I have officially played my worst gig. What are your stories?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Lt Dak, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. Yer Blues

    Yer Blues Member

    May 26, 2013
    This weekend I brought my Les Paul Goldtop I got a few months back. I've played it almost every day at home, but not at a gig yet. No issues until a song came up that I play slide on..... action was so low the slide part sounded horrible. Other than that it sounded pretty awesome.... but man the slide was not happening.
  2. Pablomago

    Pablomago Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    Fort Collins, CO
    I'm not quite getting how you set up the drums. Do you have a picture or stage plot?
  3. m@2

    m@2 Member

    Sep 9, 2007
    San Francisco CA
    My worst gig was around 1996 when we played a small town in NorCal and we got in a fight before we went on... and then while onstage realized the people that started the fight were the security team for the show?1?! I was hit with a chair and knocked out for a few minutes. Still played the gig, but it was a very tense atmosphere.
  4. Heritage 80

    Heritage 80 Member

    Aug 5, 2004
    South of the Southside
    The highlighted words in red are all that's necessary to describe a "worst gig". :omg
    JS-29 likes this.
  5. crossbones

    crossbones Member

    May 18, 2008
    You know how a drummer, left to his own devices will immediately set his kit up against the back wall or in the corner of a venue?
    Not all drummers are super aggressive, but if you have a cymbal smasher, the snare, and cymbals reflect off that wall and large screen tv right into the vocal mics.
    Every time the poor sound guy tries to get the vocals clean, the cymbals and snare get way too loud, the bass player and guitarists turn up, things start feeding back and soon it's a race to the sonic bottom.
    If you get the drum kit set up almost at the front of the stage pointing sideways, the reflections don't happen off the back wall and the vocal mics reject sound coming from the side.
    The drummer will hate it, because it's not what he's ever seen in the pictures, but he will never understand that there aren't problem reflections in a huge concert hall because his favorite drummer is about 50' off the back wall of the venue.
    Just tell him that all the drummers in the venue will think it's cool.
    That's all drummers care about.....how they look to other drummers. (Then they dress in those silly outfits....It just makes no sense)

    I saw Justin Hayward playing with Mike Dawes, (Check him out) and MD played all of the drum parts on an acoustic guitar.
    It was the best drumming I have ever heard.
    No stupid cymbals that sound like tunafish cans.
    Total revelation.
  6. Brooks

    Brooks Member

    Aug 13, 2004
    North Cacolaki
    If you're gonna lie about fellatio, at least spell it right, ha
  7. rolsen

    rolsen Member

    Dec 3, 2012
    Whoa old post! How dare you make me re-live this terrible event (NOT getting fellacio after a glorious gig)!

    Btw, Urban Dictionary, who has made his dorky neighbor Webster say 'uncle' many times agrees with my spelling: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fellacio

    I will tell you I spell 'fellacio' as often as I receive it, which is something I've set out to improve upon.
    johnh, Lt Dak, JilaX^ and 1 other person like this.
  8. CosmicCowboy

    CosmicCowboy Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2014
    Had a rough gig Friday. Got there for load in and the venue owner wasn't there. That was sort of expected. Turns out his manager and sound guy were also not there. One of the waiters was setting up the PA...sorta. He'd never done it before and had no clue how to run sound. He want to run the bass through a DI box but had not clue how to get it to work. I finally told him we needed to scrap trying to get that working and we'd just go through the bass amp. We got set up and...never could get the monitors working right. The "sound guy" took off after about 4 songs. On our break I tried to sort out this overly complicated mess they had and sort of got the monitors working, though I never could get decent volume to them. Our drummer couldn't hear any vocals the entire night. It made things a bit rough and we felt a bit down about the show, but the people that came out seemed to like it ok.
  9. GravityJim

