Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Bad experiences at gigs

Will Fly 09 Jul 12 - 08:49 AM
Will Fly 09 Jul 12 - 08:51 AM
Beer 09 Jul 12 - 08:58 AM
Will Fly 09 Jul 12 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Jul 12 - 09:34 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jul 12 - 09:36 AM
Acorn4 09 Jul 12 - 10:13 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jul 12 - 11:01 AM
Leadfingers 09 Jul 12 - 11:16 AM
alex s 09 Jul 12 - 11:24 AM
Will Fly 09 Jul 12 - 11:27 AM
Leadfingers 09 Jul 12 - 11:33 AM
NeilR 09 Jul 12 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Jul 12 - 12:56 PM
Vic Smith 09 Jul 12 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 09 Jul 12 - 02:15 PM
Jenny S 09 Jul 12 - 02:39 PM
Vic Smith 09 Jul 12 - 02:51 PM
alex s 09 Jul 12 - 04:16 PM
Phil Edwards 09 Jul 12 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach 09 Jul 12 - 05:04 PM
Jack Campin 09 Jul 12 - 05:29 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 09 Jul 12 - 07:54 PM
ollaimh 09 Jul 12 - 09:25 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Jul 12 - 09:57 PM
Joybell 09 Jul 12 - 10:06 PM
Will Fly 10 Jul 12 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 10 Jul 12 - 08:21 AM
s&r 10 Jul 12 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 10 Jul 12 - 10:03 AM
stallion 10 Jul 12 - 11:03 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Jul 12 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,Graham Bradshaw 10 Jul 12 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 10 Jul 12 - 12:10 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Jul 12 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,Songbob 10 Jul 12 - 05:33 PM
Don Firth 10 Jul 12 - 06:53 PM
Don Firth 10 Jul 12 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,Charles Macfarlane 10 Jul 12 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 10 Jul 12 - 08:29 PM
ollaimh 10 Jul 12 - 08:38 PM
Rockhen 10 Jul 12 - 10:00 PM
John P 10 Jul 12 - 10:30 PM
Midchuck 10 Jul 12 - 10:47 PM
michaelr 10 Jul 12 - 10:49 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 10 Jul 12 - 10:59 PM
BrendanB 11 Jul 12 - 07:13 AM
Vic Smith 11 Jul 12 - 09:49 AM
BrendanB 11 Jul 12 - 01:25 PM
Vic Smith 11 Jul 12 - 01:44 PM
GUEST 11 Jul 12 - 02:20 PM
banjoman 12 Jul 12 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 12 Jul 12 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Jul 12 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 12 Jul 12 - 09:44 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Jul 12 - 09:56 AM
Will Fly 12 Jul 12 - 10:31 AM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 12 Jul 12 - 10:33 AM
Will Fly 12 Jul 12 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 13 Jul 12 - 04:53 AM
Leadfingers 13 Jul 12 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 13 Jul 12 - 06:02 AM
Vic Smith 13 Jul 12 - 09:10 AM
Richard Bridge 13 Jul 12 - 09:18 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 12 - 09:21 AM
Vic Smith 13 Jul 12 - 09:55 AM
Tattie Bogle 13 Jul 12 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 13 Jul 12 - 04:40 PM
Leadfingers 14 Jul 12 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,A. Pseudonym 14 Jul 12 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,Suart Reed 14 Jul 12 - 07:49 AM
Vic Smith 15 Jul 12 - 08:19 AM
Leadfingers 15 Jul 12 - 09:19 AM
Mooh 15 Jul 12 - 10:08 AM
Mooh 15 Jul 12 - 10:14 AM
gnu 15 Jul 12 - 12:58 PM
Rockhen 15 Jul 12 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Charles Macfarlane 15 Jul 12 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 16 Jul 12 - 03:35 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 16 Jul 12 - 05:01 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Jul 12 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,leeneia 16 Jul 12 - 10:22 AM
ollaimh 16 Jul 12 - 04:06 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 16 Jul 12 - 07:26 PM
Mooh 24 Jul 12 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 27 Jun 13 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Grishka 27 Jun 13 - 06:52 AM
Vic Smith 27 Jun 13 - 08:56 AM
The Sandman 27 Jun 13 - 04:55 PM
Don Firth 27 Jun 13 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,kendall 27 Jun 13 - 07:25 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 27 Jun 13 - 07:57 PM
MGM·Lion 28 Jun 13 - 06:34 AM
Bert 28 Jun 13 - 06:46 AM
Vic Smith 28 Jun 13 - 09:11 AM
Rumncoke 28 Jun 13 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,Allen in Oz 28 Jun 13 - 06:53 PM
The Sandman 28 Jun 13 - 08:14 PM
GUEST 19 Jul 13 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 19 Jul 13 - 05:44 AM
James Fryer 12 Mar 16 - 12:45 PM
Brian Peters 13 Mar 16 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,wysiwyg minus cookie 13 Mar 16 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Musket 14 Mar 16 - 09:43 AM
The Sandman 14 Mar 16 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,Musket 14 Mar 16 - 01:04 PM
Tattie Bogle 01 Apr 16 - 04:51 AM
Phil Cooper 01 Apr 16 - 08:02 AM
leeneia 01 Apr 16 - 11:11 AM
wysiwyg 01 Apr 16 - 12:05 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 08:49 AM

