Bad gig experiences...

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Panama_Jack666Panama_Jack666 Frets: 2563
edited December 2017 in Live
We've not done this in a while...

I've had all the problems tonight. Amp problems, guitar problems, tuning problems, pedal problems, playing problems.

Just completely pissed off with it for silly reasons!

Cheer me up! Tell me your bad gig experiences.
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  • rsvmarkrsvmark Frets: 565
    So we set off from my house at 5pm, or shortly thereafter. The traffic was an utter bastard and the M40 was bumper to bumper so took us 30mins to clear the Stratford junction which I can normally do in 7 mins. Pootling up north the twit nav started to get a bit funny- you know, when multiple issues cause it to continually re calculate the route. Traffic was slow on the M42 and we were still in static traffic an hour later. We finally started to move on the A38 when the trumpet player rang. 'Forget the A38- I haven't moved in 45 mins'..... So we dived off and went right around the minor (and I mean minor) roads via Burton and re joined the A38. We eventually arrived at the venue, some 2.5 hours later to find the doors open and the punters in.

    mad dash to set up, and no chance of a sound check. So right now I am utterly starving having had a biscuit and a coffee at 11am. A mercy dash to the keyboardist house for. Slice of pizza and something to drink. So what's the plan? 'Well, the sound guy reckons he can get something half decent by a song or 2 in....' OK, so that's too bad. 'But we may have an issue, the dep singer has flu....'

    So we get back to the venue and we are cutting it fine. We were due on at 8.45 but no sign of said singer. The punters were clearly getting restless and in walks said singer, as white as a ghost who is up for seeing how it goes....

    2 songs in and I am getting really high pitched feedback when the compressor is on....it's fine when not, but I use the compressor for a lot of funky stuff. A mad fiddle with pick up selectors reveals no solution so press on without said pedal.

    midway through the first set, the singers voice had been holding out.... Well not after that one. Her voice clearly starting to go.....by the end of the first set it was utterly shot.

    So what now? As luck would have it, there is a guy who has had some experience- we grab him no he opens the second set with Play that funky music, shake a tail feather and Uptown funk. We have managed to get as much honey into the singer as we can no she resumes duties until the keyboard player comes out to finish the second set.

    talk about a stressful night. Apparently we were ace! Good to see that pissed up punters had a good time...... And we are doing it all again tomorrow night. What fun!
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  • rsvmark said:
    So we set off from my house at 5pm, or shortly thereafter. The traffic was an utter bastard and the M40 was bumper to bumper so took us 30mins to clear the Stratford junction which I can normally do in 7 mins. Pootling up north the twit nav started to get a bit funny- you know, when multiple issues cause it to continually re calculate the route. Traffic was slow on the M42 and we were still in static traffic an hour later. We finally started to move on the A38 when the trumpet player rang. 'Forget the A38- I haven't moved in 45 mins'..... So we dived off and went right around the minor (and I mean minor) roads via Burton and re joined the A38. We eventually arrived at the venue, some 2.5 hours later to find the doors open and the punters in.

    mad dash to set up, and no chance of a sound check. So right now I am utterly starving having had a biscuit and a coffee at 11am. A mercy dash to the keyboardist house for. Slice of pizza and something to drink. So what's the plan? 'Well, the sound guy reckons he can get something half decent by a song or 2 in....' OK, so that's too bad. 'But we may have an issue, the dep singer has flu....'

    So we get back to the venue and we are cutting it fine. We were due on at 8.45 but no sign of said singer. The punters were clearly getting restless and in walks said singer, as white as a ghost who is up for seeing how it goes....

    2 songs in and I am getting really high pitched feedback when the compressor is on....it's fine when not, but I use the compressor for a lot of funky stuff. A mad fiddle with pick up selectors reveals no solution so press on without said pedal.

    midway through the first set, the singers voice had been holding out.... Well not after that one. Her voice clearly starting to go.....by the end of the first set it was utterly shot.

