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Most awkward gig(s)

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Waffles and Scotch, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. Saturday night (New Year's Eve) we had a gig at one of our favorite venues...we were the only band playing. 2 sets of originals with champagne and the ball drop in between. Our singer and rhythm guitarist were very sick, and I broke one of my toes that afternoon. As we were packing up our gear to head down there, our drummer emails us saying he feels another kidney stone coming and "doesn't feel he can play proficiently". We call everyone we know...made contact with about 20-25 drummers...nobody can fill in. So we ended up playing to an unprogrammed drum machine. We had fun with it, but it was definitely the weirdest time I've ever had playing an instrument. Everyone loved us (and we made some new contacts), but we felt horrible, apologized to the venue and promoter, only played one set and forfeited our pay.

    Fast forward to tonight. I have strep throat (and my toe's still broken ;)), we fired our drummer on Tuesday, auditioned a possible replacement that was going to fill in tonight but he said due to the complexity of some of the parts he wouldn't be able to do it, and we're playing with a bunch of metal bands. Alternative rock with a still (mostly) unprogrammed drum machine. So I'm expecting even more awkwardness in about 12hrs or so.

    Anyone else care to share some stories of awkward gigs?
  2. dickfitts


    Jan 18, 2012
    A few years ago I was living in Alaska, and I got a call to go do a show in, like, an hour. I walk with my bass and combo rig for an hour to get downtown in eagle river because the guy is from 20 minutes north and doesn't want to try to find my place, he's got something to do to get ready, etc. I'm under the impression it's a bar gig, so I show up in shorts and a hawaiian shirt. The guy pulls up in a beat-to-hell plymouth and....he's wearing a three-piece suit. "Wow," I say to myself. "Hey there!" I say to the guy. "So, umm, should I be dressed up?" "No, man, you're fine. Hop in!" "Okay," I say..."soooo...where's this gig?" "Oh, it's a wedding at a private horse ranch." "Whoa! Umm...okay! You're sure this is good attire?" Yeah, you're coll, c'mon, we gotta get there..." SO, we get there. It IS a private horse ranch. It's in Palmer, on the outskirts of Wasilla, where sarah palin's from. The Bride and groom are...actually two brides and two grooms. Two mormon sisters, both marrying guys named pete. The mormon dad made this really sweet speech with a bunch of subtle references to how much better his family was than the two petes' families. Being a generous guy, he supplied a bunch of microbrew for all the heathens, who were all terrified of angering him so didn't drink any. Net result....four "leroy browns" in two sets, bewildered mormon stares, vaguely interested horse stares, free BBQ, bandleader's fiancee trying to get in my pants on the ride home.....six gallons of microbrew and $100 american. A successful day, all in all!
  3. Playing in an acoustic folk rock band, we got booked to play at a festival at a very expensive private K-12 school. It was mostly a kid's carnival with face painting and moonbounce and crap like that, but there were also lots of very wealthy parents and other connections, and the cheerleaders from a pro sports team were there. Not bad, right?

    Our "stage" was an empty space in the parking lot with no shade in 100 deg F heat. The rest of the carnival was at least 150 feet away. At the last minute we managed to get little tent over us, but the shade was only enough for half the band and it kept moving. Nobody, and I mean nobody, was paying us any attention.

    Then some guy with a remote control robot (like Johnny 5 from the movie Short Circuit) wanders over to us. He has some kind of microphone in his mouth so that the robot can "talk". The robot dances to one of our songs and says, in a cliche robot tone, "You guys are really good." We ignored the humiliation and played another song. The robot danced and said, "I like your music." The sax player said, "#@%! this, I'm done." He packed up and walked off. The band leader tried to save face by declaring the show over at this point. I could only laugh at the absurdity of the whole thing.

    I performed acoustic folk rock for a robot.
  4. Wow. Robot story takes the cake lol. Had something similar to that a few years ago in my first band. We were playing a big family thing on an air force base in new Orleans. With several hundred people there... Only they were all also plenty far away in an open hanger while we're on a flat bed trailer that didn't want to stay still, in the middle of summer, with no shade. It was still fun though. Got paid decent. Still had some people stop by for a listen and they all enjoyed it. We were defintely meant to just be something in the background though.
  5. FTW!!!!
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I played a Hell's Angels birthday at their local club house, which went mostly fine except we didn't know much they wanted to hear.