    GravityJim Member

    Aug 31, 2016
    I was 15 when I joined my first band, a country/MOR thing backing a mediocre but crazy-hot singer. Guitar (me), bass, drums. We decided a keyboard player would be swell, and I invited a friend who could really play. At our first rehearsal, we ended up jamming our brains out on current rock tunes, culminating with an epic 10-minute wankapalooza on "Hold Your Head Up." Our singer gets all Sylvia Plath after, says we clearly don't want to be her band, we want to do this other thing, and she quits. But we still have gigs, so we're going to play them. First one is at a quonset hut bar just for pilots out at the airport called The Aero Club. These old warhorses are expecting Irene Titsinass and the Ourglass (not a typo, I swear), and what they get is four long-hairs potheads who open with "Black Magic Woman." Complaints? Oh, you bet. We suck, we're too loud, we're a bunch a faggots. Everybody leaves the dance room and hides out in the bar, with the accordion door closed. They still hate us. Halfway through the third song, some enterprising jackass finds the breaker box and turns off the juice to the stage. We're not stupid. We just packed up and split.
    Wildhawk1, Deanriffs, strat62 and 3 others like this.
  10. mikebat

    mikebat Member

    Jan 8, 2014
    It's cold outside.
    Drove six hours to a gig. Blew 3 strings on a Floyd with no backup guitar. Singer threw a chair in the audience. Folks stole our cigarettes right off the bass amp.

    I caught the club manager leaving the place before paying us, he stiffed us $500. We only got $500 for the night. Got a speeding ticket on the way back.

    Band broke up.
    Wildhawk1, Deanriffs, johnh and 5 others like this.
  11. JS-29

    JS-29 Member

    Sep 14, 2014
    That is quite an impressive worst gig. Well done!
    mikebat likes this.
  12. Ricky1918

    Ricky1918 Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    Not as bad as mikebat - but still. I think worst gig of my life happened when I was 16 (I'm 21 now, lol). We were opening for some real big death metal band from our area.

    I ended in an argument with the sound guy, therefore sounds were sh*t.
    Our singer smoked so much pot he couldn't remember the name of the band.
    I distinctly remember him saying "hello folks, we are -" and then 30 seconds of him standing with his mouth open on the mic thinking about the name of the band.
    If he couldn't remember the name of the band, you can imagine how many of his bass lines and vocals he got right that night.
    Worst thing, he offered pot to the lead singer of the main band, and even that guy had some problems with his lyrics that night.
    Maybe that's why they never wanted us to open for them again.

    I'm not sure tho :D
    Wildhawk1 likes this.
  13. voorhiessa

    voorhiessa Member

    Mar 19, 2009
    I believe the drummer for incubus has always done this.
  14. William Braddell

    William Braddell Member

    Sep 28, 2012
    New Zealand
    Back when I was around 17 I did my third and final gig with my Black Metal band. We were a part of this organisation called School of Rock which was for teenagers mostly playing Classic Rock based music so we kind of stuck out like a sore thumb although we were pretty well received at our first gig. Anyway, the sound was absolute crap (yes I realize this was a black metal band but...), loud but total mud, bass player was way too loud and my friends Line 6 amp that I had to use started to cut out on me part way through the first song.

    Being the mature young man that everyone knew me for I decided to resolve this at the end of the first song by shouting out "What the **** is wrong with my amp?" which was met with raucous amusement from the crowd.

    I guess all in all, it actually wasn't too bad a show, just one of those ones where everything goes wrong and in hindsight I really wish I had kept gigging. Now I've just turned 26 and want to make sure that I gig throughout the remainder of my 20s.
    Wildhawk1 likes this.
  15. Shiny McShine