    So what now? As luck would have it, there is a guy who has had some experience- we grab him no he opens the second set with Play that funky music, shake a tail feather and Uptown funk. We have managed to get as much honey into the singer as we can no she resumes duties until the keyboard player comes out to finish the second set.

    talk about a stressful night. Apparently we were ace! Good to see that pissed up punters had a good time...... And we are doing it all again tomorrow night. What fun!
    That actually does make me feel way better! Thanks for sharing!
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  • I’ve just finished a 3 hour set to a bar full of coked up scousers, I nearly wrapped my guitar around one guys head at one point. 
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  • FezFez Frets: 200
    Last night while setting I was plugging one of the lights in and my left thumb went pop so had to play the gig with a sprained thumb. it's now red and quite swollen but it was a corking gig.
    Don't touch that dial.
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  • MayneheadMaynehead Frets: 1172
    Worst time was when I turned up for a small festival, got on stage, set up, and about 10 seconds before we were due to start, realised I forgot to bring my amp footswitch!

    I relied on the footswitch for everything from switching channels, solo boost and switching the fx loop on off. After a brief “oh shit” moment, I proceeded to set the amp manually to ch2, which was my crunch sound, and had to control my tone using a combination of boost pedal and guitar volume. Considering I’d NEVER tried this before, even at home, it was a bit of a baptism of fire.

    Luckily it didn’t sound too terrible, but I was on edge through the whole gig and I’m sure that affected my playing. Was just glad to get through it though!
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  • Stereo amp set-up. Both failed over the course of the set, one after the other. Took to the tech and both were ‘fixed’ same thing happened at the next gig a week later, both went back to the tech and then got sold, wasn’t risking that again! 
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  • Haven’t had a REALLY bad gig just the usual minor backline issues with pedal boards and power supplies, one gig in Edinburgh my mates power supply adapter broke just when we were setting up and he literally had to plug straight into the amp, no tuner no effects. We managed to get through the show, there wasn’t really anyone there either just the other bands who we were on tour with at the time. 

    I remember another where my wireless transmitter fell off my strap as I stupidly used a Velcro tie to fasten it and it slipped out during the first song, the compartment flew open and the batteries fell out across the stage. A few embarrassing minutes later I managed to pop them back in and shove the transmitter in my back pocket for the rest of the show. From then onwards I use gaffer tape and haven't had an issue.

    Apart from playing some right dives and encountering some weird characters in other bands it’s not been too bad. I’ve also got the lucky distinction of never breaking a string during a gig.
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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 1004
    Hmm.. where to start...

    Had a gig once where the drummer was so pissed up that he just played one drum beat for the whole set.. i mean  non-stop.. one beat, didn't stop between songs... i mean.. it was a good beat, but adapting songs on the fly to work with this wasn't the easiest task.

    Another time, i managed to fall off the PA, landed on some audience, spent the rest of the gig on my back. Luckily was only a couple of songs left :)

    I think in that same gig i managed to bash someone round the head with guitar and caused a nasty bump. Currently married to that person, still not forgiven. Incident happened before we started dating. 

    The singer of another band i was in used to lift me on his shoulders during certain solos, unfortunately when picking me up he managed to hit my pedalboard and mute my signal, so when starting the solo nothing happened..  so i look like a dick up on some dudes shoulders trying to figure out why my guitary no worky. It's a long solo and the singer doesn't realise for quite a while that nothing is being played.. 

    Fun times :)
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  • NeillNeill Frets: 373
    Don't know where to start, or finish.

    Last gig I played was to an empty room - how's that?

    Or maybe the time we were booked to do a Blues Brothers themed party, learned all the songs, got the costumes but the organiser had either forgotten or omitted to tell the invited guests, none of which seemed very keen on the Blues Brothers.

    Did an open air gig in the pouring rain once, we were assigned a sort of gazebo to keep us dry but a pool formed on the roof we just noticed it in time and got all the gear away before the roof caved in and we all got soaked, I'm not making this up. 