From Vic Smith, in another thread:

Now, there's a good idea for a Mudcat thread - Bad Experiences at Gigs.

Where to start, eh?

Undoubtedly the worst gigs I've ever done have been weddings. I recall one particularly awful wedding at the Norfolk Hotel in Brighton. The to-be-married couple had liked us having seen us at a gig at the former Steamers Bar in the Metropole, so they booked us 6-piece soul band). Both bride and groom came from Irish families.

After an interminable wait in the bar while speeches finished - not unusual at weddings - we came on and played to total and absolute indifference from both families. We were asked to turn the music down. We turned down to the point of oblivion - and were still asked to turn it down. Eventually, we thought, "Fuck it!" and played at our usual volume. In the interval, canned Irish music was played - which was obviously what the people wanted in the first place.... The couple came up to pay us at the end and apologised profusely for their wedding guests - they said they'd enjoyed the music.

At the end of such experiences we always say, "Never again!" - until the next time...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 08:51 AM

The second worst experience I've had at a gig was at a folk club where the pub landlord's dog pissed on my leg while I was singing "The Postman's Holiday".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Beer
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 08:58 AM

Hahahahaha!!!!
That is something I'm sure you will never forget.
Adrien


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 09:14 AM

True, Adrien! I have to say, with some professional pride, that I carried on singing to the end of the song and finished it all properly. The audience, needless to say, was in hysterics.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 09:34 AM

I haven't done many gigs, but all were fine except for the nursing home gig where somebody started vacuuming the floor while we were trying to play.

We once did a wedding reception where nobody seemed to be paying any attention. Then, during a cantiga with a nice drum part, our guitarist bent down and looked under the tables. She said, "Feet are tapping all over the room."

So an audience which doesn't seem to care may not be that at all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 09:36 AM

Decades ago, Tina and I used to do a lot of non-folk club singing gigs in the company of Tim Broadbent, singing - what shall we call them? - the popular songs of the folk revival well known to the non-specialist audience. Sometimes they were good fun; always they were well paid.

One day were booked at a large mental hospital near Chichester; the sort of places that don't exist any more (and quite rightly so!) We were to be singing to a mixed audience of staff and patients. At first things went swimmingly and we were getting a great response. Now, this must have been pre-arranged but one by one the members of staff slipped out between songs until eventually there were just us three and the patients left. It was a locked room that we were performing in.

At first this was still OK but gradually the patients realised that that none of people that offered them their security were around and some distinctly twitchy behavoir developed amongst our audience which grew into moans and groans which grew in intensity.

We continued to sing and play with an almost manic enthusiasm as this was going on. Eventually, one of the members of staff returned, unlocked the door and popped his head in.

"Is everything all right in here?"

No, it wasn't.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Acorn4
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 10:13 AM

I got booked for a Christmas staff do at a pub. It was in a cellar where practically everyone was smoking (before the ban), the audience just wanted to chat (fair enough), and could probably be described as "secretarial". I might as well have not been there.

The worst bit was that I have an old sweet tin which I use for plectrums, capos, thumbpicks. One of the women turned round and thinking it was as ashtray stubbed out her cigarette in it.

A case of "grab the money and run"!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 11:01 AM

BAD EXPERIENCES IN BRIGHTON PART 2

Well, not that bad for us really, but certainly memorable.

Again, it was decades ago that our barn dance band were booked at the Brighton Police Social Club. We arrived to be met by a very angry organiser-copper. "What time do you call this, then? You should have started playing over an hour ago."

