One of the worst gigs......with some perks.

Let me elaborate on one of the worst shows I've ever played.

Check it out. This was back in September, me and the guys were slated to play with Death Pilot and a couple openers. We're thinking that it's gonna be a good show. Rock the house, make some friends, have a few drinks, the usual. Oh, it was far from that.....

We show up, finding out that it's a movie theater inside a bowling alley, converted to accomodate live bands. We had heard of this place before, and it seemed pretty cool, seeing as the word "Theater" is in the venue's name, and it's next door to another popular rock bar/club in the area. We were thinking it was an actual theater, ya know, for live performances.

Then we see a bunch of young teenage kids running around, hanging out and being, well, teenagers. The place was a teenage hangout. Okay, no problem with that, we can gain some new fans.

Now we pull around back, Death Pilot is loading in. I step inside and I'm horrified.

It was a rundown, old movie theater. A stage setup/built in front of a ripped, tattered movie screen. The place was dingy and dirty, more like gross. The seats were ripped, some broken. And there was at least two inches of water on the floor and and no sound system, no lighting rig or anything, like a normal venue. My guitar player Chuck coined it right when he arrived and said "Dude, this is probably gonna suck." This place was not fit at all to have live bands.

Death Pilot is loaded in, we move our gear up onstage and set up. Sound guy hasn't shown up yet with the PA, and the place is pretty much empty, people wise. A few of the Death Pilot guys are sitting in the last row of the theater, a few of our people, the other band on the bill, and other various people. I let loose on the kit for about 10 minutes, seeing as there was nothing else to do, playing whatever came to head, just improvising.

I go outside where the Death Pilot guys are and our crew and hang out. This young guy wearing a hat comes up to me and says "Hey man, you're pretty good, you've got some killer chops. I was in there watching when you were playing the kit" I had no idea who he was, so I thanked him for the props and we introduced ourselves and who we played for. He goes "Yea, I'm the drummer for Death Pilot" then he goes "You're probably the best drummer I've played with on this tour." Cool. Thank you. But I still had no idea who exactly he was. We talked shop about this and that for probably a good half hour or more. Judging from the conversations we had, he had been in the business, but never mentioned anything about his previous bands. I found out exactly who he was a few days later by visiting Death Pilot's myspace page and looking at his page. Come to find out, Death Pilot's drummer was Alexei Rodriguez from 3 Inches of Blood and Walls of Jericho. Wow. It was rather flattering now that i look back on it, that he gave me props on my playing and told me I was the best drummer he had played with and seen on the Death Pilot tour. But, we talked like regular people, fellow musicians. Maybe he was afraid I would get all starstruck or something if I knew who he played for in the past, which might explain why he didn't really mention anything about it in our conversations that night. But I don't get all starstruck crazy though.

Anyway, showtime, we go on, and the place is still empty. The sound guy had the PA set up. One mic in the kick, and 3 vocal mics up front for my lead singer and my guitar players. The sound was downright horrible. The sound guy did a quick check before we played and left, never came back. He was at the bowling alley bar all night. There was maybe 10 people in the place, nobody very responsive. No monitors, PA speakers out in front of us, I was up high, we couldn't hear shit. It was downright horrible. Our lead singer made a mockery of the situation, by getting sarcastically excited and yelling "__insert venue name___ You guys fuckin' ROCK!" when there was no action on the floor, just people with blank stares, sitting in the seats.
We weren't allowed to bring drinks from the bar, onstage either.

When it came to a crowd participation/sing along part in one of our songs, it didn't happen. 3 people did it. Other than that, you could hear the crickets. I remember playing, looking out to the front row of seats at Bill, my drum tech, just shaking my head in disbelief.

One of the worst shows ever.

Death Pilot kicked ass, brought their own lights and tweaked the sound for their set. Cool guys, we hung out with them afterwards. They dug us alot and put the offer out there to do another show together next time they're in town. I felt bad for those guys, they came all the way from California, and ended up playing that shitty place, a long way from home. We all made the best of it though and got through it and made some friends.

Anybody else got some really bad gig stories?
 

randomdrum

New member
We once played a gig at Heaven and Hell in Liverpool (don't even know if it's still there, this was years ago now!), but the promoter had booked about 10 bands, starting at 8 and supposedly finishing by 11 I think. Ludicrous! But life goes on anyway.

