of contemporary rock and so on. Does that sound like Perennial?’

‘Yeah. We play acoustic covers and we also have a lot of our own material,’ he said.

Tingles fanned up my arms hearing his honeyed voice. My heart sped up a fraction. If this guy looked as good as he sounded… ‘That’s a good fit. The event is for the Angela Barnes Cancer Foundation. You’ll need to put together a playlist that’ll have you basically playing for three hours in between an auction and other scheduled events. Do you think you could handle that?’

‘That won’t be a problem.’

I grinned. My tightened muscles slowly relaxed. ‘Fantastic. Would you be interested in doing such a gig?’

‘We’d be happy to.’

I negotiated a reasonable fee and found a pen under a pile of contracts to scribble down some notes:


$5 000

Supply all own equipment

Contemporary rock

‘Are you able to send through a sample of your music, pictures of the band and perhaps a playlist?’ I wasn’t willing to run completely blind on this.

‘I’ve some visual footage and sound streams from gigs we’ve done on a USB?’

‘Could you email the files?’

‘Sure. I’ve also still got the playlist from the Cloud Bar Sunday. I think that’d work, although I’ll change it up a bit for Saturday night. You know, different audience and setting and…’

I looked down at my notepad, at the next series of scribble.


Playlist — Cloud Bar

My heart hammered as I squinted at my scribble. ‘Sorry, did you say you did a gig at the Cloud Bar on Sunday?’

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