Bad gig experiences...

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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 13047
    One other time... same 7 piece, in a packed pub.  One of the numbers has a buildup over several bars to a guitar solo.  The song gets louder and louder, the saxes play an ascending run in harmony to a crescendo and I hit the distortion pedal on my ME50 and I’m away...  to the sound of nothing.  Everyone in the band immediately looks at me and I’m like Stan Laurel in full panic mode, checking my lead is in, the volume is up, the amp is still powered up...  my solo slot is almost finished when I spot my ME50 sitting there with the display flashing E and G and F# etc....

    I’d hit both pedal 1 and 2 together with my big size tens and put it into muted tuner mode!
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 13047
    Oh, last one...  My first ever paid gig...  Same duo as my first story.  He’d booked us into a pub for a NYE gig.  We bought our first PA for it.  We had no idea how to use it, so we set it up with the speakers behind us.  My mate had a jumbo acoustic with a pickup in.  The first half of the set consisted mostly of feedback with swearing and a jumbo almost resonating itself to bits.

    We moved the speakers in the interval and the second half was uneventful except for the fact that there was about 200 fewer people in there now than there was at the beginning.

    The Feedback brothers had pretty much emptied the entire pub on New Year’s Eve and we still got paid!!
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  • vizviz Frets: 4792
    edited June 3
    We did a wedding in a marquee once. During soundcheck in the afternoon it start to pour down steadily and didn’t let up for the next 4 hours. Thankfully the marquee was well sealed so everything on the floor was nice and dry. We put amps and electrical cables up on bricks just in case. 

    During the evening in the middle of a song the other guitarist fixed me with a glare and nodded his head backwards. I had a look and saw a gushing river behind us. The water coming off the hills outside was flowing at speed towards the marquee and had found a way in and was channelled into a mini torrent running from one end of the stage to the other behind us and pooling up at the far corner. All our extension cables and plugs were under about 8 inches of running water, and the water’s edge quickly overcame us and ran over my pedals. Someone pulled the plug and everything went dark.

    Obviously we got the drummer to reach in and pull all the sopping electrics out, just in case anything was still live. Guests dug around in the dark making a channel for the river and unzipped the marquee to let it continue its journey; we were brought new extension cables and kettle leads and crates to put everything on; we plugged everything back in and were back on track again within 10 mins and it was a great gig. Got a stinking cold from playing with soaking feet for 2 hours though and I remember tipping water and fish out of my pedalboard afterwards. Well maybe not fish but almost. 
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  • vizviz Frets: 4792
    edited June 4
    Back in the 80s we were playing some generic rock blues at a private festival / party thing in a village near Exeter. Thom Yorke was there so I beckoned him up and asked if he wanted to do a blues number with us. We kicked off with some jolly-old status quo-esque nonsense in A, went round the 12 bars once instrumentally, Thom drew a deep breath and ... started crooning something very slow and tragic. We couldn’t seem to find what key it was in or what the structure or time signature or even the speed was, so half of us carried on doing 12-bar while the rest of us started playing G# minor and B9alt chords to try and mirror what he was doing. It went on for about four minutes and sounded most peculiar is all I can say. 
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  • bignormbignorm Frets: 135
    Emp_fabs story reminded me of a NYE gig back in the early 90’s where the owners had booked us but forgot to apply for the late licence extension. 
    The bar manager (who obviously had fallen out with the owners who had buggered off on holiday leaving him to deal with the mess) shut the pub just after 11pm.
    I never seen such a mass exit of an audience in my life, full to empty in less than a couple of minutes.
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 929
    My first gig with my second band was such a nightmare that I left the band. However I foolishly agreed to honour the second gig a fortnight later which was worse. 

    The basic problem was that the lead singer was the band leader in his own fantasy universe where he was not a complete idiot. Instead of getting actual gigs he would hire a hall with band money needing about 200 people (we had no fan base) leaving no money for PA (he would borrow various bits of gear and hope that inexperienced sound engineers could make it work). 

    The highlight of the first gig was that the guitarist (I was on bass)  would play the intro of the first song, curtains would open revealing a stage full of smoke and we would all play. 

    However some moron have gaffa taped the guitar lead to the floor and the guitar wouldnt come off the stand. There was so much smoke poured on stage everyone was coughing. 


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  • HaychHaych Frets: 508
    Not a personal bad gig experience but last summer I was asked by a friend to roadie for him for a gig his band were playing. 

    He’s quite a bit older than me and his band had released a couple of albums in the early/mid 80s. After he retired from his day job he reformed the band with the original singer and some new blood and released a third album. In its own right it’s done quite well and they initiated a “tour” in support of the album. 

    The singer had apparently hired the venue for the night instead of their usual practise of giving the venue a cut from ticket sales. The advantage was that this gig was meant to be a good one and they should do quite well out of it. 

    So I turn up at my friends house at about 11:00am as agreed to help him load up his people carrier with more keyboard equipment than Roland, I think we finally hit the road about 12:30. 

    We were due to meet for load in and then sound check at 2pm but had somehow managed to get lost completely due to an ancient and imaginative Sat-Nav he was using. 

    At about 3pm we finally made it to the venue which was in the basement of a three storey club but there’s nowhere to park without risking a ticket, but we park up in the back alley and shunt everything out of the car as quick as we can before parking the car a short walk away from the venue. 

    The stage was up a short ramp from the load in door and was the tiniest stage I’d ever seen. The drummer, who had more drums than Neil Peart, bass player, guitarist and singer were pretty much already set up and were going through levels with the sound guy. 

    That left my friend a small corner of the stage to set up his Rick Wakeman-like keyboard rig, somehow he managed to do it and within a short while we were sound checked and all flight cases stowed in a little cubbyhole next to the stage. 