So the first band go on, sound is awful but they play on. Second band go on, sound is getting worse and worse. Third band go on, sound is literally falling to pieces, they give up. Meanwhile, 3 bands have been told they need to go home (they hired a van to get them over and stuff) without pay. We go on, crowd is crappy (the dreaded semi-circle of indifference has been there all night thus far), and the PA breaks entirely so now we are minus vocals and trombone. Robin, our singer/trombonist, ends up running out into the crowd and just rapping in peoples faces and playing his trombone in the big gap. It was quite funny and we kinda won it back through that.

After that the gig just disintegrated into nothing, headline band took their backline and went, and lots of people were not happy. Refunds had to be given out, bands had to paid something, and the promoter lost lots of money. All because of horrendous organisation!

That's among my worst gig experiences, though I have others! Haha
 

Assback

New member
Worst gigs for me is when we play Fontana (the town next door to mine). They have a pretty aight ska-core scene, which is good and all, but nobody seems to react to anything else. When we play there people just sit around being wall flowers or just staring blankly at us waiting for us to get off. This usually ends with us playing a very unenthusiastic and bad set. Then we just get wasted.

why play a town that doesn't dig you? why not? always a chance to get a new fan and being a big ska fan and a fan of many of the local Fontana bands, I might as well play those shows because I know I'd be there anyways
 

SINISTER

New member
Touring is NOT an easy job! As far as shitty venues, we've all played them ......it's just part of the ride. As far as no crowd response/low attendance, you have to promote the shit out of your shows and sell tickets to anyone and everyone you can! That Guarantees good crowds and rowdyness.

$0.02
 

drummerduba

New member
randomdrum":3ktnp58a said:
We once played a gig at Heaven and Hell in Liverpool (don't even know if it's still there, this was years ago now!), but the promoter had booked about 10 bands, starting at 8 and supposedly finishing by 11 I think. Ludicrous! But life goes on anyway.

So the first band go on, sound is awful but they play on. Second band go on, sound is getting worse and worse. Third band go on, sound is literally falling to pieces, they give up. Meanwhile, 3 bands have been told they need to go home (they hired a van to get them over and stuff) without pay. We go on, crowd is crappy (the dreaded semi-circle of indifference has been there all night thus far), and the PA breaks entirely so now we are minus vocals and trombone. Robin, our singer/trombonist, ends up running out into the crowd and just rapping in peoples faces and playing his trombone in the big gap. It was quite funny and we kinda won it back through that.

After that the gig just disintegrated into nothing, headline band took their backline and went, and lots of people were not happy. Refunds had to be given out, bands had to paid something, and the promoter lost lots of money. All because of horrendous organisation!

That's among my worst gig experiences, though I have others! Haha
i think it still is there
was quite funny seeing the hell bar was upstairs

i was there back in 2004 or 05 playing a dry bar show, one of th crappest gigs ever lol
 

randomdrum

New member
Assback":3gtmwe2o said:
Worst gigs for me is when we play Fontana (the town next door to mine). They have a pretty aight ska-core scene, which is good and all, but nobody seems to react to anything else. When we play there people just sit around being wall flowers or just staring blankly at us waiting for us to get off. This usually ends with us playing a very unenthusiastic and bad set. Then we just get wasted.

why play a town that doesn't dig you? why not? always a chance to get a new fan and being a big ska fan and a fan of many of the local Fontana bands, I might as well play those shows because I know I'd be there anyways
You another ska-corer? :D What's your band called?
 
Yea, the Death Pilot show was poorly organized. I don't think that the promoter had his shit together. We promoted the hell out of it, especially on our side of town, but it's kind of hard to drag people all the way from our area down to Chesterfield.

What tops it off, is we were supposed to get paid, and we never did.
I've played just about everywhere, from a pizza parlor, to a bar in a the ghetto on a weekly basis during one summer, to a full blown concert theater packed to the brim with people.
Good thing we didn't sell tickets for that show. We're not into the whole selling tickets thing for local shows, even if the band we're playing with is the biggest local band in town. We've found that it's complete BS to do that and we're only making the promoter money and the fact remains, that big local band, is still just a local band, just like us. Why should we have to sell tickets for a show that we're playing with a band that is on the same scene as we are?
Same with those local shows with 8 bands on the bill. Nobody is gonna pay 12 dollars a ticket to go see 8 local bands they've never heard of.