    Well long story short, 3 piece, drummer and guitar/singer are FLYING on an alphabet vitamin and they figure they want to start going into Sublime and all these stuff that bikers HATE.... I had to tell them we stop now before we finally cross the line and get punched in the mouth.

    Normally I don't care if the crowd hates me I'm getting paid, but I don't like angry stares and quiet responses when I am surround by dudes with patches and pictures of dead bikers on the wall, lots of pics displaying "Filthy Few", there were some sketchy moments.

    I was glad to pack up and go home.... with my license plate now on file with my local police service.... at least they warned me when I parked there
  7. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Well, this was one, and just happened a few weekends ago.


    Another one happened a few years ago with my previous band. Gig was a National Guard dance in a small town about a 2-hour drive away. We get there, get everything set up (including hard-wiring our distro into the house current because of no 220), it's a buffet meal and they bring the unit chaplain up to say grace on the meal "and a few other words". So he gives thanks for the meal, which I'm totally cool with, but then he goes into this lecture about how the soliders there are supposed to be setting an example for our country and how there's too much drinking going on and they really need to not do that and by the way, they need to watch themselves around women too. At which point we're all just looking at each other on stage in disbelief as preacher-man stomps the whole vibe of the night right into mush before we've even played a note. As you might expect, it wasn't exactly a happening gig from that point on and we were glad to just get paid and get out of there.
  8. Wow, I can't compete with biker bars (dude you got bigger balls than me) and 100 deg no shade parking lot robot gigs (omg) but I'll say:

    Summer gig at a boat yard.
    It rains.
    4 small tents for the 10-15 people that show.
    We play inside a completely empty garage that was just totally plastered the day before. No sound deadening at all. It was so f*ing awful...
  9. Bill G.

    Bill G.

    Dec 2, 2005
    Baton Rouge
    I played a double gig about ten years ago. I played with the opening band and then the "headliner." (This was before I started gigging regularly on bass, so I was playing fiddle & guitar.) The first band's set went fine. The band was established and I had been playing with them for quite a while. We took a break so the second group, which was thrown together without any rehearsals, could quickly set up & start playing. I carefully checked the tuning on my instruments. Then the musicians came in. The singer/lead guitarist showed up with some crappy guitar with the unclipped ends of the strings flying loose at the headstock, and a tiny Peavey practice amp. The bassist showed up with a cheap bass and no case. I thought to myself, "This isn't looking too good." We finally cranked up, and immediately I realized something was terribly wrong. Then I realized I was really out of tune! Or was I? I knew I was in tune, but I double checked during the first song anyway. Yep, all good. I then realized the rest of the band was out of tune. I quickly and as best as I could tried to tune to the other instruments on the fly. For the next several songs, which were played back to back, I never could get my instruments tuned relative to theirs. Finally, between songs, somebody in the band noticed that something was out of tune. I grabbed my tuner & suggested that we all tune to it, since I noticed that nobody else seemed to have a tuner on stage. Then the bass player said, "Nah, we all tuned to this," as he pulled a pitch pipe from his pocket. I almost thought he was joking, but he was dead serious! We finished one terrible set & took a break. Apparently the club owner or manager told the lead guy not to bother going back up for another set. Then the lead guy went outside & cried!!

    I will never forget this gig for the rest of my life! :help:
  10. ckitz


    Jun 7, 2010
    Right Behind You
    Nothing bass related, but funny anyhow.

    My school's symphonic band makes a bi-annual field trips. Last year, it was to Quebec for three days, and a stop at Six Flags on the way home. Had an absolute blast, saw some amazing scenery, stayed in some comfy hotels, and put on two concerts.

