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feeling bummed out...

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by The Nanny, May 25, 2005.

  1. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Gig from hell story...

    My band is an 80s cover band, formed a year ago, and we have about 25 gigs under our belt, many at some of the most popular dance clubs in the city. We even have a fairly devoted fan/groupie following. We aren't the best musicians on the planet, or the city for that matter, but we fill the bars and people jam the dance floor until closing. We're a good cover band.

    Anyways, last Saturday night, we played a particular local bar (one of the better live venues in my city) for the first time. We were scheduled once before, but on that occasion the bar double booked us with another band from out of town, and notified us at 4pm same day that we were cancelled. We were pissed, but mistakes happen and decided to suck it up and be good citizens. We took another date instead (last Saturday) and another weekend in July in lieu.

    So we play our first set...the bar is 1/2 capacity (10pm...this bar doesn't get busy until 11pm), with many of our fans. People are dancing and singing alone. By the end of the set, the bar is filling up, and the bar is making good money cause they are charging $2 cover (we are being paid flat fee...they keep all of the cover), the owner tells us that he has received 4 complaints about the music and is shutting us down for the night. He pays us 1/3 of the money (there were to be 3 sets), and tells us that the next gig is cancelled. As we tear down the equipment, the bar is getting packed, and the bar is continuing the charge $2 cover.


    He said he didn't think our singer wasn't good enough, and that we were lucky to play there cause usually they only play the out-of-town bands. This came as a shock, because we've been playing other major bars in this city and have had nothing but rave enough reviews from the managers and patrons who beg for us to come back. And our singer is probably our strongest asset. Now, everyone in a band KNOWS when you've played a bad set or a major mistake was made...we've had many of those trust me...but usually only the band really notices. But this set that we played at this bar was quite normal for us...no real mistakes, and a very normal setlist for us with nothing unusual.

    Our singer is devastated. We would feel REALLY bad if it wasn't for the fact that we know we don't suck. Our music isn't for everyone, and not everyone is going to like it. But everyone in the band is feeling rather perplexed, and rather bad for all of our fans and friends who showed up (they were pissed, btw, and demanded their $2 cover back from the bar). We just told our singer to forget about it, we back him 1000%, and we'll just continue playing the other bars.

    Maybe we sucked? Maybe the bar owner had another agenda (like looking for an excuse to cancel the next show to make room for the other band, who is now booked, where the bar usually charges $10 cover charge)? I have no idea.

    Thoughts? Anybody have a similar experience??

    The Nanny
  2. LittleJaco


    Nov 4, 2004
    man, that stinks

    theres a lot of reasons the guy mightve unbooked you guys.

    1. he probably was having a bad day or he just wanted another band to play

    2. the singer might not be that great (but i highly doubt that cause you say hes good)

    3.he needed an alibi to get the next band booked.
    what you could do is tell other bands to not play there anymore to get revenge.
    do you guys have a website were I could listen to your music? I'm curious on how you sound.
  3. All of the above...
  4. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    We have a website, but no sound yet (www.raildogs.ca)

    thanks for the replies and support
  5. wow you guys have an awesome site man! honestly one of the best band sites i have ever seen!
  6. You know what? Screw him. He liked you guys before, you brought in a good crowd who ate, drank & didn't trash the place. You prob started & stopped at the right times & were mindful of break times, etc. Your set list (nice site) is varied & tasty. Unless the suck bomb dropped on ya'll that afternoon, screw him. And even if ya'll sucked total eggs everytime *** does he care if you're bringing in the bux? Is he a critic or a bar owner? This dude has a definate ulterior motive that I, for one, can't even fathom. He acted like I've seen owners do when they get really pissed at something the band or entourage does wrong. (Don't ask :oops: ) That's when you get shut down mid-gig. All he had to do was let you play out the sets & not invite you back. Very strange.

    Don't let it get you down, chin up and forward march. He's not worth any further regard.
  7. Psychdave


    Apr 4, 2005
    Valencia, CA
    What they said.... plus, it happens, we had a gig we had fought hard to get and when we called the day before the gig we are told by the manager that he had been told that we broke up so he has another band in.. who told him? A booking agent, want to guess who's band took our gig? So I call the agent to get in his face, he didn't even blink. He said, well if you were with me I wouldn't tell people you broke up, for only 25% of your gig you wouldn't have this problem. After a long discussion with the manager we got a replacement gig at the place, packed it to the rafters, wild night, just to be told that we stunk and would never play there again. Our board tapes of that night were great.. sometimes it ain't what you do, it is their agenda. The tapes made US feel better, we also got other gigs out of that night, people who saw us and hooked us up with other places, parties. This is a weird biz sometimes... ok almost always!
  8. The key thing is not to take crap from anybody. You should've said "your place is getting packed, people are into us and paying the cover. We're playing fine. We're going to finish the set and you're going to pay us the agreed upon amount." Don't let people walk all over you. What's he going to do? Not book you again? Sounds like he'd already made up his mind on that.
  9. Greetings fellow Ottawan! Sorry to hear about your experience. I haven't been to that particular bar but I know some folks in another local group who have played there a few times. I'll have to ask them what the score is with the management in that venue.
  10. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Before I joined my current band, they were playing at a club when one of the owners just decided to literally "pull the plug", because a few of the regulars would have rather of had a DJ that night.