Fortunately, Tina had our copy of the contract with her and it showed that we were arriving to set up at the time given on the agency contract. He went off to get his copy of the contract from his office and his copy had the much earlier time. Well, it could have been a mistake except that the copper was very interested in the fact that one of the copies was an old-fashioned carbon-copy so he was sure that the agent was setting him up. Anyway, his attitude immediately changed. He apologised; could we set and start as quickly as we could because there was a full hall of people waiting. He would explain that it was the agent's fault and not the band's about the apparent late start.

There was to be an interval act, a comedian. He was a pain before he went constantly talking to the caller (me) and telling me how he wanted to be introduced. I was to really make sure that everyone was sitting down before I introduced him and he gave me the exact words that I was to say in my build up. He had brought a tape-recorder along with a trumpet-fanfare on it with canned applause. This was to be played through the band's PA. When he was introduced he stood behind the curtain for a while whistling and cheering before eventually appearing to use my microphone.

The band went to listen at the side of the hall and it was awful a long succession of horrible racist jokes and comments - one so bad that I even remember it:-
.... of course, you know that they get all these government payments in brown envelopes marked 'OHMS' You know what that stands for, don't you? Only Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.

I had been thinking sadly that the comic knew that this was the sort of material that a police audience would enjoy, but now we had a different problem. Our accordion player decided that he wasn't going to take this and that he was going up to switch the PA off. We were busy trying forcefully, almost physically to stop him doing so. However, he wasn't the only one objecting. The organiser was getting complaints from his audience and he went up on stage, told the comic that he heard enough, took the microphone and apologised for what they had heard! He then came over to us and asked if we would be good enough to got up and re-start straight away, even though it was our break. He wanted a good atmosphere restored straight away.

The rest of the evening went well and when he came up to pay the band at the end of the evening there was more than the fee we had asked for. He told us that he had given us most of the comic's fee. He also said that. what with the contract times and the comic, he wasn't very happy with that agent and that he would be paying him a visit in uniform.
It turned out the Entertainment Agency Licence (or whatever the proper name is) registration number on the contact was false and that he was not registered properly. We never heard from the agent again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 11:16 AM

MY Gig From Hell was a Six Month contract in a bar in Kowloon , Hong Kong bacxk in the seventies ! I was working on my own , no agent or management , and was WELL ripped off ! Even turned out the pay was 75%
of what other Non Local musos were getting . I was NOT DI'd so had a mic for guitar as well as vocals - One night a local lad decided to join in and 'borrowed' the Guitar mic - The Bar owner thought it was hilarious !
Then he fired me , four days into the fourth month without even offering a reason ! I instigated an action through the Employment Legislation , and had him change his story FOUR times to get things delayed . When he started threatening my witnesses I chickened out and came home at my own expense . Nastiest man I have ever met !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: alex s
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 11:24 AM

Sunderland on a Saturday night. Any Saturday night....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 11:27 AM

a long succession of horrible racist jokes and comments

Lord, oh Lord, how we suffered when in cabaret with "comedians" like that! I remember a nightclub (now long gone) that we played in the King's Road arches in Brighton - not far from the Zap Club - where we were on the same bill as a blue, corny and very racist comic. Some friends of ours, with aged parents, had come to have a meal and see us play. Of course, we were more embarrassed for our friends than ourselves when the usual bloody awful jokes came out. So the band started to heckle him - and we heckled him so effectively that he gave in and couldn't continue.

Oddly enough, the club owners didn't intervene in our heckling! I think they were equally embarrassed/fed up with the whole proceedings.

I also recall a similar comedian at the Washington Social Club - many years ago - who picked on one of the locals, the only black man in the audience. These comedians always try and offer some sort of cheap apology for what they're doing, to try and cover themselves - "It's all in fun - no offence intended", etc. - but it fools no-one. It was obvious that the black man was a well-liked member of his community. He sat there with an expressionless face but, eventually, two burly members of the audience got up and spoke words into the comedians ear. He left early and abruptly - and we got on with the dance.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 11:33 AM

Cabaret Spots at Social nights are always a source of amusement ! I was playing guitar with the resident band at Slough Naval Club for a while - One night the 'Cabaret' was a Vocalist/Guitarist who did at least know the words , but his High Spot was 'My Way' as a Three Chord Trick . The Accompaniment left a LOT to be desired .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: NeilR
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 12:14 PM

Ah, well - barn dances at weddings; it's pretty much gauranteed that not everyone is up for it, that you've been chosen as a lowest common denominator most likely to entertain most of the people (most of the time). If you can do that to the satisfaction of whoever's paying you, it's a success..