    Concert 1: The set up was obnoxious. We had to carry all the band's instruments down streets, down stairs, and eventually to the site of the concert. Trust me when I say that it is no fun to carry timpani, marimbas, and chimes down stairs. Some kids decided to ride the timpani down a hill instead of taking it down the stairs. Luckily, our bandmaster has a great sense of humor, and nothing was broken. When we finally got set up, the wind was blowing. And I mean BLOWING. The only way to keep our music on our stands was to put about 12 paper clips on the paper. As you can imagine, not fun when quick page turns where necessary.

    Concert 2: Pouring. Some use the phrase "Raining cats and dogs." This was raining horses and cows. And lions, elephants, rhinoceroses (thank you spell check), and emus. And hippos. We played underneath a pavilion, so at least we were dry. Most of us. Only two people showed up, and for one song. Then they went in. We played the rest of the concert to ourselves. And as soon as we stopped, guess what? IT STOPPED RAINING!!

    In the end, we had an amazing time in Quebec sightseeing, and now get to laugh about what we had to go through during the concerts.
  11. the wako kid

    the wako kid

    May 11, 2011
    last friday,I played my high school talent show.due to various circumstances,I was forced to play with a crate bx-15 practice amp.I'm playing a three song set and I decide to say **** it and crank the amp to 10.everything goes well until the second song when the amp starts making strnage fuzzy noises.during an insane slap bass jam I am tweaking the knobs on my amp and effects going ***.I finish the set despite technical difficulties and assume that one of my pedals was being unreliable.my band wins third place despite this,but I found out about this morning that i blew my amp.all I have to say about that is Thats ****ing METAL!!!!!!
  12. mndean


    Mar 20, 2009
    When in my old band, we were invited to play a gig at a large party of people who wanted covers, and our bandleader said it was (his) originals or nothing. Didn't think it was smart, but I went along. When we got to the big house in the hills, first thing we found was that in the past week, the host had shot at least a dozen rattlers around his house and fifty for the summer, which made loading in and out an adventure as it was on a hill and we had to park well below the "stage", which was a bit like a concrete grotto, not an acoustical paradise. Never did I step so gingerly, with ears open. We set up and play two songs to an indifferent audience and I notice we are driving everyone inside the house to listen to Middle Eastern music on a loud boombox, and they were dancing to it. We were utterly defeated.

    I apologized to the host when I saw him the next week, he was gracious about it. That wasn't the only reason I left the band, but it was a warning signal for things to come.
  13. slotrod65


    Dec 29, 2009
    Back in 1983, I was in a band that played a bunch of new wave stuff: U2, Clash, Ramones, Billy Idol. We get a gig about 40 minutes way, set up and then found out it was a biker bar. We played one set to various catcalls after which the owner came over, gave us $50 and told us it might be best if we left before everyone got any more drinks in them...
  14. smcgov

    smcgov Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    Northshore Mass
    in the early 80's I was playing in a metal band that played a lot of Judas Priest and Maiden....we got an outdoor gig for a high school graduation, most of the kids were drinking and smoking....about 3 songs in, we're starting to find our mojo and suddenly people start leaving in droves....and then start running...so we turn around and there are a couple cop cars..and the cops made us pack it up.....50 minute drive, 1.5 hour setup...3 songs...playing to the unappreciative police
  15. MelodicExp


    Aug 17, 2011
    a few months ago i got a phone call from a friend of my dad. he said they need a bass player to fill in for a show at a jazz festival. I said "cool when?" he said "in 3 hours" so i drive 30 minutes from a friends house to mine, grab my rig then drive another 45 minutes to the festival. there were 3 bands there: the opening act consisted of 2 guys playing folk music, then a jazz band. then i was told the band im filling in for was a funk-gospel band. as i went to meet the band as realized they were all black. now i have no problem with this at all. but they seemed really disappointed that the the bass player filling in for there funk band was a white 18 year old.everyone in the crowd was staring and pointing at me. all in all the show was a success. I got 80 bucks and some phone numbers which later helped me have the opportunity to do some studio at a well known studio in my home town. btw i had about 40 minutes to learn there set.
  16. You'll have to get it my time machine for this one, back to Pittsburgh of the mid-60's, a largely Motown driven culture. I was in a three man band playing Hendrix and Cream covers. Well, this crowd wanted R&B not leading edge rock. It didn't go well, to say the least. At least the volume level held them back far enough that they had to throw really accurately to hit us.
  17. JMimbs


    Jan 5, 2012
    Central Florida
    Well it doesn't compare to some of the stories on here, but its the best I have.

