Traffic jam

Gliding back to Sacramento between pockets of city lights, the party bus was oddly still. Potential energy buzzed in piles of crushed beer cans teetering at the feet of slumped bodies; occasionally, the energy would find its way to a release in the lightning flash of a camera. The murmur of voices would rise to a thunderous level, then back off in exhaustion. The party had been a tremendous success.

Six hours earlier, before the chartered bus had even arrived on the Old Sacramento corner crowded with eager fans, the lukewarm lagers had begun to circulate—followed quickly by introductions and newfound camaraderie among strangers. All had gathered to support 2Me, a local, self-described “folk ’n’ roll” band en route to the international music festival Emergenza. In preparation to play in the second level of the competition in San Francisco, band members Conan, Christopher Gene Twomey, Nathan Brandon and Reid Foster gathered local fans to join them on a party bus filled with beer and music.

Taking place simultaneously in 18 countries, Emergenza is structured with a five-tier system for unsigned bands: eliminatory, semi-finals, city finals, national finals and international finals—which will be held in Germany this year. 2Me had passed the first level of eliminatory rounds already and was playing to land itself in the semi-finals.

The group got under way with shouts of “2Me!” and aluminum raised in salute with a “cheers.” Balloons bounced toward the front of the bus, followed by shouts of surprise as revelers realized the balloons were in fact inflated condoms. The party had begun.

The first signs of partial nudity and strangers making out occurred in Davis, a mere 20 minutes into the trip. Mini-bottles of hard liquor appeared, tucked into girls’ cleavage like keys to their already questionable chastity. From then, time was measured in Coors and Bud Lights, not minutes and hours.

San Francisco soon became a destination of great emergency and importance; the need for music surged through the crowd like ball lightning. Inevitably, the festivities reached a crescendo as 2Me took the stage at 12 Galaxies in the Mission. Crowding the stage, partygoers sang and danced along with what could be described as a cross between Paul Simon and the Grateful Dead. All the energy from the audience and the musical vitality of the band exploded in a frenzy of celebration. As 2Me concluded an amazing set, it was as if the partygoers had achieved their goal; then came the wait for their results.

In the end, as expended bodies poured into the seats of the bus, word came that 2Me had progressed in the competition and would be able to play in the semi-finals on June 1. With not one, but two buses planned for that gig, the energy is already on the rise.