A culturally mixed wedding, he Irish, she Indian: they were a lovely couple, and made sure we knew they were happy with what we were doing. The groom's cousins, however, obviously didn't take to the concept of called dances, and came over to have a word. "You've got to stop telling them to get up and dance - if they want to dance they will."

We play them a tune while we're thinking about this.. then the groom is back. "Carry on as you were", he said, "that's exactly what we want!" I start calling for dancers for the next dance, and the cousins start heading for the band, rolling up their sleeves.

Fortunately for us, the groom headed them off; but they had their revenge. From the local streets a.. let's say a gentleman of the road was found: ah, but he was Irish. "He's going to sing us some songs." If I say what I thought of his performance it would come across as sour grapes: the truth is that everybody made sure they were upwind of him. The bride's family looked bemused - but the band had been shown our place.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 12:56 PM

The story about the mental patients reminds me...

If you ever do a nursing home or similar, make sure some member of the staff will be on hand to help out if needed.

One day an old man in a wheelchair suddenly remembered he was supposed to be getting a haircut. He backed up in a panic, whacking the hand of an equally old woman against HER wheelchair. She was understandably angry and vocal. And the recreation staff had decided that now would be a great time to have a little paid time off.

Not any more if I'm playing...
===============
"Our accordion player decided that he wasn't going to take this and that he was going up to switch the PA off."

Do you ever get the feeling that many people are too straightforward? Surely your accordion player should have known that the right thing to do was to turn the volume down very, very slowly, so the comedian doesn't notice.

They should teach this in schools.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 01:54 PM

Mike wrote:-
where the pub landlord's dog pissed on my leg while I was singing "The Postman's Holiday".


And what did you do with your trousers?

Well, following the lyrics of the song that you were singing. you should have:-

hung them upside down a bit to drain....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 02:15 PM

Some of my best gigs have been weddings, when you get one where a lot of people are up for it they can be fantastic. But you never know what to expect, and you have to be prepared for anything to happen.

My worst wedding gig had been going swimmingly until just after midnight, when for no apparent reason they turned nasty. Everyone was pissed, which might have had something to do with it.   They'd forgotten we might want paying, and no one had any cash. The best man had disappeared, and someone went off to try to find people in charge. Eventually the best man, a large rugger-bugger gone a bit to seed and several over the eight, came back with some cash, which he hurled to the floor in front of us while hurling abuse at us. We took the money and beat an orderly retreat. We escaped unscathed, and with our our money, but for a few moments we seriously thought there might be a fight.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Jenny S
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 02:39 PM

How about a concert where the electrics cut out at irregularly regular intervals - lights, mics, the lot.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 02:51 PM

A barn dance.
Many years ago.
Dormansland Social Club near East Grinstead.
NOBODY was there. No organisers, no dancers nothing... just an adjoining bar with a barmaid and 2 or 3 drinkers.
We set up.
We did a sound check - still nobody.
We had a band practice. We discussed and tried out a few tunes for the band to learn.
After about an hour, I was deputed to go into the bar to ask for an explanation.
"Nobody's coming, love, I'd pack up and go home if I were you."
"Yes, but the contract says Cash on the Night."
"How much is it?"
I showed her the contract. She rang the till, counted out the money and handed it to me without a word. I was looking non-plussed.
One of the drinkers explained.
"This place has been closed for over six months, mate, It's only just re-opened this week."
"So who booked us?"
"Well, that would be one of the committee."
"So, where are they?"
"They don't come to the club much."

We has all travelled to the gig in one vehicle. It was a very quiet journey home. Everyobe was psyched up for a gig and it hadn't happened.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: alex s
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 04:16 PM

Bad to good: at Consett Busman's Club the power went off just as we were starting.
Disaster!
But someone organised some candles, we came off the stage and stood in amongst the tables and did the whole gig acoustically. And successfully, it seems, as they booked us regularly from then on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 04:53 PM

Vic - that's an extraordinary story, like something by Magnus Mills.