     
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  • JohnPerryJohnPerry Frets: 1297
    Played a wedding once with a lead guitarist  who had a Johnny Thunders fixation. He wasn't much of a drinker and only about 19 but he nonetheless thought it part of his Thunderish duties to down a half-bottle of Bells before we went on, whereupon he played the entire first song a semitone sharp.

    There was no way of communicating with him and it somehow seemed worse to stop.

    In hindsight this was the high point of the gig which was abandoned half a dozen songs later.

    The couple were divorced in a year. 

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  • Actually I just remembered, back in August I played a show in Brighton and cos the van wasn't available we had to take breakables in cars. I had to take the bulk of the stuff like heads and pedal boards in mine. Set off from West London, got onto M25 and I hear this weird whining noise everytime I accelerated over 60mph. Clutch was going. Coupled with it raining heavily, I couldn't see much and the windows were getting fogged up had the heaters on full blast. Turn off M25 onto M23 and its still whining, I think to myself if I can just get there, play the gig I'll sort the clutch out later. Halfway on the M23 there's a horrid burning smell and its becoming more hard to change gear, esp into 1st or 2nd. I crawl along at around 50mph and manage to get to venue, only for a loud rattling sound to come from the engine. Unload and then the task of finding somewhere to park, nearly impossible in the City Centre. By this time the gear stick had died on me and even come off as I changed at some lights. I made 2 trips round the block and still couldn't find anywhere, had to settle for The Lanes car park. All this with 20 minutes to set up before we play! Raced in and had to set up TWO rigs as I was filling in for a mate and usually tech for the guitarist. The set actually went down well and equipment/set wise there was no issues.

    After I had the task of trying to figure out how to get home. Had to call the RAC to come out to look at the motor, it was midnight at this point by the time we had packed up. Luckily they were out within 25 minutes and diagnosed the clutch/gear stick was bust and I had to be towed home. Even the mechanic asked "how the fuck did you get from West London to Brighton with a fucked up gear stick/clutch?!" I just said "had a gig to get to mate..." and he laughed it off.

    Eventually got home around 3am after being towed. I think car-wise and journey-wise its the worst, but the actual playing at the venue was fine!
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  • JayGeeJayGee Frets: 459
    I’m currently flipping a mental coin between The Bowling Alley Where Nobody Ever Came and The Wedding Where Nobody Wanted Us, but I think the wedding wins.

    The first of those was a gig with a Punk/New Wave covers band at a bowling alley in Harlow. Literally an empty room (other than three people on the lane furthest away from the bar area where we were playing. Bizarrely we got another couple of dates there where the same thing happened (apparently the manager and staff really liked us, and had an entertainment budget they couldn’t think of anything better to do with) before somebody (I’m still not sure whether it was them or us) decided it just wasn’t worth the effort.

    As for the second one, that was the current rock covers band, Solar 9. We don’t normally do weddings or similar functions, the only exceptions being when it’s a “friend of the band” who knows exactly what we do and what they’ll be getting but on this occasion we got an approach from an agency who’d previously booked us a few decent gigs and events offering (by our standards) a shed-load of money and adamant that we were exactly what his client was looking for to liven up their evening reception. We rolled up at the agreed venue and the agreed time to find that nobody seemed to be expecting us and that a DJ had already commandeered most of the stage, nevertheless after a bit of head scratching we got set up and kicked off set 1 of our contractual obligation to an empty hall while everybody buggered off for drinks and nibbles, only to re-appear when the (excruciatingly loud) DJ kicked off again. Set 2 went pretty much the same way, and seeing how the wind was blowing we did the shortest possible set in a desultory manner, packed up (to the accompaniment of complete silence, ear-bleeding DJ aside), and left without (as far as I know) speaking to anybody.

