What was your worst gig?

FMA

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 29, 2003
Posts
5,484
Probably the night a topless drunk girl ran across the dance floor, tried to jump on the stage, her foot caught the monitor, and she crashed through the drum kit

Um, I think he said worst gig, not best.

A couple years back, I was talking to Rachael Price, the singer with Lake Street Dive. (A great band, by the way.) And she told me a story about a bar gig the band played when it was first starting out. She was singing and a woman jumped onto the stage and motorboarded her and yelled, "Motorboard, y'all." And then jumped off the stage. I asked Rachael when she did and she said she just kept singing.
 

Skub

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jul 28, 2010
Posts
5,291
Location
N.Ireland
I played a wedding reception in northern British Columbia that turned into a brawl.
This was circa 1995.
Even the bride in her white wedding gown got bloodied.
Ultra weird!

I remember doing one similar. The entire guest list were off their faces and slapping each other around from the word go.

The groom went missing fairly early on in the evening and the bride spent the whole time in tears. During the break we found a guy working hard at unhitching our gear trailer and not a bit abashed to be called on it. It turned out he was the best man and the one responsible for paying us for the night. I was more than amazed that actually happened.

When it was time to leave in the early hours of the morning,the whole road outside had turned into a boxing match with the local constabulary in the mix,so we had to do a long detour to get in a home direction.

The actual gig itself went very well. :D
 

freshmattyp

Tele-Afflicted
Gold Supporter
Joined
Aug 3, 2005
Posts
1,269
Location
Kansas City
My worst was the time I had to run sound for a Banjo Orchestra with a terrible hangover. I forgot I had promised to run sound for a craft fair with some entertainment so I was out until the wee hours whooping it up. I was expecting a few singer/songwriter types, so imagine my surprise when about 20 people who were all 70+ started filing onto the stage in their straw boaters and red striped vests. None of whom were in tune with each other.

If there's a hell, it can't be worse than that.
 

oregomike

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 28, 2019
Posts
762
Age
51
Location
Hood River, OR
Love gig stories so thought it would be interesting to hear about your worst gig's.

Just a small snippet from one night at a bar gig...

"Hey, I borrowed this looper pedal thing I want to try tonight." (guitarist/vocalist)
"That sounds like a bad idea." (me)
"Been messing with it for a couple hours. I have a plan." (guitarist/vocalist)
"When will I be privy to this plan?" (me)
(silence)
"Let me move this table so you can set up." (bar manager)
"****, the looper died." (Now, just vocalist)
(Sound of people getting up and leaving)
"Sorry, man." (vocalist)
"Don't talk to me." (me)

Left out quite a bit of gory details, but this is essentially what brought it all down and was entirely my fault. I hadn't worked with this person outside of our full band, and based on how well we clicked as a full band, mistakenly trusted his word that we'd have a good inprov gig. We had a 2 hour slot. He asked me to arrive at 8pm, he showed up at 9:30 and fiddled with his pedals until 10pm. I should have trusted my intuition that it most likely would be a train wreck. It was. He was completely lost that night and I couldn't save it. Never again.
 
Last edited:

Cali Dude

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
May 20, 2020
Posts
1,722
Age
58
Location
California
Mine has to be one where we were booked for a gay bar for two nights. I had no idea that it was such a bar on the first night. I was getting hit on much of the night. I am straight, so it was quite embarrassing. Hahaha, the trials of youth.
 

Larry F

Doctor of Teleocity
Vendor Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Posts
17,755
Location
Iowa City, IA
The crowd is packed for their set. Everyone in the crowd immediately leaves after they finish. We’re playing for just the sound man...and then the sound man steps out for a cig, so we played to zero people. We just laughed it off and goofed off through our set.

Some American colleagues and I participate in a weeklong residence at the Moscow Conservatory of Music. Aside from concerts, our other purpose was to present papers at an all day joint conference. We were in a large lecture room, which was packed with Russian musicologists. The Russians went first, showing endless videos of folk dancing. From the 50s. It was extremely well-received by the Russians, who made up 90% of the presentations. After they finished, people scattered off to lunch or whatever. We stayed behind to set up for our talks.