I've only done one paid gig, as part of a pick-up ceilidh band for... a wedding. We were fine, but the acoustics were grim and the guests weren't in the mood for dancing. Or rather, they weren't in the mood for called dances - after our set finished (a little earlier than planned) A. N. Other Wedding DJ started up. The floor filled in seconds. Oh well, where's the bar?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 05:04 PM

Ever done a gig at a British Legion They do have two minutes silence when a comrade has passed on and then say "now for't singer "

Old peoples homes where the smell of wee hits you from a 100 yards. Haringey.
Tower Hamlets where they started serving cups of tea while I was singing and playing

Old ladies who rise up and move towards you while you are singing with arms outstretched

Yep been there


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 05:29 PM

A late friend of mine got a job playing the fiddle at Disney World in Paris for a few months, as a sort of busking act.

He was doing this as a duet with a washboard player.

Half way through his contract they decided they couldn't afford two musicians. And sacked him leaving the washboard player to carry on alone.

He reckoned he got the better part of the deal.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 07:54 PM

It was our first major gig--a 'benefit'--- for what was supposed to be a huge audience, for our percussionist's wife's family reunion. Over 300 people we were told. It was at a community hall, with many of the participants having driven up in campers, where they were to stay overnight.

At the time we were to play there were all these long presentations going on by a long-winded m.c.

Then, at the break, everybody made a break for it.

We started...there were 4 people standing around, and they mostly left after the first song.   

We did 3 sets, with the most enthusiastic fan being a large black lab who would keep coming in, standing by the stage, and looking intently at us.



Later we were told that the people camping outside said they did enjoy our music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: ollaimh
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 09:25 PM

i've done some odd gigs but i have to say i've only had one bad gig. i was hired to play harp and bouzouki for the toronto si=ons of kerry meeting at the dora keough, i got there and they dicided they didn't want me. so i ate a snack.(i had just come from busking) and went out side. there was a liquor store neaqr so i set up on the street. i had agreed to play a hour for fifty bucks, but all the guys going into the meeting seemed to stop at the liquor store and they pretty much all threw me a buck of two. in a hour and a half i had a hundred and fifty bucks and although when i started i was pissed off, when i broke to go home i had forgiven the sons of kerry--butn i wouldn't do i gig for them again without advance payment.

i've had good weddings. for people who looked poor i have played almost for nothing on occasion--they were gratfull and poor young people in love usually leave one with a nice bouncey feeling afterwards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 09:57 PM

That was a good story about using candles and joining the people to do the gig.

I went to a harp concert once where half the audience said they couldn't hear the music. The harper, a woman about age 40 from Ireland, simply stared at the people and went on as if no one had spoken. She easily could have moved her small harp to the center of the room, but she acted like she didn't have a creative bone in her body.

I can see a teenager getting flustered and not responding, but not somebody 40.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 10:06 PM

We've played all sorts. Mostly it's individual audience-members who come to mind as problems. The man with a condom on his head dancing on the table, teachers, the "...friend who sings and plays guitar and please let him." Silly questions and unlikely requests -- although I quite enjoyed them. I've got a whole list.
I did have a gig where I was asked to walk around a small room singing, unamplified, at the various tables while a band -- amplified -- played on a stage at one end. People thought I was great though and the band took a lot of breaks. I got to practice mime.
Weddings -- well they're there to look at the bride aren't they. Icing on the cake if they listen to the music too.
Cheers, Joy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 03:57 AM

A Basingstoke story. (For US 'Catters, Basingstoke is the large, administrative centre of the county of Hampshire - a place with seemingly little soul...)

Around 1973 or so, the London jug band I played in - the Egbert Sousé All Stars - was asked to play for a dance at a community hall in the suburbs of Basingstoke. So, I piled a couple of band members and some gear into my VW Beetle, other drivers brought other cars and, after much fiddling around (way before sat-nav) we found the hall and set up.

The first half consisted of playing to a couple of ladies, three nuns and a handful of small children. Along came the interval and we went outside in the darkening evening for a smoke and a bottle of beer (always bring your own beer). As we stood there, chatting, three black guys were walking past us, and they stopped as one of them asked us - in an American accent - where such-and-such a street was. "Sorry," we replied, "we're strangers in Basingstoke."

"Hell, man," came the reply, "everyone's a stranger in Basingstoke!"

A reply I've never forgotten.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 08:21 AM

I once played for a ceilidh where the band outnumbered the audience (and one of them had a game leg). We'd been booked by the town's arts centre, who in typical fashion had totally failed to market the event to anyone who might actually be interested, and so our potential audience were all at a competing event.

