Together they travelled from the Corner of Sky and Sea. It was quite the adventure with sailors with curved swords and seamonster fixations, and sea saltwater taffy, and various storms and various calms. When it was over they finally arrived somewhere on the coastline of what might have been Ireland, except for the fact that it wasn't.
In all the time they had travelled together, it had never occurred to the Tiny Alien to ask what a Band was. Possibly that was because the Ninja reminded the Tiny Alien of the Alex, but without the whole "what happened to the law of gravity" effect. The Ninja never altered physics, but he also didn't speak much and the Tiny Alien wasn't about to disrupt that, because secretly he was afraid that if he did, the Ninja might change time and space too, and really, one being like that per story is enough. However, the side effect was that the Tiny Alien found himself at building with a shiny laminated Pass that had his picture on it, in front of a Door with two giant beings that were dressed in black canvas and stretch cotton sporting bicepts the size of the Tiny Alien's head and a lot of decorative skin dye.
He stood tall and declared "Trick or Treat, or Else!"
"Aw gee, aren' you just the cutest thing." One of the large beings bared his teeth while looking down with a clipboard. The Tiny Alien knew that the tooth baring was friendly, but where he came from clipboards with papers on them did not bode well. The one with the clipboard nodded at the other one, who opened the Door. The Tiny Alien then noticed that while the Ninja had gotten him right up to the two black clad beings there were long queues of other beings snaking around the building some of whom were looking very unpleasantly at him. He also noticed that the Ninja was no longer there.
"Excuse me, but I am new around here, could you please tell me what a Band is?" he asked the kneecap of the being escorting him through a series of bluegray lit hallways.
"A Band is the way that people who've had to put their dreams and identities in quiet safe places get to live their dreams vicariously through the tiny group of people who put the real world and paying bills into a quiet safe place so that they can create music. "
"So the Band is a group of aesthetics?"
"More like functional hedonists, they do everything so everyone else doesn't have to. What kind of Band you like depends on which dreams and identities you have. But each Band that forms and stays together long enough to perform encapsulates someone's dreams, and gives those dreams forms and voices. Or bears witness to their experiences. When a Band makes music, the music makes the audience feel like themselves for a small period of time until they have to go back to what everyone else thinks they are. But in their hearts, they know that the Band knows who they are for real. And if the Band knows, why then they are real. Whichever Band it is. The closer the music is to their inner selves, the bigger fans they are of the Band."
"So which Band is this?" asked the Tiny Alien, wondering if he was real since he had never heard a Band. Then he started wondering which Bands the various people he had met liked. Then he realized he didn't know any Bands, so that was a particularly short-lived thought.
"This Band is called "The Moon's Fire Eating Daughter" which frankly, I don't get, and they've been travelling underground playing local gigs for a while, but this is a big break for them, but they know it's just for a little while. No one who sees them tonight will know them when they go back."
The Tiny Alien thought this was very odd, but couldn't figure out enough of what the Gentleman in Black was saying to ask the right questions. On the whole, it sounded like the Band might be just the kind of thing to help him find the Ultimate Treat.
Finally the winding but angular hallways stopped. They were let into a room that was beautifully lit and filled with food and candy and couches and video games, but no one was there. The Gentleman in Black opened up another door and there were five beings roughly the height of the Tiny Alien all humming and joking and clearing throats while typing away on tiny keyboards and in the corner was a stressed looking woman pacing back and forth on a miniscule communications device.
"Dude, you made it" said one of the five gentleman with what looked like oversized chopsticks in his hand. They were all wearing black, they all looked very intense but happy. He soon came to learn they were "getting ready for the gig".
It seems that part of the deal for the concert they were about to play was that they had to leave their fates up to the Powers -that-Be, and keep trying Come-What-May. In the course of the leaving and the trying, the Powers-that-be, let them know that there would be an Alien, and he would need to Redefine Things.
The lead singer sat him down and said many insightful and poetic things to him, the accordion player who was being stifled by playing lead guitar instead told him about the many ways to compromise when working in a team, the bassist told him about Jazz and the keyboardist invited him to the sound check.
That was when the Tiny Alien heard the Band, and they were Very Good, but he realized that they weren't His Band. They were singing someone else's dreams, but their songs made him think about that other person's dreams and experiences and the Tiny Alien felt like he could understand that other person in a way he wouldn't have if he hadn't listend to the songs. And that, as the drummer would say, was really rather brilliant.
After the sound check they went back to the beautifully lit room with all of the Treats and no Tricks to be seen anywhere. They laughed and sang and the Tiny Alien taught them some tunes from his world and he sang the Indie Oracle's song for them and they took copious notes.
The lead singer told him that after the concert, they would introduce him to the only person they knew who could help him, but after that it would either work out or not. The keyboardist suggested that if it didn't work out he could always write a song about it, because you never know where a song might lead you. And then, just like a dream where time moves too quickly when you are enjoying yourself, it was time for the concert. The Tiny Alien got to watch from the lighting control area surrounded by the comfortable whirrs of technology and randomly blinking lights.
And if you can remember the very first time you heard live music played well with a whole bunch of people who were there because they liked the music, then you should think about that time. Then it will almost be like you were the Tiny Alien, who was listening to live music with other beings for the first time ever, and living in that moment so completely that he might almost be you. That first Band might not have been your Band, but they will have changed a small piece of you forever, in an opening sort of way.
Almost like you were a Door.
And when it was over, the Tiny Alien hung out Backstage and was able to talk about the music, and the Band got to ask what they sounded like to someone who had never heard a Band before. And everyone got to feel special to the other ones. Which the lead singer declared meant that it was a Good Gig, even when everyone forgets later. But the Tiny Alien suddenly knew that he was never going to forget, even if the Band did, and that not forgetting was one of the reasons he had been given the Pass.
Settling down into that comfy thought he plumped up a pillow on a random couch an relaxed into it, setting his ray gun on "mild". He would leave it to the Band. Whatever else was going to happen next, it was probably going be OK, since he was with the Band.
Stay tuned for the next Episode when the Tiny Alien meets the only person who might be able to help. Will it work out or will our Tiny Alien have to take a class in music composition? We'll find out in the next episode of Tales of the Tiny Alien.