    To this day I don’t know whether we were reluctantly foisted on an unwilling family by one person saying “Oooh yeah! You should totally have a loud rock covers band, it’ll be great...” and then not turning up, or it we were the punch-line of an (expensive) joke on somebody’s part, but it was excruciating, and even about three times our normal pub-gig fee didn’t make up for it... 
    Don't ask me, I just play the damned thing...
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3005
    up at 4 in the morning.. eat and load car and set off by 5
    go to be parked and at the desk in the terminal in Heathrow at 6 for a flight at 8
    roughly a 2 hour flight to Italy.. +1 hour for Italy time, we land at  around 11
    by the time we picked up our stuff, met the tour manager and left the airport it's around 12 midday
    an almost 5 hour drive gets us to the venue at almost 5 in the afternoon [soundcheck was scheduled for 4:30
    we unload, get setup and finish soundcheck a little after 6.. [support band soundcheck, doors open at 7:30]
    we arrive at the hotel around 7 to check in, get clean, change, eat etc.. and try to chill out a little
    we're back at the venue at 9, going on stage at 10 to play a 90 min set
    we played pretty good but were certainly not at our very best..
    after the gig we meet'n'greet the audience..
    at 2 in the morning we breakdown the gear and load the bus.. back at the hotel at about 3:30..
    the next day we must be up, fed and out of the hotel by 9 because we have a 6 hour drive to the next gig
    soundcheck is at 4-ish.. but the tour manager want to get going early in case we hit traffic
    first thing in the morning the promoter says to me.. "what's up, you look like a fkn zombie and you have a show tonight"

    duuuhhhh ! ! ! !
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • Clarky said:
    up at 4 in the morning.. eat and load car and set off by 5
    go to be parked and at the desk in the terminal in Heathrow at 6 for a flight at 8
    roughly a 2 hour flight to Italy.. +1 hour for Italy time, we land at  around 11
    by the time we picked up our stuff, met the tour manager and left the airport it's around 12 midday
    an almost 5 hour drive gets us to the venue at almost 5 in the afternoon [soundcheck was scheduled for 4:30
    we unload, get setup and finish soundcheck a little after 6.. [support band soundcheck, doors open at 7:30]
    we arrive at the hotel around 7 to check in, get clean, change, eat etc.. and try to chill out a little
    we're back at the venue at 9, going on stage at 10 to play a 90 min set
    we played pretty good but were certainly not at our very best..
    after the gig we meet'n'greet the audience..
    at 2 in the morning we breakdown the gear and load the bus.. back at the hotel at about 3:30..
    the next day we must be up, fed and out of the hotel by 9 because we have a 6 hour drive to the next gig
    soundcheck is at 4-ish.. but the tour manager want to get going early in case we hit traffic
    first thing in the morning the promoter says to me.. "what's up, you look like a fkn zombie and you have a show tonight"

    duuuhhhh ! ! ! !
    Yep life on the road ain't as glamorous as some make out :(
    Link to my trading feedback:  http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/59452/
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  • Out side gig where the generator ran out of fuel after the first song. That was fun. 
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  • Blew a fuse in my amp tonight! Bad gig gremlins are following me around!
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  • JayGeeJayGee Frets: 459
    Stu_tate said:
    Out side gig where the generator ran out of fuel after the first song. That was fun. 
    I’ve had that one too!


    Don't ask me, I just play the damned thing...
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  • JayGeeJayGee Frets: 459

    .JayGee said:
    Stu_tate said:
    Out side gig where the generator ran out of fuel after the first song. That was fun. 
    I’ve had that one too!


    Actually,  now I come to think of it, it was worse than that. I missed the first set completely (two guitar band fortunately)  after writing off my wife’s car on the way there when somebody pulled out of side-turn about two feet in front of the bonnet, then (having in my view demonstrated superhuman commitment to get there at all) the generator ran dry half-way through the second set of the second set...

    The fact this didn’t even occur to me until now should illustrate just how excruciating the two candidates I posted earlier were!


