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Ever had a headliner undermine your show?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by WJGreer, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. WJGreer

    WJGreer

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    I was reading earlier about something James Brown used to do. If his opening act was killing it, he would sabotage their set - either by cutting it short or, at worst, insisting on sitting in on drums with the opener and shutting off the momentum.

    It made me think of a gig we had a few years ago at a place in Denver called Quixote's. This place has three stages, and two of them were active on this particular night. The headliner was some kind of "supergroup" containing various members of local and regional jam bands. They were on the main stage inside. We had the courtyard stage outside, which is in a tree-lined bier garden and is actually a lovely place to play on a summer night. I think Quixotes has moved to another location now, sadly.

    So - we're booked for three sets this night. So is the opener, and our sets are supposed to stagger, so that one or the other of us is always playing. Makes sense to me.

    Good crowd overall - probably 75 or 80 people, which is a heavy draw for this place. It seemed like 30 of them were ours.

    We play set 1. It goes well. The courtyard is full.

    Superband plays their set 1. It goes fairly well - it's a little stuffy inside; about half the people stay out in the courtyard.

    We begin set 2. Two or three songs in, we hear music inside. But everyone is still in the courtyard with us.

    Soon the owner comes out and gives us the hand gesture that any of us would interpret as "keep it going". The one where you move your arm in a circular motion in front of your chest, with the circle perpendicular to your body. So, we keep it going.

    A few seconds later, the guy cuts our power in mid-song.

    In the aftermath. he told us that his gesture was supposed to mean "cut it off" and that Superband was upset that we were taking their crowd and so decided to play early before everyone left. We were done for the night and haven't worked with this guy since, although we left it with a modicum of agreement that there had been a misunderstanding.

    Moral of the story is that the headliner railroaded our show because we were occupying too much of the crowd's attention. I imagine that was their prerogative, but we don't have to like it.

    Similar stories?
  2. Treadstone71

    Treadstone71

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    I thought a slashing motion across your throat was the universally understood gesture for cut it off, or stop.

    We've never been halted like that, but there was one gig at an upstairs/downstairs place, and the "big" band was downstairs. We were rocking pretty hard upstairs, and for some reason the sound tech decided to really crank us, so apparently our tunes were drowning out the band downstairs. Apparently they complained, but no one stopped us.
  3. Muttleybass

    Muttleybass

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    We played after Doug & The Slugs, who were supposed to do a dinner show. They started 2 hours late. All our crowd had left and we had to cut our set short.

    Not a headliner, but the band ahead of us thought it would be funny to take all the mic cables out of the snake and switch them around. It took the sound guy an hour to figure out what had happened.

    We've been sabotaged by crappy sound by the headliner's sound guy a few times. The guy from Teenage Head in the 80's was probably the worst. They wanted all their gear up front, so rather than have us in front of them, we had to be partly on the dance floor. Add only four lights and crappy sound... it was a tough show.
  4. WJGreer

    WJGreer

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    That's what we said too.
  5. eriky4003

    eriky4003

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    Hard to say for sure.
    We were opening for what I would consider a Canadian B band. They had already set up and done a soundcheck with a tech or two left behind. We set up and did a soundcheck which sounded fine. Our guitarist put his guitar on a guitar stand and we went out to dinner. His guitar had the locking system for a whammy bar. We come back, hit the stage and the first song our guitarist discovers his guitar is all whackily tuned. He hobbles through the set on one of the tuned back-up guitars that he never played before. Cut his enjoyment of the gig and his playing wasn't as confident.
    I say it's hard to say if it was deliberate sabotage because a year or two later a similar incident occurred but we were practicing.
  6. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    It wasn't really sabotage, but I was guitar teching for a bad who was opening for a second rate band who's lead singer had a first rate ego. No matter how small the stage was they insisted on having these ridiculous looking dummy cabs, which were 4 mesa 410 shells screwed together in a square, and a huge drum riser, and they refused to strike anything. One show the drummer had to set up on the side of the stage where nobody could see him, and the singer, bass player, and two guitar players had to share a stage that was only about 2 1/2 feet deep.
  7. Biggbass

    Biggbass

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    We had a club owner threaten to cut the power on us one night and he made such a stink about it that the audience started booing him. So we finished our set, shut it down and loaded out...Hasta La Vista baby! We Never returned to that place even though they kept calling us for bookings. The owner was just to much of an azz to deal with.
  8. AuBassMan

    AuBassMan

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    Had a well known locally based band block the band I was in from getting any more gigs at this one bar because...

    We had a really nice practice place. A big main room, three side rooms kinda like bedrooms with couches and stuff, bathroom with shower, right in town...$100.00 a month in the mid 80's ( I knew the owner of the building) Upstairs was a video gameroom so noise was no problem. Turns out this other band wanted to share it with us, we could have every other night. We said no...

    We show up for a gig at said bar and the owner asked what we were doing there. We said we were booked that night and he says no you're not and shows us his "book". We WERE booked but it had been scratched out...he said that we were "tentatively" booked.

    The afore mentioned well known band was the house band at that bar....we figured we had been pencil whipped in retaliation.
  9. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

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    Could have been worse, they could have been an ignorant local band and brought actual working cabs to that show. I have seen sound guys tell people to take added cabs off the stage. One guy brought up two 4x10 bass cabinets and the soundguy just ripped into him asking him why he would bring those to a full P.A. 400 seater club. It was pretty funny.

