Worst gig ever. For sure the weirdest.

tiskit86

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I’ll try to make this coherent, but I think I may still be in shock. I’ll edit it out tomorrow if that’s the case.

The local community organization booked us to do an afternoon gig in Jane Warner Plaza, which if you’re familiar with the Bay Area, is right on the corner of Castro and Market streets in SF. There’s been a weekend music series going on for a month or so that’s organized by the center. Two days ago, the lady from the center called our bandleader to tell him the fund for paying the bands was out of money. He offered to play anyway. He lives in the neighborhood and is invested in the community, and he and the drummer have already invited a ton of friends, etc. Not a huge deal, but in hindsight… well…

I came a little early with my family in order to check out the space and start setting up. My 4-yr-old loves to hear us play and an afternoon outdoor gig was perfect for him, right? Right. I was prepared for an eclectic group of folks hanging around, strolling by, stopping to listen, etc. You know, your basic San Francisco, Castro, summer/fall tourist, hipster, weirdo, homeless, anything and everything crowd. What I did not prepare for, was a group of nudist protestors who had planned to commandeer the plaza early in the afternoon. And stay. Hold some signs and do what nude protestors do, which is just stand and sit around. In the nude. The city has been debating passing a public nudity law over the past few months, and there is a small congregation of vehement pro-naked rights citizenry that show up at city hall meetings and other events and proceedings. And, here they are. Today. Maybe 20 or so. Mostly men. Mostly middle aged. Mostly, completely nude.

Sooooo, we get a few nude dudes and dudettes to scatter and clear enough space for our rig and start setting up. One guy comes up and asks me if we were going to play stuff he could dance to. I told him I hoped not.

The first set was a little low-key, crowd wise. I was surprised how many folks decided to walk through or around the plaza rather than hang around for a little music. But then again, maybe there was already too much hanging around. Over the course of the next hour, the naked folks mostly thinned out. Either because they weren’t really into classic rock and blues, or because the grossly underpowered PA that was clipping the vocals and feeding back sounded so bad they just couldn’t take it anymore. We tried turning down the PA, but really didn’t have a choice other than to crank it for anyone to be able to hear over the trolley cars going by every 10 minutes. That’s right. Trolleys, that go right through the plaza and in front of the band. We seemed to be perfectly synched up with the schedule. We’d start a song. A trolley would come. We’d wait to start a song because of a trolley, then start, and another trolley would come.

I think the protestors finally ran out of steam mid-way into the second set and started thinning out. Coincidentally, it was about then when most of the space right in front of us became hostage to a mentally ill man dancing, yelling, writhing, swearing, spitting, and doing lots of other bizarre pantomiming. He kept getting closer and closer, upping the crazy ante because we were completely ignoring him, but eventually touching the mic stand and throwing some small trash at our singer’s feet. Finally, but by this time 4-5 songs later, someone in the crowd got up and made the guy leave. I saw a cop arrive a few minutes after that. By this time I was pretty numb anyway. I think I forgot to play the second 12 bars of Mary Had a Little Lamb, and it didn’t even matter.

About this time the community org. lady said she had to cut us a short a few songs because she needed to get the generator back. Okay! Last song!

Whew. I’m home now. My children are asleep safe in their beds. Tomorrow’s a new day.
 

Larry F

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Wrong-o. It sounded like it was the BEST gig ever. You'll be telling the tale for decades.
 

getbent

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One of my brothers lives in the Castro. There have been naked people there since I've gone there to visit (the early 80's) There are many wonderful things and people in that neighborhood and great restaurants and music etc (like your band!)

When my kids were pretty little, I told them there would be naked people there and that there are lots of protests and activist and fun, weird people who live by different rules.

They accepted it. They love going to visit their uncle (who the like to call uncle cha ching)

The crappy pa is a drag and the uninterested crowd sucks… the rest just comes with the territory…

By contrast, we played a wedding reception today, tonight down in Aromas, CA. Wow, tons of little kids danced the whole evening… it was our PA and lights and it was a great time… I was amazed by the tips we got!

Better luck next time! In the Castro… there are naked people. they aren't 'sexualized' just nekkid. It makes me laugh.. but, that stuff doesn't bug me.
 

soulman969

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Once had a gig at a nudist colony. We were given the option as far as our dress was concerned. Personally I preferred the dressed option and based on the crowd most of them should have as well.
 

Frodebro

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If you're go-ing to Sannnn Frannn Sis-cooooo
Be sure to brinnnnnnggg
some ex-tra un-der-weaaaarrrrrr
'Cause in the streeeeets of Sannnn Frannnn Sis-coooo
You're going to meet
some na-ked people therrrrre
 

suthol

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Once had a gig at a nudist colony. We were given the option as far as our dress was concerned. Personally I preferred the dressed option and based on the crowd most of them should have as well.
Yep, playing at a nudist colony is a weird experience and yes we did join the occasion. :D

It was nearly forty years ago and the body was in much better shape in those days :(

Sometimes you've just gotta go with the flow
 

Mid Life Crisis

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If you're go-ing to Sannnn Frannn Sis-cooooo
Be sure to brinnnnnnggg
some ex-tra un-der-weaaaarrrrrr
'Cause in the streeeeets of Sannnn Frannnn Sis-coooo
You're going to meet
some na-ked people therrrrre

:D:D:D

Larry F is right. Gigs like this become part of your band's folklore. Just a shame that most of the naked people were blokes.
 

simonsp

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Naked middle aged men I think I could cope with (an 'ever so slight' superior smile should cover that one ;)), but Trams! You can't argue with a couple of tons of moving steel can you. :)
 

trev333

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It'd be a bit hard playing for tips... when the crowd doesn't have anywhere to carry their wallets... ;)

unless the protesters had their man bags with them?.... :)
 

Coop47

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Great story, well told. Thanks for sharing that - gave me a chuckle this morning.
 

Shango66

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Great story.
There's someone on this forum that told a similar gig from hell story a while back.
I re tell in short form.
A nude middle age woman approached the band and asked them if they'd like a cigarette.
Where would a butt naked woman produce cigarettes from?
She had a pack of cigarettes under one of her boobs and lighter under the other ( or "spaniels ears" as described by the op)
 

nasonm

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I was surprised how many folks decided to walk through or around the plaza rather than hang around for a little music. But then again, maybe there was already too much hanging around.


**rimshot**
 

suthol

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Great story. There's someone on this forum that told a similar gig from hell story a while back. I re tell in short form. A nude middle age woman approached the band and asked them if they'd like a cigarette. Where would a butt naked woman produce cigarettes from? She had a pack of cigarettes under one of her boobs and lighter under the other ( or "spaniels ears" as described by the op)
Guilty as charged m'lud :)

This was the gig I had referred to in this thread, it was very weird
 




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