Lunch is over, but nobody returned. So the afternoon session consisted of 5 talks to ourselves. One of the organizers popped in from time to time. Thoughtfully, we were provided with a translator, who was a student chosen that day. Due to a mixup, our advance copies had not materialized.

The audience was 5-8 Americans, one organizer who popped in and out, and the poor student tasked with translating our papers to Russian. Not sure why, as she was the only Russian in the room for much of the afternoon.

The lesson was, everybody's out for themselves primarily. We didn't really think much about it, as crap like this happens at times. I felt for the translator, whose voice was starting to go. But we soldiered through it, then scattered for dinner.

The worst thing is under-attended audiences. Experience musicians know all about this. But never have we failed to deliver on our end. Many times, there has been 1 or 2 people who get it. And sometimes opportunities come from that. It was important to us to deliver the whole show or presentation without letting the audience think that we were disappointed. Nope, we're glad to be here.
 

northernguitar

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Posts
4,248
Location
North of Toronto
In another time, I once played a charity gig with a full-blown flu bug. Fever, puking, all that prior to getting up. Was pounding Ny-Quil Daytime. Playlist got abbreviated to mostly songs I didn’t sing on, band mates took over a few. I had to sit on a barstool. Almost fainted during The Boys Are Back In Town. Show went on, funds were raised. I think I made my situation 100% worse, I was out for two weeks after it.
 

Bill Sheehan

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Posts
803
Age
68
Location
Central Illinois
This is what I wrote in Ye Olde Thread https://www.tdpri.com/threads/playing-a-reverb-y-room.756461/

This kinda qualifies. Here's what killed my "career" as a wedding band player. Oh... let's not be negative.. it could still happen, but back then
I used to get requests to play wedding receptions all the time and after this... not. one. single. request. for the last 10 years. What would you think?

Ahem... "it was a dark and stormy night..."...

Let me tell you a story of one of the worst gigs I've played. It was a wedding band gig. The setup was guitar, bass, keyboards, drums. Backline amps for the necked + PA for vocals and keys. All was peachy until the bride chirped forth the location of the reception. I knew it well. A local marble hall with a very hard sound reflection and multiple second LOUD reverb. "ARE YOU F-N KIDDING ME?!" was my gut response which I didn't blurt out. I quickly rephrased and voiced my concerns. The bride was sympathetic but of course venues can't be changed. Ok... what happened? Well... there are certain realities to bringing an acoustic drum kit into that kind of venue. Acoustic drum kits have a certain base volume which cannot be lowered. The rest of the instruments have to match this or not be heard. Chaos ensued. We sound checked, marveling at the apocalyptic sound in the not-being-able-to-look-away-from-a-train-wreck -kind of way. Fortunately I had managed to convince the couple to supply ear plugs for the guests. The gig... we played well enough I guess... the sound was what it was and the guests which were not plentiful kept coming with advice on how to lower levels and turn speakers all night. The absolute highlight has to be the bride's father who after downing enough high octane stuff stood in front of the stage, pointing angrily at his ears and then giving us the finger with both hands until being removed by the bride's more sober mother. Any upsides here? Sure... the keyboard player bagged one of the bridesmaids and I have a hilarious war story.

Pity about the "career" though.

Love that story, Skyhook! Especially the part about "Dad" giving you guys the double bird !!
 

dougstrum

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Oct 6, 2015
Posts
3,046
Location
blu ridge mtn cabin
Well I have been at it a long time, plenty of strange, humorous interesting stories.

There's one gig stands out as truly awful! I had just moved to VA, and joined a band that was doing Cars, Pretenders etc. It wasn't my kind of music, but it was a gig and I was new in town. I practiced with them about a month when we got our first gig~a frat party~
It was a terrible scene. I'd played for communes, bikers, this was a whole new experienceo_O
They didn't want to hear what we had rehearsed as a band:rolleyes: They wanted Allman Brothers, Neil Young, Tom Petty,
and they wanted us to play as loud as possible:confused: Boy was I glad when it was over! They paid us well but it took till 4am to find the guys whose cars had us blocked in.