Same with those battle of the bands contests where you have to sell tickets. I've done that too many times, and not to toot my own horn, but I've been in some kickass bands that played some of those contests and that blew most of the bands off the stage, but never won. But it all comes down to ticket sales, and it's usually a lower caliber band that wins, because they sold a ridiculous amount of tickets. You can be the best band on the bill and completely mop the floor with the competition, but that low grade, not so good band, ends up winning because they sold a bunch of tickets to their friends and brought them all to cheer the most for them. Ridiculous and a waste of time in my book and not an ideal way to judge a battle of the bands, I think. It doesn't make it fair at all. It's all about how much money the promoter and event organizer can rake in from the ticket sales from all the bands, while all but one of the bands on the show get fucked and waste their time trying to sell all those tickets.

Now, for national shows, we have no problem selling tickets and we do exceptionally well at it, because it's a national band and we have a good fanbase and we are popular around Metro Detroit, even around the world from what I heard. (We found out we were on a German podcast and they were talking about us. The internet does wonders!)
You put our band and a national well known band in the same sentence, people are amazed and think it's totally cool and will wanna come out to see two bands they like (us and the national) and kill two birds with one stone. Guaranteed ticket sales.

Maybe we should start telling people we're opening for Metallica and even more people will come out to the local shows, hahaha.
 

BR523

New member
This kind of thing reminds me of one of our very first gigs back almost 2 years ago. We got offered a spot on this bill that these people were putting together, they called themselves the "Philadelphia Rock Club" or something dumb sounding, which they were just starting out. They made it seem like they were real promoters putting on showcases for local bands, so of course we were interested since we were new and need exposure. We get to the place, which is in a real bad part of the city. They never told us what kind of venue it was, but when we get inside, it's just a giant warehouse. It was supposed to be some kind of art gallery or something, but really crappy and kinda creepy too. the show was run by some hippie family. Very nice people, but kinda off. They promised beer and food for everyone who came...which really meant a case of skunked Natty light and a big pot of some kind of strew that they cooked themselves. There were also about 10 other people there, which were just friends of the kids in the family, and the other bands. The two girls in the family were belly dancers who performed also, which was cool/weird. The first band was some highschool kids who were terrible, but they provided the PA and ran the sound which wasn't too bad. The next band had this incredible bass player who we made friends with after they played, which turned out to be a good connection since he now does booking at a cool venue and hooked us up with some nice gigs in the past year, and also currently gives lessons to our bass player. That was the only beneficial thing about the night. When we went on stage (aka the corner of the giant room) there was still hardly anyone there, really just the hippie family dancing around an empty warehouse while we played. My drums sounded pretty cool with the acoustics of the warehouse, but that was it.

There are a couple more gigs that I feel were a waste of my time, but that one still stands out. I don't expect every gig to be great, so nowadays I don't let them get me down when it happens. As long as there is a really good gig that comes along once in a while to balance it out.
 

Assback

New member
randomdrum":3v4ae0lb said:
Assback":3v4ae0lb said:
Worst gigs for me is when we play Fontana (the town next door to mine). They have a pretty aight ska-core scene, which is good and all, but nobody seems to react to anything else. When we play there people just sit around being wall flowers or just staring blankly at us waiting for us to get off. This usually ends with us playing a very unenthusiastic and bad set. Then we just get wasted.

why play a town that doesn't dig you? why not? always a chance to get a new fan and being a big ska fan and a fan of many of the local Fontana bands, I might as well play those shows because I know I'd be there anyways
You another ska-corer? :D What's your band called?
My band's called HannaH http://www.myspace.com/dannygloveryoass but we're not ska-core. just fans of the music :)

esp. since it's local and since the scenes got a Latin/ ska/ metal/ punk/ reggae/ rock fusion going on