    When I was in college, my band would play occasionally at a small lounge on campus. We did lots of classic rock, blues, and some old country songs, and we always had fun. One night, just as we were starting "Cocaine Blues" my boss walked in with her seven year old daughter! After getting through a song about drugs and murder somewhat awkwardly we decided to cut a few songs from the set, namely "Hot Legs" and "Pink Cadillac". As it turned out my boss loved the show, but I didn't want her to have to explain some of the song lyrics to her daughter!
  18. ArkAngelHFB


    Jan 21, 2012
    So I still gotta say my first show was my weirdest by far...

    I was contacted a week before the show and asked to be a bands bass player. I asked them what kinda music and they told me rock and pop and it would only be four songs... reluctantly due to not liking the people in the band I said ok.

    So after a weeks of practice I realize that I'm the only person in this "Band" that has any clue what they are doing... still having told some friend that I would be playing the show I agreed to go on and perform.

    we get to the show and wouldn't you know it but they had manage to break my bass the night before while playing it after I left it at the practice area.

    So after asking about four other bands if I can borrow a bass for the set someone says ok... I talk to him a bit and make him confident I'm not going to do anything stupid with what turned out to be one of the best basses I've ever played. honestly wish I remember the name of it... neck and string through body goodness.

    So feeling better about the upcoming show I walk over to my band leader and am handed a set list with two song I've never seen in my life before. I ask about them and he tells me they are easy and to not worry he would show them to me in a bit. He then Vanishes to subway to get food...

    An hour later there I am on stage feeling my way through music I've never heard before, don't like, and with moronic band members... the best part was stalling the audience while the back guitarist learned to tune a guitar... I end up literally saying to the audience. "Our guitar doesn't know how to tune... so our keys player is doing it for him... as an apology here." I then played the mario theme song and got a huge laugh out of the crowd of 24 year olds who were probably drunk and or high.

    the set went over well and somehow more people liked us than hated us... We got paid but dear sweet lord did I never play with those idiots again.

    /horror story...
  19. Shamgar1986


    Nov 1, 2011
    My best bad gig story is this. My collage age Christian Rock band was invited to split a set with another band at a political rally in North Carolina. We are in Virginia. Since we know the singer in that other band and we have only two small cars to travel in, the tell me to leave my rig and use their bass and set up. Like a fool I said okay.

    We got to the rally and we were set to play first. The bass player is introduced to me, shake my hand and gives me his fretless bass. I've never played in front of 400 Republicans eating BBQ while playing a no line fretless bass. Oh, and did I mention that I was the front man and covered lead vocals? Needless to say, I bombed.
  20. We had a gig in a very upscale restaurant it was our first show there. We had just got rid of our first drummer a week earlier and replaced him with this other drummer. It was going to be our second show since he join the band. I got to the place early and was waiting for the rest of the band to arrive. He the new drummer pulls into the parking lot and parks I see him from the front window of the restaurant. He starts towards the place stops turns around and gets back into his truck and leaves. He didn't see me but I saw him. The rest of the band arrives I do not mention it to them thinking maybe he forgot something so we set up best we can without him and wait for him to arrive which he doesn't show and many calls to his cell go right to voicemail. So it is time for us to go on. We decide to do the show without him so at first we were going to go acoustic but I said let's just do the Classic Rock set that we had planned without him.(try to play born to be wild without drums sometime) I will keep the bass line busier than it would need to be and we are a good enough band to do this they had reservation but we rocked the place and surprisingly when we asked people how it sounded without a drummer they said and I quote "you have no drummer?" Yeah it was a strange gig but we lived through it. Fired him later on after all of his next time lame excuses and got one of the top drummers in NJ to play for us.

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