    We, keyboard player, drummer and guitarist, went off for a quick KFC before the gig. We got back to the venue to find the singer, who was a bit of a diva, fussing over the setup of the merch stand with his girlfriend. I was then also given the “honour” of manning ticket sales at the door and the merch stand with the singers girlfriend (who was old enough to be my mother) and I was under strict instruction not to let anyone in without a ticket. 

    The support act did his thing for half hour to an empty room, bar for the five band members, one bar staff, the singers girlfriend and me. 

    When he finished the band then played their set to the support act, the guy on the bar, the singers girlfriend, me and about three die-hard fans who were sporting T-shirts and everything. 

    A few people who heard the band playing wandered in but were turned away by yours truly for not wanting to buy an entry ticket. 

    As a last ditch attempt to lure an audience in the singers girlfriend slashed the ticket price from a whopping eight quid or so to about a fiver for the last half hour of the set. Still, nobody seemed bothered. 

    The set finished and the band gladly signed everything shoved under their nose for the three guys who’d come. 

    After that it was a mad scramble to disassemble everything with five guys all trying to get their stuff out the door and into their car first. Since my friend had quite a big rig it was a battle between him and the drummer not to be last. 

    The car finally loaded we headed home at about 1am and pottered along the motorway after finding our way out of the city and avoiding the many drunk people staggering into the roads. 

    About 15 Miles from home and the motorway was closed for maintenance so we had to find a detour. By this time it was well after 2am and I just wanted to be home and in bed. 

    I got home shortly before 3am and was glad I never took a career as a roadie. 

    To be fair to the band they all played well and put on a very good show for the three paying punters who showed up. I hate to think what the evening cost and how much money they lost, it wouldn’t have been a fortune but probably into four figures after venue hire, sound engineer, food, fuel and other expenses were taken into account. 

    Kudos to them for putting on a good show and for not letting it deter them from carrying on. I believe they did more dates and presumably had a few more paying punters show up. They’re also doing some foreign festivals and I think are working on a new album. 

    If I'm asked to be roadie again I think I’ll be busy on they day they want me though. ;)


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  • koneguitaristkoneguitarist Frets: 2602
    So many to choose from, like getting attacked about an hour before gig and having my head banged against road, until my old man kicked bloke in head and getting up bleeding, smashed glasses. Onto gig, head thumping, no glasses so wearing sunglasses and playing bass ain't fun. 

    Worst though i think think was a NYE gig back in 80's at local nightclub. 
    Hired bigger pa, which started breaking down, singer was getting really pissed and so borrowed DJ's brand new Beyer mic and then promptly threw it over his shoulder as he thought it was broke. DJ wanted to kill him more than I did. It gets worse, a lot worse. 
    We had decided to do fancy dress like the club for second set, so singer was dressed like Carmen Miranda in leopard skin dress and bowl of fruit on his head. Unfortunately I was dressed like Freddie Starr does Hitler with White shorts to my knees and black boots. I added a small touch of a strap on dick tied to my thigh so only the last inch hung out of my shorts at my knee. 
    In the end everything failed and we got off stage into dressing room, when the two managers came in like the two Rons in DJ's. The singer at this moment lying on his back on a bench slurred "trouble with this band is drink" then fell off bench unconscious on floor. 
    I then in my outfit had to explain what had gone wrong.
    Hard to look professional with a dick hanging out your shorts and a hitler moustache. 
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  • Placidcasual79Placidcasual79 Frets: 676

    Hard to look professional with a dick hanging out your shorts and a hitler moustache. 
    My boss was saying the same thing to me the other day..... 
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  • Try having Hitler in your shorts, and a dick hanging out of your moustache next time.

    more professional.
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  • ricorico Frets: 829
    We were due to play a gig in Croydon last Friday and at about 4.55pm we found out the organiser has booked two nights worth of gigs on the same night. 

    We we surrendered and played an impromptu very intimate gigs in one of the on-site practice rooms. It was incredibly hot, sweaty but it was the best gig. We had about 5 times as many people crammed into this room than the other bands had in the main venue. Good times!
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  • Placidcasual79Placidcasual79 Frets: 676
    Try having Hitler in your shorts, and a dick hanging out of your moustache next time.

    more professional.
    ha ha - appreciate the steer. I'll give this ago! 
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  • chromatunachromatuna Frets: 78
    edited June 14
    I have had a fair few of these kind of experiences over the years and I kind of wonder why I put up with it, going through almost anything to play a gig? Of course there were lots of good ones too though so that must be it. Some of mine include...

    The playing to three people and a dog one. Actually the last gig I was due to play in the last band I was in only a couple of years ago absolutely no one came to see us. Landlord was going to do publicity blah blah blah. 

    Same band, singer's radio mic (which was permanently on a stand - go figure) ran out of battery power at not one but two gigs within a year, he waves his wife over and sends her off to the car to get spare batteries in front of the whole audience. Groan....

    The booked to play for an audience that really doesn't want us one. Playing in a folk rock band to shouts of "play some Oasis...." 

    Mid 80s and I am playing in a trippy hippy dippy prog band and someone puts us on a bill with a heavy duty skinhead band, not a comfortable evening

    Around the same time driving home about 30 miles in a decrepit van on which the alternator failed leaving no lights whatsoever, how we didn't get nicked or end up in a ditch I'll never know

    I feel like I am a bit of a prima donna these days, I enjoy playing but it really has to be on terms that aren't daft, dangerous or pointless. 

    Edit. Just remembered another. Got to play the main stage at Stonehenge Free festival in 1984, kind of a big deal for us. Grub screw disappears from the bridge saddle of my Strat making it pretty much impossible to play the high E string in tune. Never had another guitar failure in forty years, why then?
    Just because you can play lots of notes very quickly doesn't mean that you should
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