random hand's pretty good. i checked you foos on the net before
 

Mikey Ramone

New member
worst gig of my life was also my last, to date. I'll have to set the scene a little. Our last show before this one was with the Casualties and the Krum Bums (two of the biggest street punk bands going right now), and we got a pretty good crowd response. Before this we had been having problems with our lead singer, but everything seemed to get a little better after the Casualties show. anyways, we had another show about 9 days later with a few other local bands. Our lead singer booked the show, even though i really didn't want to do it because our prom was the night before, i agreed. So, at Prom i drank a 26oz of bacardi premium white rum, 12 bottles of pabst, and 3 bacardi breezers (i was out of alcohol but my gf wasn't :p) so the next day i was pretty hungover and not at all happy at doing a show i didn't want to do. But i showed up to my lead singer bitching about how we were going to be late. I told him maybe next time he should drive. It should also be pointed out that i was always the one that had to drive to our gigs and watch the 3 other members of my band smoke pot and drink. So i was a little ticked. Anyways, we were the second band on and when we took the stage there were literally 3 people in the venue. A little drastic of a change from the 500 kids we played to last. anyways, only our bass player wasn't hungover as he went to another school. Our guitarist didn't tune his guitar, and our singer stood there like a pole mumbling the songs. I played my ass off, doing my best under the conditions. With all the disappointments and annoyances and past history with the lead singer being a royal asshole i told them i quit. So the guitarist who is also a really good friend of mine said he was out too then. Then out bassist was like, well i'm out too then. So the band was pretty much done. I had had enough of writing all the lyrics and writing all the music with the guitarist.

Now though, we've all worked out our differences and we're getting back together with a new lineup. I'm on vox now, as i had been getting better response on the 2 songs i sang for than our singer. and we're bringing in a new bassist and a trumpeteer as we're going for a ska core sound now. and the lead singer is on drums and he's back to being a good guy like when we first met as he's sorted out the personal problems that were dictating his behaviour.
 

Alan_

New member
we played to like 10 people last night. the gig was on 6th street, our local street with nothing but bars up and down it. I hate playing gigs there, due to the fact that the audience will most likely be made up of nothing but drunken obnoxious college students, plus loading in and out of clubs on the street and finding parking is a royal bitch. anyway, that's actually all the bitching I'm gonna do. aside from parking/loading, last night was pretty good. the folks who did come were VERY enthusiastic, and we made friends with the bar owner, who also ran quite servicable sound for us. If we'd looked at the gig as a negative and had an attitude about playing/dealing with folks, we would have missed making that contact. She wants to book us some more, with bands that are a garuanteed draw, which will widen our audience. The show tonight should make up for last night's crappy attendance tho. it's at one of the main bars we play here in town. we usually get at least a hundred folks packed into that little dive. The only downside is that we have to bring our own pa, but hey, no soundman to pay only to have them mess up our mix.

I'm trying to think of some spectacularly crappy shows to relate. gimme a minute and I'll see what I can remember.
 

SmellsLikeIan

New member
JEEEEZUS PARKING SUCKS BALLS ON 6TH STREET!!!!!!

Anyhoo, if someone comes up to us before our set and asks if we do any George Strait, or if we get to the bar and NONE of the flyers we sent them are on the walls and one of the bartendresses asks us what kind of music we play, it's a 50/50 chance it's gonna be a slow night. As far as a sucky night, that usually takes a shithook bar owner/manager who tries to screw us on our tab or skimp on our pay (not happening!) at the last minute. A slow night I can tolerate, I just can't stand blatantly dishonest club owners or promoters.
 

Alan_

New member
ok, here we go. this is a recent one.

during south by southwest, they have a bunch of shows not related to the festival that go down in various spots here in austin. I usually end up playing at least 2-3 times during the festival week whether I'm in a band that's in the actual sxsw proceedings or not.

one such show this year was a gay/lesbian music festival, in a HUGE backyard that's pretty central/in the middle of town. This one was completely run by women. This is important for a reason I will relate later. So, I show up with Stan (lead guy in one project I do) and our bass player about an hour before we're supposed to play. One of the women running the show comes up and informs us that we've been pushed back an hour to include another act. Ok, so we wait around through the end of the current act playing and through most of the next act. At this point the same woman comes up again and tells us that one of the members of the band playing after us has to be somewhere at a certain time, so we're being pushed back again. so, we wait. after that band finishes, we are informed that there's going to be a mini-set by this lesbian polka band before we play. this goes on for 30 minutes. I should also mention that we were the only group that wasn't made up of lesbians. SO, we finally get onstage, make adjustments to the equipment, plug in, tune up, and as we're about to start playing...the cops show up.