    Shiny McShine Member

    Apr 10, 2005
    I've had quite a few worst gigs but nothing topped what happened at this one church I was at for five years. This guy showed up who was a math player and week after week, I felt my soul being sucked out of my body. As this happened, I got all these weird muscle cramps and my left side all but locked up despite weekly massage therapy sessions. I started smoking 420 just to cope with him and I think that has a diuretic effect for me too. After a while, I finally realized that the whole thing was screwing up my life and I left (more like ran away). I ended up writing a book about intuitive vs. rote players and their incompatibilities so it wasn't a total loss! I even used to call this one knot in my shoulder by his last name, it was that bad. Now when I encounter someone like him, those muscles start to tighten and I know not to get involved.
    aliensporebomb and CactusWren like this.
  16. django49

    django49 Member

    Oct 23, 2011
    Washington State
    MANY years ago, we played an aftergame dance at the old high school. For some reason they had us play in the small (girl's) gym. And we had to set up at the far end. Never saw that before......all the electrical outlets were on the wall to the right----halfway across the gym. So all our amps were plugged into 100 foot long extension cords. None of which were secured.

    Twice during the evening, someone stumbled over the cords (or kicked them out of the wall). Everything was dead except for the (non-amplified) drums. The first time, the drummer just kicked into "In A Gadda Da Vida". (It WAS that long ago). The second time, "Iron Butterfly Theme"....So we got the power restored, then just picked up[ the songs in progress. It actually was more funny than horrible.
  17. django49

    django49 Member

    Oct 23, 2011
    Washington State
    Played at a high school WAY out in the sticks in the late 60s. Goofier than hell. We had to set up on the stage while the basketball game was going on. At half time, the "dancing girls" came out to do their routine. In a whole gym, to a 45 rpm record on a portable record player with a 4" speaker sitting on the gym floor They put on Tommy James' "Mony Mony". They started dancing and kicking and the record started skipping......."Mony Mony"...."Mony Mony"...."Mony Mony".......Until they fell on the floor giggling.

    Our bass player painted his desert boots fluorescent orange so they glowed in the dark under the black lights. I don't know WHAT he was wearing in those pre "leisure suit" days. Probably his pajamas.....Lead guitarist, who looked like Buddy Holly, painted his horn rim glasses flo green. Same effect. the poor boys and girls there did NOT know how to converse....Boys on one side, girls on the other....We would start to play, they would get up, meet in the middle and TRY to dance. As soon as we stopped---Zip to the sidelines. We had to mess with them......Play a few verses and do a dramatic stop, wait for them to get halfway off the dance floor and the drummer would softly count off to 4 and we would restart-----Mid-stride, they would reverse and meet in the middle. Rinse and repeat. WTH, we got paid.

    A few months later, our "manager" called the school. They were desperate for "talent" but wanted someone different, so he told them he had TWO bands and the other was "The Warlocks". I am pretty sure Scott did not even know that the pre-Grateful Dead was using that name on the road. We were NOT them. In addition, the leader of the band, the only one with any real talent, had left for the Navy, the singer for the Coast Guard, so we had no band. However, we DID have a gig and we grabbed an incredible guitar player. Mark was up and doing Jeff Beck and the like. None of us could keep up with him, but who cared? Our mild mannered drummer picked up the only microphone on stage, sitting on a folding chair, and announced, "Our singer is home with the flu, puking his guts out. Thank you". He set it down and we jammed for 3 hours. No vocals at all......Everything from Greensleeves to Green River. It did not take a long time for most people to leave, and we played the rest of the night for the 6 or 7 that wanted to hear that "psychedelic s**t".
    Again, we got paid, but never went back.
    The good old days......
    Wildhawk1, aliensporebomb and Lt Dak like this.
  18. Bossanova

    Bossanova Silver Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2014
    Washington, DC
    i'm pretty sure Jazz Basses are undefeated.
    Fretsalot, aliensporebomb and Lt Dak like this.
  19. Lt Dak

    Lt Dak Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2015
    In the trees
    I read through the thread again tonight for kicks and giggles. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

    Keep the stories coming folks.
  20. n9ne

    n9ne Member

    Jul 4, 2010
    Chattanooga TN
    A few years ago, a couple buddies and I were all between bands at the same time and decided to put something together to have some fun and make a few bucks doing covers. One of them knew another guy who was available...an extremely talented singer/guitarist whose band had also recently split up, and who also happened to own a full PA. Perfect! We all got together to jam one night....and it felt amazing. With the collective talent and experience in the band, you could just tell it was gonna be something really, really cool.