    I have definitely never been sabotaged but I like the stories, keep em coming.
  10. GregT

    GregT

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    We were the house band locally and we showed up and the owner and a keyboard player had placed a full sized upright piano in the center of the small, small stage. We left and have never played there since. It was a spineless way to say our services were no longer needed, to say the least.

    Actually, I went in there for the first time in a year last week. The bar was almost empty and the music was probably the reason. No one even danced. Elevator music minus all the excitement elevator music usually offers. (no bass!!!)

    The good thing for us was the fact it got us off out butts and looking for gigs. Last year was the best musical summer of my life. A sabotage gone good!
  11. theretheyare

    theretheyare Supporting Member

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  12. jimc

    jimc Supporting Member

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    We were playing an opening slot and we're getting a good response when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the singer for the headliner unplugging cables from the P.A. speakers. I made eye contact and he gave me a guilty little grin and plugged them back in.

    At the end of the gig he claimed he saw one cab unplugged and was just checking the rest for us, yeah right!
  13. WJGreer

    WJGreer

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    My OP aside, I could tell 100 stories about headliner bands who set up their stuff early and made no accommodation at all for the one or two other bands playing on the stage before them. Again, they're the headliner and it's their prerogative - but would it kill the bass player to set up his rig and then drag it back 12 inches to make a little room for the other guy?

    In the rare case where I've been the headliner, I've tried to act a little more compassionately.
  14. basscraiger

    basscraiger Supporting Member

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    Reading this thread brings me back a few years ago when I was playing in a rocking original 3 piece band. We were pretty tight and the songs were great but we lacked any connections and a gigable PA. Our guitar player/vocalist was friends with another local guitar player who played in an awesome nu-metal type band, ala Godsmack. They had a great PA and plenty of gigs and would often get us on the bill with them. Things were great until we started attracting a fan base, including alot of THEIR fans lol. The other guitarist's brother ran the sound for both bands mostly but in some of the smaller gigs, their guitarist did it himself.As our draw got larger, I began noticing my guitar player's sound on some of the those gigs was off, tinny, no crunch and the vocals were very uneven. It seemed strange since he would often use the other guy's gear and HIS sound was always HUGE. We recorded all our shows so it was hard to deny. It led to some tense moments when we confronted them about it but it had to be done, we knew what our sound was and for some reason it disappeared when we played with them. Eventually we started booking our own shows at venues that supplied a PA and lo! we had our sound back! We made peace with the other band eventually but we never did another show with them when their people were running the sound.
  15. 10cc

    10cc

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    Was playing a show in the Atl area around 03 or so and a well known Organist (I won't mention his name) refused to move his Hammond. Until I almost had it heading down the stairs. He got it moved.
  16. sparkyfender2

    sparkyfender2

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    Well, not really undermining, and not to me, but to a friend's band.

    Several years ago, a fiend of mine had a band that booked regularly in a small, but nice, popular local bar. After one Sat. night show, the club owner pulled the boys aside, really excited and said, "Look. Next Saturday, the bar is gonna be closed for a private party. JM [that's what we'll call him] is wrapping up the film he has been shooting, "Falling from Grace," and is having the wrap up shindig here. Isn't that great? Going to be closed door, invitation only, and I want YOU guys to play. Regular pay, and you can't bring anyone, but the drinks and food will be on the house, and you can rub shoulders with JM and other hotshots in the industry that'll be here. Just go ahead leave your equipment set up until then."

    JM was an area rocker that made it big nationally. Everyone here would know his name.

    So......

    Heck, yeah! My friend and his band naturally agreed. Looked forward to it all week, couldn't wait for Sat. night to get there........

    Saturday morning arrives, day of the big show. My friend gets a call, it is the owner of the club. "Dave? Uh, yeah. Hey. You gotta get down to the bar, gotta get your stuff out. I know I promised you guys had the gig, but JM saw your band equipment and says he wants someone different to play. Sorry!."

    My friend went down to get the musical gear, not really thrilled at this point, but hey....... So goes life.

    Are we going to get paid anyway? We turned down a gig to play this one. "Uh. No. Sorry."

    Can we still come to the party, then? It's not like we have anything else to do. "Uh. Let me check with JMs' people................ Sorry, but no. They say they don't know you, you can't be on the list. But please hurry up and get your stuff out. The new band is wanting to set up. Hurry all you can, JMs people are getting antsy."

    Ouch. The owner could have at least paid them something for their trouble. In my opinion.
  17. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

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    ^Well masked ;)
  18. kcole4001

    kcole4001

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    Heh.
    Some people are just melon heads..
  19. WJGreer

    WJGreer

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    Sounds like that local rocker got a little Bigger Than His Body. We all know there's No Such Thing. Except maybe in Georgia (Why?).
  20. The Thinker

    The Thinker

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    That sucks, OP.

    A long time ago I was in a band that opened for a band that had "the look," a manager and (apparently) a deal with a small label. The headliner's manager provided the sound guy, and my band sounded like crap through the PA (almost no bass, apparently). The headliners sounded pro.

    A day later the headliner's singer said his manager "would appreciate it if we'd reimburse him for half the cost of the sound guy." If I hadn't beel laughing so hard I might have hit him.

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