This is not the first time a band I've been in has been treated less than stellar when playing an event that's largely being run by/played by lesbians. Far from it, something weird/crappy involving when we play or how long we play or how much we get paid seems to happen almost every time. I have many lesbian friends, this isn't a slight to em in ANY way except to say that I will NEVER play another event that is lesbian-focused in this town. Not even getting to play due to getting our slot moved back almost 3 hours was the last freakin straw. Not sure if it's just some sort of "how do you like it now that the shoe's on the other foot, you MAN?" mentality or what, but I'm done.

Conversely, every time we've ever played in a gay bar has been off the freakin chain. Get treated like rockstars, free adult beverages of the expensive/tasty persuasion (seriously, when was the last time you got comped for 5 double Macallan 18 year single malt on ice?), and just all round good vibes and great audiences.
 

Gretschman1

New member
The worst gig I never played was to drive 600 miles to find the place I was supposed to play in burned to the ground...no income for two weeks!
 

SmellsLikeIan

New member
Ok, here's one. We were playing a party in Stephenville (a redneck town with a college called Tarleton State that focuses on agriculture) at a friend's house. All of a sudden, about half of the Tarelton football team shows up. So now we have a hundred and fifty shit kicking cowboys and about fifty black dudes. Anyone from the south probably already knows what went down.

Somebody looked at someone the wrong way, somebody said some shit, so on and so forth, and lo and behold we have a huge fight going on. I'm standing in the back of a pickup bed watching 30 pairs of fists fly (it looked like a scene in a Tom and Jerry cartoon where the cats and dogs are fighting and all you see is a cloud of dust and some flailing limbs occasionally). Some poor kid with a brand new pickup is trying to keep people from smashing into the side of it (someone got slammed into it hard enough to dent the side of the bed) and he gets punched in the face and his nose ends up broken.

Finally the fighting stops, and right when we start playing again the local cops show up. We start playing a song by Junior Brown called Highway Patrol, but the guitar player sings it with different lyrics:

"I've got a star on my car and one on my chest
I think my shit don't stink, I've got the right to arrest."

This female cop walks up with her mace out and says "Shut it down.....NOW." Look it up, it's on youtube.

By this time, several people have gone into the house or off in the field to hide. A couple of dudes were in the bathroom with the door locked. The lady cop said "you better open this door or we'll kick it down" so the poor dudes opened it only to have guns in their faces. They got hauled off to jail.

A few hours later, the band is eating at the local 24 hour mexican food joint (how awesome is that, enchiladas at 3 am!) and the SAME COPS are eating there, as well as a few of the kids from the party that didn't end up in jail. I thought we were all going to take a trip to the pokey that night as well, especially when one kid kept screaming "AMIGO!!!! MORE TOSTADAS AND CHILE!!!!" every time he ran out of salsa. But we made it out of there and back to the hotel without incident, fortunately.

The shittiest part of all, though, was that the guitarist's brother (who was sharing the room) had a nutty ex-wife who kept calling his cell phone until 5 am. He was so drunk he didn't answer it so I had to hear "Honky Tonk Badonka Donk" 50 fucking times and never got any sleep.
 

Gretschman1

New member
That has got to be the worst I've heard yet. I know about Stephenville, my son's band "Chuck Norris" was picketed by a local Church group when they played there.
 

VOLAR

New member
My band was hired by the Chugach Native Association to play after their annual shareholders meeting. The entire function was held in the Orca Ballroom in the Tulalip Casino which is north of Seattle, WA.
The stage was roomy and the room was huuuuuuuuuuuuge. Our light show was projected onto 4 enormous screens. 2 at the rear and 2 on the left side of the stage.
We were scheduled to start at 8:30 pm and play 2 sets. The meeting ran an hour overtime. I was scanning the crowd and it appeared to me that these people were not really into our musical scene.
As soon as the meeting was over all but 4 people exited the room to go and gamble. We played the first set which lasted an hour. We were 15 minutes into the second set and were told to "wrap it up".
On the bright side we were paid $800 in advance and there are 4 of us in the band.
We like to joke that the cover charge was $200 a head.
 

SmellsLikeIan

New member
I've had a gig or two like that. Not that I'm usually the sympathetic type, but it does make you feel bad for the venue owner. Indian casinos are usually a bit of a drag it seems. People generally go there to gamble and that's it. Vegas may be a different thing, the last few years they've been trying pretty hard to emphasize a more "family oriented" vibe (catch a show or two, eat some fancy crap, take the kids to the amusement park, and oh yeah, there's gambling too) but if you're in the wrong place it probably still sucks.
 
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