It's 9.30pm and we are waiting to go on. My fingers feel cold and my throat is tighter than normal. I look around and only see Matt who seems as cool as a cucumber. We're at Dry Live, the poster in the corner reads 'War of the Bands' and the band on stage finally finish with an over-enthusiastic clatter of drums and guitar that lasts for nearly 3 minutes.
Four people clap.
I need the loo but it doesn't look welcoming... ah well, when duty calls...
I finally spot Phil and Ben who both look how I feel, nervous. The 5ft 2" host reads our name out "...the ma.. the... matrix? ... how do you say it lads?" - good start! However, he has been a controversial figure all night with comments aimed at the crowd, telling them to "cheer the fuck up". It didn't work. This announcement just adds to a long run of blunders that have prompted jeers from a bunch of lads near the stage.
Probably had too much to drink.
Just for the record, it's pronounced "Ma-ree-voe".
Plugged in and lit up, we wait for the compere to stumble off the stage and then we begin. The nerves immediately turn into adrenaline and we are doing what we love to do. The crowd cheer and we all smile. It was a good performance - even if we were cut short by the sound engineer. People start chanting 'one more song'. Good gig. Cue the drunk midget.
Slight downer on the night...
All the money made went to charity. That's not my complaint. What I took issue with was when the venue said we'd taken £50 for ourselves. Phil and Pete sort it out but there is a slightly sour taste left in our mouths.
It's now 11pm and the winner won't be announced until 2am. We did our best but now it's time to leave. I go to get the car - now £15 lighter in petrol - and pack the up the equipment. Home time now and I look back at the venue with a feeling of satisfaction. The drive home is calm and quiet - I enjoy night drives. Quick stop at McDonalds and then to bed.
By the way, at 3am they announced the winner... we won!