I vowed never to play another frat party, and quit the band Monday morning:)
 

schmee

Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2003
Posts
18,071
Location
northwest
In the early 70's I was bandless. I took a gig playing guitar for a Country piano type. Buzzy Lee & the Memphis Sound. My buddy was playing bass for him so I joined up. He was really good, all we had to do was follow really, he could have done the gigs solo. I was terrible at country, all I had played for a few years was rock n roll in front of a Marshall Stack! I had hair to my shoulders...
Anyway, The tour comes up and we are hitting places in Idaho, Montana etc. One week playing a big country palace, the guys in cowboy hats were obviously want to get me in the parking lot and "beat hell outta the hippie"
Somehow I survived but it was the "tour from hell". Cheap hotels, 10 degree highs in the daytime, hiding from the locals at the gig.......... what could go wrong? :rolleyes:
Not sure the guy on the right fit in! :lol:
 

KC

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 16, 2003
Posts
4,747
Location
Missoula, Montana
Well there was the wet t-shirt contest by the airbase . . . and the blues band in the country bar up by flathead lake, man they hated us . . . but the worst was probably one night in the White Eagle in Portland, slow night, playing to a dozen people or so when a guy comes running into the bar at top speed and then another guy enters with a huge butcher's knife chasing after him. Guy #1 first tries to hide on the bandstand, the dodges to the bar where there was a big stack of those old yellow glass ashtrays. He starts using them as frisbees, trying to take out the knife guy, glass is flying everywhere, a couple of bottles behind the bar go down, then he gets the knife guy where he wants him and makes a dash for the door. He made it though the door, knife guy followed, I never knew the end of the story. But that was the end of the gig.
 

Phrygian77

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Posts
4,445
Location
Crawfordville, FL
Every gig with a fill-in drummer.

And, one with our regular drummer where he was obnoxiously screaming for water between every song. We were all stupid drunk because I had brought a bottle of rye to the festival. Afterwards, when we were done loading up the truck, I laid down on top of all the gear (drums and stands poking into my ribs) and passed out.
 

Ron R

Friend of Leo's
Silver Supporter
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Posts
4,905
Age
55
Location
Raleigh, NC
Probably the night a topless drunk girl ran across the dance floor, tried to jump on the stage, her foot caught the monitor, and she crashed through the drum kit
Our topless drunk female story took place in a biker bar. This particular "lady" was neither young nor all that attractive. But she was attached to a rather large, menacing biker. And decided to flash us as they walked past.
I will admit my nethers puckered a bit hoping I'd shown enough but not too much appreciation. o_O
 

charlie chitlin

Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
16,980
Age
60
Location
Egremont, MA
Charlie, that is awesome! That scenario happened to me and my 3 brothers' band so many times in the early 70's! In an indirect way, it reminds me of one of my favorite movie clips (in which the band gets no respect):


Crap...I forgot about the military base.
Chesapeake, Va...or thereabouts...around 1982...while we were setting up, I ordered a shot and a beer. The tab came to something like $ 0.83.
No tax on military bases.
We took this as an invitation to drink an enormous amount.
By the middle of the 2nd set, the entire band was trashed and there was broken glass all over the stage from us knocking over and stepping on cocktail glasses.
All the guys in the audience sat up real straight, had real short hair and were dressed up TIGHT in white uniform.
Most had bored-looking girlfriends with too much hair and makeup.
When I stumbled up to the mic to do my tune, I slurred something like, "Hey...how y'all doin'? It's really good to be here at...uh...what is this place, anyway? A Coast Guard base, or something?"
A bottle narrowly missed my head and smashed against the wall...there was a stirring in the crowd...I don't remember what happened, but am thankful that it didn't get ugly.
It was a Marine base.
 
Last edited:




Top