2 days later and I'm still fuming. The Nerve! is doing weekend tours. We're booking 2 original shows and one cover gig to take care of our expenses. We had an agreement for $400 to play Fisaga's, 201 N 2nd St. in Harriburg PA this past Friday. We get slammed with traffic and it takes us around 6 hours to get there. We call the club and tell them we're going to be slightly late but we'll still be able to get up and running by the time they want us to, 10:30. We arrive 10:10, but they still haven't cleared the space we're playing so we have to wait 20 minutes for them to move people and tables. We get set up in around 15 minutes, my guitarist is parking the van and the woman who I think owns the place tells my drummer either we play NOW or go home. We're off to a fine start. The place is absolutely packed. I'm talking like hundreds of people, it's an indoor/outdoor restaurant-bar. Randy (guitar) returns and even before we start we're told we have to play REAL low. We quickly tape up the drums, put our amps ridiculously low (we're getting used to doing this) and start. They immediately tell us to lower. We do it. Again. We do. Again. We're now at a volume where I swear to you, we can talk in a normal voice on stage and hear each other, the sound of the crowd talking is drowning us out, and they still want us to get lower. I'm not insane, I've been doing this a lot years, and you have to trust me - it was completely absurd. People around us who were digging what we were doing were wondering what the hell was going on and telling us to turn it up. To make a long really bad story short, we finish our first set and this wimpy bartender comes up to us and says I'm giving you guys $100 and you're leaving. He's really obstinate, and walks away saying, "Take it or leave it, you're done!" I'm not violent at all, but the Bklyn. Italian in me was boiling over, and this is the closest I've come in 20 years to hitting someone. If it wasn't 3 of us against an entire city, I think I may have popped this time. I walked away - Randy followed him and wasn't going to let him off the hook. 10 minutes later Randy comes back to the microphone and tells the couple of hundred people at the bar that the club isn't paying us, so we're going to walk around with a hat and ask for donations because we need money for the trip and hotel we already paid for. Old lady gets incredibly upset... 10 minutes later a bouncer asks who's in charge of the band. I say, "Me, what's up?" He tells me, "The cops are here, they're coming in, and be careful - they're really dicks." Seems like the bouncer is actually on our side. 6 cops make their way through the crowd and ask me to follow them outside. This is getting enjoyable now. I follow. There are at least 4 cop cars, 2 horses and a paddy wagon waiting for us. I'm really impressed and I tell them so. He asks what's going on, I tell him, he understands, tries to keep from laughing, feels bad, and just asks how long it's going to take us to get out of there. I told him, they waited for us to pack up and escorted us about a mile away from the place. The cop turned out to be a really nice guy by the way, I tried to give him a CD... Anyhow - this is getting way too long and I have a lot of things I actually want to say regarding this stuff. I'll save it for later if there are any responses. Valuable lesson learned: Out of town gigs will ONLY be done from here on with written agreements. In NY they don't fly that well, but I absolutely refuse to take another out of state show without something in writing. If they don't want to guarantee us the money, then that means there's a chance they'll screw us and I'm never taking that chance again. Later. P.S Please support your fellow musicians by not supporting this place - FISGA'S in Harrisburg PA - and letting the rest of the musical community know when people like them treat you as if you're nothing more than a worthless piece of meat.