Worst gig ever. For sure the weirdest.

dmarcus30

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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.


Wow, the Perfect Storm! I've had gigs where a guy died of a heart attack, knives were pulled on doormen, the bathroom was literally drenched in blood, if there weren't at least 3 fistfights it was a "slow" night, a few of us stayed at the promoter's house and he had child porn out in plain sight, the club owner spent our guarantee on blow, all six of our Shure SM 58s were stolen by a bar employee,we drove 400 miles to a gig only to find that the stack of posters we made and sent were sitting under the bar, and on and on.
My personal favorite was the crazy guy who made LOUD and strangled humming sounds while 'dancing' right under my vocal mic. I explained that he was bleeding into my mic as well as distracting me but he kept doing it.

Then we came to a song where I played cowbell so I just waited for him to come within range and cracked him as hard as I could right on top of his head. It happened so fast he didn't know what had happened, but he DID leave!
 

1955

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Try that in the Artic and see how long it takes before a Wolverine comes nippin' after icicles.
 

nomadh

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The Fun Of SF. They Put The "progress" In Progressive.
Nobody Be Jealous. Its Coming To your Town Soon.
 

tiskit86

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They did say that next year we'd be sure to get paid, and that there would be a better PA.

I'm thinkin' about changing up the set list though... Hmm.
 

SPUDCASTER

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With all those naked protesters, I hope there were no "hard" feelings.:eek:

I too had a nudist colony gig. Didn't know it until everyone started getting naked. A little weird.
 

tiskit86

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We seem to gravitate toward the rockabilly stuff, so maybe a full rockabilly set first:

Flip Flop Mama - (Eddie Bond)
Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On - (Roy Hall)
Sag Drag and Fall - (Sid King and the Five Strings)
One Hand Loose - (Charlie Feathers)
Red Headed Woman - (Sonny Burgess)
Skinny Jim - (Eddie Cochran)
Milkcow Blues Boogie - (Elvis, Scotty and Bill)
Blue Moon of Kentucky - (Elvis, Scotty and Bill)
Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad - (Wanda Jackson)
 

frankg11

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OK.. You ability to write a scene and allow the user's to visualize the setting is wonderful.

I just have one thing to say......

Some things can't be un-seen once seen!

Thanks a lot! :(
 

getbent

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The Fun Of SF. They Put The "progress" In Progressive.
Nobody Be Jealous. Its Coming To your Town Soon.

except San Diego county! My mom is a grower down there… you have a great zoo… and the place that has all the wild animals is nice too! ha ha!

btw, thanks for giving us Bochy and Flannery and a second stadium to have home games in….
 

k.l.k

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about what i'd expect for a free gig in most sf hoods.

very helpful thread for me-- i was starting to feel like i missed gigging. this thread brought back all the bad repressed memories.
 

1955

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There were some peaceful protesters at Farm-Aid, a little distracting because they weren't all growers. I brought my heads of lettuce so everyone was happy. No one would leaf me alone, I lost half of them during the impromptu Namaste-yoga-senior intermission. I was surprised to see so many tambourines just hangin' around, and only one cowbell. Good times.
 

tiskit86

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Second set: Rock and Roll


Blowin' In The Wind (Bob Dylan)
Come As You Are (Nirvanna)
Long Tall Sally (Little Richard)
Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum)
Get Up Stand Up (Bob Marley)
I'm Free (The Who)
My Ding-A-Ling (Chuck Berry)
Help! (Beatles)
The End (Doors)
 

Frodebro

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Second set: Rock and Roll


Blowin' In The Wind (Bob Dylan)
Come As You Are (Nirvanna)
Long Tall Sally (Little Richard)
Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum)
Get Up Stand Up (Bob Marley)
I'm Free (The Who)
My Ding-A-Ling (Chuck Berry)
Help! (Beatles)
The End (Doors)

And for the heckler: Dude Looks Like A Lady (Aerosmith)
 

uriah1

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Interesting....gig..lol
While we dont have mentally distraught cases, we do get ocassional person who imbibes
too much, and falls toward band...without bouncer, that is tough....
...
 




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