    Don't ask me, I just play the damned thing...
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3005
    Clarky said:
    up at 4 in the morning.. eat and load car and set off by 5
    go to be parked and at the desk in the terminal in Heathrow at 6 for a flight at 8
    roughly a 2 hour flight to Italy.. +1 hour for Italy time, we land at  around 11
    by the time we picked up our stuff, met the tour manager and left the airport it's around 12 midday
    an almost 5 hour drive gets us to the venue at almost 5 in the afternoon [soundcheck was scheduled for 4:30
    we unload, get setup and finish soundcheck a little after 6.. [support band soundcheck, doors open at 7:30]
    we arrive at the hotel around 7 to check in, get clean, change, eat etc.. and try to chill out a little
    we're back at the venue at 9, going on stage at 10 to play a 90 min set
    we played pretty good but were certainly not at our very best..
    after the gig we meet'n'greet the audience..
    at 2 in the morning we breakdown the gear and load the bus.. back at the hotel at about 3:30..
    the next day we must be up, fed and out of the hotel by 9 because we have a 6 hour drive to the next gig
    soundcheck is at 4-ish.. but the tour manager want to get going early in case we hit traffic
    first thing in the morning the promoter says to me.. "what's up, you look like a fkn zombie and you have a show tonight"

    duuuhhhh ! ! ! !
    Yep life on the road ain't as glamorous as some make out :(
    yes it's not glam at all..

    it's actually very fatiguing 
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • jamesoliver1234jamesoliver1234 Frets: 468
    we did a gig in pontadawe and there was dog shit on the stage! 
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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 1420
    JayGee said:
    I’m currently flipping a mental coin between The Bowling Alley Where Nobody Ever Came and The Wedding Where Nobody Wanted Us, but I think the wedding wins.

    The first of those was a gig with a Punk/New Wave covers band at a bowling alley in Harlow. Literally an empty room (other than three people on the lane furthest away from the bar area where we were playing. Bizarrely we got another couple of dates there where the same thing happened (apparently the manager and staff really liked us, and had an entertainment budget they couldn’t think of anything better to do with) before somebody (I’m still not sure whether it was them or us) decided it just wasn’t worth the effort.

    As for the second one, that was the current rock covers band, Solar 9. We don’t normally do weddings or similar functions, the only exceptions being when it’s a “friend of the band” who knows exactly what we do and what they’ll be getting but on this occasion we got an approach from an agency who’d previously booked us a few decent gigs and events offering (by our standards) a shed-load of money and adamant that we were exactly what his client was looking for to liven up their evening reception. We rolled up at the agreed venue and the agreed time to find that nobody seemed to be expecting us and that a DJ had already commandeered most of the stage, nevertheless after a bit of head scratching we got set up and kicked off set 1 of our contractual obligation to an empty hall while everybody buggered off for drinks and nibbles, only to re-appear when the (excruciatingly loud) DJ kicked off again. Set 2 went pretty much the same way, and seeing how the wind was blowing we did the shortest possible set in a desultory manner, packed up (to the accompaniment of complete silence, ear-bleeding DJ aside), and left without (as far as I know) speaking to anybody.

    To this day I don’t know whether we were reluctantly foisted on an unwilling family by one person saying “Oooh yeah! You should totally have a loud rock covers band, it’ll be great...” and then not turning up, or it we were the punch-line of an (expensive) joke on somebody’s part, but it was excruciating, and even about three times our normal pub-gig fee didn’t make up for it... 

    DJs are sods for taking up all the space; I've had a few interesting experiences.....
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  • mudslide73mudslide73 Frets: 1681
    A few weeks ago we had a pissed bloke on stage who fell backwards onto the drums mid song. He ended up buying us all a pint so it wasn't too bad.

    Saturday night had the usual pissed up smokers in the doorway.. only lightened by the landlord (thinking he was alone) letting off a superhuman fart that echoed around the car park like an explosion. The look on his face when he saw me was priceless. Good gig though.
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  • sw67sw67 Frets: 56
    Played once to a crowd of three - one left and the other two started fighting outside. The bar staff were outside leaving the band the only ones left in the pub. Not a great night 
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3522
    Played the Shed in Leicester one Sunday in early 2007.

    It was an audition to play Glastonbudget festival. There were, IIRC, six bands on the bill.

    We fought least hard not to be last, so that's where we ended up on the lineup which was decided entirely by the medium of bands staring sullenly at each other and declaring when they had to be up the following morning.

