Neil’s band calls itself The Storefront Ninjas. They have four to six members, usually guitars and drums, though Neil can do a passable job on keyboards if needed. When performing on their own, they play a rough hybrid of Funk, Jazz, and Rock with a few other genres tossed in depending on the mood of the room. When they’re playing for a particular group and not just in a bar or club, they play whatever style has been requested. Their sound has been compared to the Ramones or The Clash.
Officially the band has been “on hiatus” for several months, but one of Neil’s high school buddies rushed a fraternity at a nearby university, and to garner points with them, suggested Neil’s group for the fall mixer. The prospect of an actual paying gig is enough to bring them out of the semi-retirement imposed by most of them going away to different schools — though a couple are too far away to make it back — and necessitates their rehearsal. Abigail joins them on saxophone, guitar, and lead vocals.
When Abigail sits in with them, they’re impressed with her voice and her guitar work, but what most interests them is her saxophone playing. As Neil later tells her, they’ve been wanting to expand their sound, and Abigail’s presence helps. She generally gets along with everyone except Freddy, the drummer, who pretty much has a beef with everyone in the group. In fact, the only reason he’s with them, is because they’re tolerable of his usually sour disposition, largely because they respect his playing and technique. He’s a few years older than the rest of the group, and the closest to a professional musician. The band appreciates that he reliability shows up for rehearsals and shows, and adds a sense of maturity to the band, when he’s not lambasting them for their lack of work ethic. Despite his complaints, he appreciates the fact that he’s not been fired due to internal disputes, as he has been with all his other bands.
Neil and Abigail attempt a few duets on some songs they both know, and everyone agrees they work well together. Their voices have an interesting contrast; Neil is a high tenor whose voice is particularly suited for Zeppelin or Queen songs, and Abigail a contralto whose singing reminds her bandmates of Annie Lennox or Shirley Manson. They also master the give and take of duets fairly quickly, almost as though they’ve been working together much longer than the few minutes they actually have. By the end of the rehearsal, Abigail has fully integrated herself into the group and all are looking forward to their upcoming gig with the new configuration.
At the party, after the obligatory renditions of Shout, Louie Louie, and What I Like About You, the band settles into mostly dance music with occasional vocals split between Abigail and Neil, with one duet. Neil is pleased to see how well Abigail fits in with the others and with how well their voices blend when they sing together. She exhibits a good deal of showmanship, particularly while soloing on the saxophone. Neil finds he’s drawn to her, but cannot figure out why. She’s not typically the type of woman he dates, and hasn’t exhibited much interest in him on more than a friendly level. After much inner conflict, he decides to push his luck and approach her after the show to see if he has a chance.