Stage effects gone wrong

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Swampish, Mar 21, 2018.


  1. Swampish

    Swampish

    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    OK, so back in the 80s we used to try and emulate groups like KISS and pretty much everyone else at the time by using things like dry ice, Christmas lights everywhere, ramps, etc. to make our shows more exciting.
    One time, we were using a homemade smoke bomb (ingredients easily found at a local pharmacy, which I probably shouldn't list) that had 4 small pots inside one big one. Each pot could be ignited individually with a foot switch that would spark and ignite it. However, we must have buried the probes so no spark was generated. Instead, our guitarist, who always had a cigarette wedged between two strings in his headstock, took the lit cig and tossed it in to ignite it. The ensuing column of fire and smoke led to an evacuation of the space (starting with our drummer who was elevated and whose head disappeared into the smokey miasma first - though we kept playing without him for a bit longer). A huge hole was burned into the ceiling and the stage was scorched. Because we were all around or just under 18, our instruments were seized by the owners until we came back with our parents and apologized. I know we got off easy, but how humiliating for us bad ass junior rockers!
    Anyone else ever suffer from lighting or special effects gone seriously wrong?
     
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
  3. electracoyote

    electracoyote Supporting Member

    We used home-made "flash pots" back in the 70's, but even then we knew it was an outdoor-only effect.
     
  4. Swampish

    Swampish

    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    Clearly, our youth, exuberance and stupidity got the better of us.
     
    MYLOWFREQ, kesslari and electracoyote like this.
  5. Swampish

    Swampish

    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
  6. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    I find it hard to understand how anyone who remembers The Station tragedy (very close to home for me) could possibly consider indoor pyrotechnics of any sort without stringent safety precautions and a professional effects crew.
     
    dheafey, Swampish and bholder like this.
  7. Swampish

    Swampish

    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    Well, our particular event pre-dated the Station. That having been said, there is no rationale for stupidity. We didn't even have a stage crew. It was the perfect recipe for a very serious situation. We can joke about it now, but in retrospect, we caught a major break.
     
  8. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    I get it ... I look back at some the crap I did when I was a younger man, and shake my head. I must have had an angel sitting on my shoulder! ;)
     
    mcnach, superdick2112, rodak and 2 others like this.
  9. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    If you used the smoke bomb method I think you did, that stuff burns insanely hot. I have seen aluminum cans get melted to the sidewalk. It is a ton of fun though.
     
    Swampish likes this.
  10. Swampish

    Swampish

    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    Sounds about right! BTW, what a super avatar! Every time I come across it on a thread I laugh like crazy!
     
  11. In the 60s we had a lighting effects panel that became a smoke machine.
     
    equill, BassCliff, 2tonic and 8 others like this.
  12. Swampish

    Swampish

    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    Lol!
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  13. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    That reminds me of a book I read when I was a kid.

    IMG_0861.JPG
     
  14. Swampish

    Swampish

    Dec 31, 2015
    Quebec, Canada
    HAHAHA! From the blurb I read, it sounds like a Hardy Boys book!
     
  15. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Not A bad comparison . It was a great read.
     
    Swampish likes this.
  16. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    TL;DR
    Underage band high jinx, not very funny or interesting.

    Our "light show" came about after seeing some footage from Fillmore West concerts around '67 on TV.

    Being 13 y.o and feeling pretty heady about playing a few gigs with my first band, a friend(non-band member) and I hatched a Mission Impossible plan.

    My buddy's Dad was doing a bit of remodeling and had many large pieces of paneling out in garage that were headed to the dump. AND, there was a table saw set up and ready to use. Score!

    Fortunately, I already had a bit of experience using an electric table saw so we did not lose any eyes or fingers!

    We decided to build rectangular "shoe boxes" that would hold three colored spotlights each, probably about 14" wide, 8" deep and 5" tall. I measured and outlined all the pieces and we began cutting. I don't remember having a jigsaw to cleanup the table top cuts. Maybe a little handsaw. They fit good enough and we nailed them together.

    I brought three extra lights my parents had to test things out. These lights were old-school ones that are 50 to 100 watts of mostly heat and some color from a coating on the lenses.

    One of our other buddies came up with the lamp bases. We "borrowed" some Romex wiring cable and plugs from the remodel supply.

    I think we built nine boxes. That's a lot. We figured three on each side and three in the middle.

    We worked diligently for many hours over a couple of weekends.

    I didn't tell my parents what we were doing. They just thought I had a good friend and was visiting.

    After we got a few of the boxes built it dawned on us that we had to fill them. Ahhhhh...okay. Now what? With no money and a secret project, we decided to harvest the local crop.

    Since my buddy lived in the high-rent district, we headed out each night to fill our bag full of bounty. We even carried a couple of rags to deal with the heat of some of the crop.

    We put everything together, did one gig in a church with all the lights up in the balcony. We even used a small slide projector to display images and shadows using various found objects like lace, colored plastic and other stuff I don't remember.

    Oh, We used someone's station wagon to transport all the boxes. Fortunately Nothing blew up but I never saw the boxes again.

    Too much work, too little gain. I was glad to be relieved of them.

    And, if you're too young to remember any of the primitive stuff we used, don't worry about it, as you were. :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
    Swampish, 2tonic, 12BitSlab and 2 others like this.
  17. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Walked straight off the front of a five foot stage one night because I got totally disoriented when the light show guy (to give away my age) killed the blue and purple floods we were under and unexpectedly hit the now totally blacked out stage with an alternating blue and red strobe light. (Boom! Shaka Lacka-lacka! Boom! Shaka Lacka-lacka!) Those from the era will know what part of which song I'm talking about. :laugh::thumbsup:

    I had no idea I was that close to the edge or walking in the wrong direction when I stepped into empty air. Fortunately I only had a scraped knee plus a sore hip and butt and some pretty spectacular bruising the following morning as a result.

    Fun times.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
  18. Oddly

    Oddly

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    I remember playing a small upstairs room in a pub in Dublin City.
    At the time I was working as a sound-hire guy too, and using my own van for both band and work.
    Well, setting up for the gig I realised I still had a dry ice machine in the van from a fashion show earlier that day...seemed a shame not to use it.

    It would've been better if I'd remembered the reason the damn thing was still in the van was that I was bringing it to a repair shop next day.
    That important little fact didn't kick in until about 30 seconds after I fired it up to start our show.
    It would not turn off!
    It doesn't take long for a decent machine to completely fill a small room, spilling out the windows and cause a fire station call-out.
    Luckily nobody got hurt, although the venue did get some sort of fire safety notice and had to close for a while.
     
  19. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    We used to set the cymbals on fire with lighter fluid back in the 60's doing a freak-out on stage.
     
  20. Oddly

    Oddly

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Just the cymbals?
    Not the drummer, too?
    Missed opportunity there, if you ask me.:D
     
    Microbass, keto, LYNCHMAN and 9 others like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 22, 2021

Share This Page