    I feel lucky that I wasn't in the band at the time because I'd probaly have an assult and battery charge against me right now after I knocked the owner's teeth down his throat. Any idiot knows that you just don't go and shut off equipment. All it would take is for a preamp to shut off just a little quicker than a power amp and you'd have blown speakers and popped horns. From what I understand, our singer made a pretty good scene (he's pretty high-strung, but this deserved a good thrashing). I played at the club before in another band and thougth the owners seemed like jerks. The place has a pretty lousy reputation; I'm not even sure if they can book anyone right now.
  11. Rocky55

    Rocky55 Supporting Member

    Hey Steve,

    Sorry to hear about your "gig from hell". I just found your posting on the subject. I too, am from Ottawa and until a few months ago, I was playing with one of the busiest bands in town. In fact, I had to leave the band because we were too busy (2 young kids, full-time job, hockey, motorcycle, ball, etc.). Anyway, we played quite a few good gigs in my 2 years with the band, and approached this bar (the one you are talking about) a few times. The owner NEVER got back to us. Our guitar player played there a few times with a friend of his and knows him, but still, he wouldn't give us the time of day. We played at their Stitsville location (different owner), and at a competitors (O'Connors) in Kanata regularly, including 2 NYE parties... so we can't be that bad uh? ;)

    Anyway, keep your chin up. It sounds like you guys are doing well with repeat gigs in other respected clubs. Sounds like you guys were also good friends by standing by your singer. P.s. I just got off the phone with my drummer and he told me your drummer was looking at his Ayotte kit a little while back. He said he was a very nice guy. Small world!!!

  12. It's a bit off topic but that's a heck of a web site!! I'm our band's "web guy" and not much of one at that.

    Anyway, sorry to hear about your experience. Just when I thought we were getting abused by a certain club I hear your story. That's not only ridiculous it's totally unprofessional! What does he tell the crowd that came to see you guys? I don't care what you did or what he thinks you did, there's no reason to pull a band off stage unless someone's sick or dead!

    I hope I never come into contact with anyone like that. People who treat bands that way will eventually get what's coming to them. He can't continue to do that and build professional relationships. If you sound as professional as your web site, you'll be fine!


    John B.
  13. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Thanks for the support! Rock - Ya...we both know what bar we're talking about!! LOL

    What band were you with??
  14. Rocky55

    Rocky55 Supporting Member

    I was with Andi G. I've known Corey and Mike for almost 10 years. Played with Mike for about 2 and Corey for one back then. Then I played with few other bands from Ottawa and Kingston (Open Road which is now Roadhouse, then doubleBack, then Andi G. for just over 2 years). I really enjoyed the tunes but the calendar was getting a little too much for me. I have 2 small children and couldn't handle playing every weekend anymore. I'd like to find something that would allow me to play 1-2 weekends a month. Actually, I'm playing with Andi G. for a private party this weekend. :)

    How's the Lakland? I'm about to put my 55-94 in the Ottawa Musician... I have bad Sadowsky gas!!!

  15. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    ah the Lakland is like butta! I've never seen Andi G, but I have seen Roadhouse. very small world!!
  16. AcousticBass


    May 28, 2005
    cool story, no comment. :bassist:
  17. clanner

    clanner Token Black Guy.

    Apr 27, 2005
    ummmmm, marietta GA
    I can get some relatives to have a little "talk" with this particular bar owner? how does he feel about big black people coming to his club that happen to be quite volitile?
  18. Rocky55

    Rocky55 Supporting Member

    LOL! I think you need to be 19 to get into clubs in Ontario. :bag:
  19. What a bastard! If the owner cancels the gig, you're not supposed to get 1/3 of the pay, you get 100% of the pay. Your band was both fully prepared to and planned to play the entire 3 sets. If the owner cancels it during the gig, you still get paid the same amount. In fact, a lot of times bands will put in the contract that if the owner cancels it within a week or two you still get paid.

    Another thing is that it doesn't matter how good the band is. Why should the owner care how good your band is if you can fill the bar?

    And then the bar owner is still charging a $2 cover fee when you're packing up? That's ridiculously dishonest. I mean, he gets a cover charge, and profit from the drinks at the bar -- he's totally earning in that situation. "You can pay a cover charge to see the band pack up." Pretty soon they're going to be charging you to play there.

    Reminds me of what a local place did... they made it so in the contract you have to guarantee at least 100 people will show up... and you have to pay the place $2 per person that shows up. Then they leave you to collect your own cover charges to make up for the expenses. I mean, I can understand if it was a club in Hollywood or LA and stuff, but it ISN'T.

    Infuriating, isn't it?

    $10 cover charge. Yeah right, I hope nobody falls for that one. The band probably never sees a penny of that. :p

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