Scene 3

It’s as perfect inside as it is outside. Grungy and gritty with lots of steel and concrete. A growing AUDIENCE mills around the general admission floor.
Music plays from the sound system. Behind the stage curtain, CREW MEMBERS rush to assemble the first band’s setup.
Arden, crouching, peeks out from the backstage area. He takes in the crowd and smiles, renewed by the heavy metal energy.
He turns around to see his bandmates. They’re worn and sweaty from the load-in.
Richie walks over to Arden and checks out the main floor of the club. He’s huffing and puffing.
Looks like a decent crowd.
A globule of sweat breaks from Richie’s chin and drips onto Arden’s shirt. He jumps back like he’s been hit by a bullet.
The fuck, man?!
Sorry, Arden. I just--
Sorry my fuckin’ ass! This is my stage outfit! I can’t have--
He’s interrupted by SCREECHING FEEDBACK.
(through the house PA)
Okay fuckers... get your asses in front of this fuckin’ stage now!
DEEN KRIEGER (late 40s), a one-time metal god - now barely a low-level deity - hams it up on the mic at center stage. His pleather vest and bad dye job do nothing to hide his mileage.
Audience members finish their business at merch booths and concession stands, filling in the empty areas of the auditorium and balcony.
Okay then... when Tatterdemalion said they wanted to hire Deen Kreiger to host this Battle of the Bands, I had only two questions - who are the bands, and how many fuckin' groupies do I get?!
The crowd laughs and claps.
Across the room, Arden and the rest of Vehement Volition watch and cheer with as much enthusiasm as the crowd.
Settle down, mongrels. ‘cause before I bring the first band up here, we need to talk about the fuckin’ prizes!
The crowd roars. Deen pulls the mic free of its stand and struts to the edge of the stage.
But instead of me yappin’, we got a special guest here to give you the low down. So clap those paws like the dogs you are, ‘cause here comes Trent fuckin’ Strickfaden!
Deen points into the crowd. A spotlight hunts around and finds TRENT STRICKFADEN (38) strutting toward the stage.
Trent’s a “Mr. Hollywood” kind of guy. He takes his time, shining his thousand watt smile on the ladies in the audience as he passes.
Any time now, Trent!
Deen’s eyes show that he’s only half kidding.
Trent climbs onto the stage and grabs the mic from Deen, not even acknowledging him.
Well well. You know, last year I had a talk with some of the big guys - the money men over at my label Rotting Corpuscle. You wanna know what they told me?
Trent speaks in an overdramatic manner. The crowd buys into his schtick, quieting down and paying close attention.
They said, “Trent, metal has run its course. The fan base just isn’t there anymore.”
Boos from the crowd.
I know! They wanted to pull their backing. But I wasn’t about to let that happen.
Enthusiastic cheers.
Then this opportunity came along, and I said to the suits, “You wanna see how vital the metal scene is? I’m going to give the winning band the power to put out whatever album they want. No label control!”
Huge reaction from the crowd.
Backstage, Arden claps and cheers like a madman.
Yeah! Fuck yeah!
He turns to his bandmates. Each of them claps politely as they scope out chicks at the edge of the crowd.
Turk! Check out the rack on that one.
Stunning. Goddamn stunning.
Arden’s eyes go wide. He gets in their faces and points to Trent on stage.
Assholes - put those eyeballs back in your fuckin’ sockets and focus your brains for once!
The guys try hard to keep their eyes off the chicks.
Come on, Arden. Let us at least enjoy the benefits that come with this gig.
The real benefits will come later, F.F. And when they do, you my friend will be swimming in pussy!
Really? Swimming?
Arden makes exaggerated swimming motions, bobbing his smiling head up and down.
Yeah man - you’ll be the Michael Phelps of vagina!
The guys giggle like schoolyard boys - until a FEMALE STAGE MANAGER (30s) wearing a headset taps Arden on his shoulder.
Vehement Volition? The sound crew wants to go over some things.
Arden drops the swimming routine, embarrassed.
Uh... yeah. Gotcha.
The Stage Manager walks off. Turk points to the sound board and crew in a booth at the center of the auditorium.
That board looks badass. I hope we get individual monitor mixes.
Shouldn’t be a problem. I’m going tell them I like extra bass in my--
You’re not gonna tell them shit! Richie, just go make sure your gear’s set up right. I’ll tell the sound guy what you need.
Richie frowns, disappointed.
Yeah. Sure you will.
Arden walks off into the crowd, leaving the band alone at the side of the stage as he heads toward the sound board.