    We ended up going on at 12:30am on what was by this time Monday morning. Everyone was gone. The other bands had packed up and left after their respective sets. The audience had never existed in any meaningful sense; certainly anyone any other band had brought with them had long since vanished. The Judge, who's job it was to decide who would "win" on this lineup and go on to play the festival, had left just before midnight.

    We played our set to the sound guy, who left the room after the first song to presumably go and get some sleep, and a lady who was cleaning the venue - a totally empty room, therefore, other than someone mopping the dancefloor in front of the stage and sweeping the bar clean. We finished, packed up and went home.

    I got back to my house in Rugby at about 2:30am and just sat there on the drive for 10 minutes, staring at the sky, wondering why the fuck I'd bothered with all that and putting off the moment I'd have to load my drums into the garage. Yes, I was the drummer, so intersperse this story with lots of heavy lifting. I *nearly* gave up on playing gigs that night, and I was pretty groggy at work after 3 hours' sleep.

    Funny thing is, two years later in my next band we auditioned and the festival organiser actually ran up on stage and announced we were the best band he'd seen. We ended up playing the thing 3 times, and I can tell you now...

    It was a total waste of time. :s

    I think this story is a neat metaphor for gigging in an originals band, to be fair.
    Captain Horizon (my old band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • Dave_VaderDave_Vader Frets: 208
    I am feverishly taking notes, changing names and plagiarising your lives for another book
    Thanks
    :)

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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9002
    During the late 1980s the band I was in got booked for a party. Venue was known to us all, the cellar bar in the local arts centre. We turned up, set up and started to play. Apparently the "party people" didn't want a live band they wanted background muzak so they all left and went into the bar at the back. We treated it like a paid rehearsal (not that we stopped and restarted songs but the fact that nobody was listening wasn't allowed to bother us). Then some kids came up and asked if we knew any Dead Kennedys numbers. I said Who? Then one of them wanted us to hand over our instruments so they could play them. Can't remember whether we stayed to play another set. Can't imagine why we were booked either, it's not as if the people in charge didn't know who we were or what kind of gig we did.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • AlexCAlexC Frets: 1360
    In my 20s I was lead guitar in a racaous, fairly jokey ‘alternative’ covers band. I had a thing going on where I’d change hats for every song... anyway. We played Oxford 6th form college student bar. All going well, but we were a bit cramped on the stage due to the very serious covers band - all in their 50s - having set up and leaving their lovely, collectible instruments on stands. We used to jump around a lot. And lo - our bass player stepped backwards, knocked the other band’s saxophone to the ground and, it turns out,  broke the reed.
    The other band were furious with us. Especially as the students preferred our mayhem to their note perfect renditions of Mustang Sally, Brown Eyed Girl, etc. 
    Our bass player - who was Spanish - was so upset he left the band that night.
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  • Panama_Jack666Panama_Jack666 Frets: 2563
    I am feverishly taking notes, changing names and plagiarising your lives for another book
    Thanks
    :)

    Someone on here has a great bad gig story... I seem to recall someone didn't like the UB40 song they were playing so pulled a gun on the band and told them to stop. 

    Whoever it is, make yourself known and correct/validate the story pleaseeeee! It's my favourite! 
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9442
    I think my worst was the "festival" (in fact a rave with bands on first). We were due to headline, such as it was. The stage was the back of a truck too small to even fit all our gear. Organisers were basically incompetent, and mostly absent.

    Everything ran about 4 hours late. We'd been due on at 10pm, so when it got to midnight and we were introduced to the band going on after us ASKING TO SWITCH BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO GO HOME BEFORE 3AM (!) we were quite happy to give them our slot. At which point we put our shit back in our cars and fucked off home. 

    I don't think the organisers even realised we didn't play. 

    Quite special, that one...
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  • FezFez Frets: 200
    We played at a venue in Crawley which was the half way point on a Help for Heroes Sleigh push. Some military people involved so it will be organised with precision yes? NO. They did the raffle before we went on starting at 11pm and took over an hour so it was past midnight when we went on.
    Don't touch that dial.
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