    A couple days later, the singer/guitarist called everyone...he was so excited about that first night, he went ahead and booked us a date at one of the mid-level bars in town, a place we'd all been playing for years. The owner knew us all and heard about what we were doing, and was really excited to book us. Fortunately he booked it a few weeks out...plenty of time for a couple rehearsals to tighten things up. No problem.

    But then nobody really hears anything from the singer for 3-4 weeks...and we try to line up a couple rehearsals, but he's tied up doing solo acoustic gigs and can't make them. So we've never had a second rehearsal, and the gig is now two weeks away....which becomes one week....and then it's upon us. The rest of us are pretty apprehensive and talk about pulling out of it...but the singer convinces us that we'll be fine. Okay, if you say so...whatever. We've done thousands of gigs between the four of us....surely we can fake our way through a few standards for the night, right?

    So we show up for load-in...and the singer rolls up with a brand-new PA system he had just purchased earlier that day. Probably $10-15K worth of gear. Wow....okay. That's unexpected, and maybe not the wisest decision...but hey, cool. Whatever.

    So we start loading in, he starts setting up the PA...and that's where things take a dramatic turn for the worse. I'd heard the guy run sound from the stage before, and his bands always sounded good...but it quickly became apparent that he was completely unfamiliar with this brand new system and that he was in way over his head. He was scrambling and struggling just to get everything cabled...trying to figure out what needed to feed what, how the signal chains needed to flow, etc....freaking nightmare. Most of the setup time was spent either trying to figure out how to get the sound working...or how to stifle the uncontrollable feedback once he finally got sound out of it. Again...way over his head.

    So instead of a nice leisurely setup and a short break before playing, we end up fighting with the PA for 3-4 hours, all the way up to gig time. Didn't even get a proper sound check....line check only. Which can be okay if you have a sound man who's on top of his game and knows his system inside out...but this was the furthest thing from that.

    So we start playing....and it immediately becomes apparent that something is very, very awry. We had all tuned our instruments with our respective tuners...but when we all started in together, we figured out real fast that at least one tuner was out of calibration with the others, so one of the guitars was a good 10-20 cents out of tune with the others. Just awful. And of course, each individual instrument was in tune itself...so everyone figures "Hey, I'm in tune....it must be someone else." So after the disastrous first song, we stop and everyone tunes up to the same tuner....so it's a bit better, but something still isn't right. To this day, I'm still unsure exactly what it was....there was just some kind of constant dissonance going on that we couldn't get rid of. (Hell...maybe he had accidentally dialed in a pitch shifter in the mains....I don't know.)

    The room is pretty empty except for a couple wives and friends....so we end up taking break after 4-6 songs, just to try to regroup. My wife (who knows the difference between a good band and a bad band) comes up to me...."Honey? What in the world is going on? It sounds AWFUL!" I agree with her completely....she's absolutely right, and I don't have a clue what the problem is......but the sound on the stage is like nails on a blackboard, and apparently the FOH is just as bad.

    I've already gone on too long. Suffice it to say, it never really got any better no matter what we did...and by the end of the second set, everyone was in a foul mood. It was so bad, I ended up personally apologizing to the owner of the bar for the way things were playing out; to his credit, he wasn't exactly upset with us....more like "WTF is going on up there? I know all you guys, and I know for a fact you're all better than this."

    I've done outdoor gigs in freezing temperatures in January. I've played two 4-hour gigs in a 24-hour period with full production setup/tear down for each with twelve hours of driving and no sleep in between. I've done gigs where my vocal cords were so blown out and inflamed I couldn't even talk, let alone sing. The show must go on, right?

    But this gig.....this one was the worst. I was so discouraged and disheartened by this gig, it was the final straw..and I decided I'd had enough. After that embarrassment of a showing, I basically stopped playing entirely...and it took almost five years before I felt any interest whatsoever in playing again.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017

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