Our caller did the best he could in the circumstances, and they paid us a very large fee, so it turned out OK.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: s&r
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 09:52 AM

Social club ceilidh gig. Turned up, met by committee, set up. Committee watched. Played for a while just to kill time, then chairman walked over and said "What time do the audience arrive?"
"What time did you put on the tickets?"
"Tickets?"
"Posters?"

"Don't the audience just turn up?....."

Stu


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 10:03 AM

Oh boy........

From the days of The Garden Gnome Ceilidh Band (UK):
We were booked for a festival(?) in Newton Abbott, along with The Boys of the Lough and some others. All went well until the end of the evening, the audience had all gone home and we, after having driven down from Derby and done the gig, were understandably somewhat knackered. This interested the person who was supposed to be putting us up not the slightest, all he was interested in was finding out where the person was who he'd entrusted the chops for his sunday lunch to. After about an hour of being totally and completely ignored, we collectively said,"Sod this" and drove all the way back to Derby. Only our roadie/soundman knew how he kept awake and on the road.

Then there were the often acoustically dead village halls around Derby where the public would just not get off their arses 'cos they expected something like "Come Dancing" and "Winster Gallop" was off their radar.

Then there was the solo gig in Leipzig just after 'The Wall' crumbled. Most of the audience were more interested in celebrating someones birthday.....There was, however, an Irish brickie there,(think "Auf wiedersehen,pet") totally pissed.....he 'stood' swaying about a foot from me demanding that I play The Wild Rover.........And the night before in Zwickau where the front rows were filled with chain smokers all smoking something that made Gitanes smell like Davidoff cigars in comparison. The resulting bronchitis was not amusing.

Take the money and run!

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: stallion
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 11:03 AM

Having just done my daughters wedding it was wonderful except that one of the DJ's was so desperate to get their music "out there" that they cut the mics and instruments off during the third encore saying that there would't be time to get their "full mix in" if the hadn't, excuse me ! One shouldn't do that to the brides Father !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 11:23 AM

Presumably the bride's father will be the one to pay that DJ? In the words of Wilkie Collins ~ "make 'em cry; make 'em laugh; MAKE "EM WAIT!"

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 11:42 AM

We used to do a gig every year at a firemen's college for their end of course bash. Always pretty rowdy, but good hospitality and a good fee.
On one occasion, we turned up and the strippers (oh yes there were) asked us if we could play for them as they had forgotten their recorded music. They wanted "Wheels Cha Cha" - you'll remember this if you are of a certain vintage. So we had a go and managed to get away with it. Only trouble was the strippers were also of a certain vintage, and we were at VERY close proximity and got the 'best' view in the room.
OK, perhaps not so bad - somebody's got to do it!
After they had finished, they went back to serving behind the bar. Never looked at them in the same light again!

G


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 12:10 PM

I couldn't possibly tell you........ some of the people reading this thread might recognise themselves!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 12:13 PM

They wanted "Wheels Cha Cha" - you'll remember this if you are of a certain vintage.

Never having heard of this title, I googled & found it on Youtube. The second before clicking 'play' I thought "hold on, is it that one?" Click... and I named that tune in one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: STRING BAND DISASTER (Bob Clayton)
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 05:33 PM

I don't have anything close to these to add -- though there was the string band gig when I'd had four wisdom teeth pulled that morning -- so I'll just provide a mythical gig:

        String Band Disaster


A visit from some friends of old was all we had in mind --
A few short hours, a friendly meal, and songs of a homey kind.
That was all we expecting; we thought we had a winner,
But who'd have guessed the uproar when we had that band to dinner?

Chorus:        

'Cause the fiddler, he got drunk and fell into the pool;
The banjo player tried to tell the cook she was a fool.
The guitarist and girl singer wouldn't let their passions cool,
And the bass player took all the solos.


It started well enough, I guess, with beer or drinks and snacks.
The guests were settling down a bit, and starting to relax,
When the band drove in the driveway, and all the trouble started.
It was enough to leave our poor hostess broken-hearted.

Chorus

A musician on the road, of course, is always under stress,
And stress can make the best of us do strange things, I confess;
But this must have been the double-damnedest tour the band had taken,
'Cause by the evening's end, everyone was badly shaken.

Chorus

The music started off just fine, then got a little faster,
But when they turned to bluegrass, they straight-way met disaster.
Each one tried to outperform the others in the band,
And the tempo, pitch and volume went completely out of hand.

Chorus

When the evening ended, and the squad cars had dispersed,
We sat down to ponder who had really been the worst.
The drunk, the lout, the lovers, too, were not to be desired,
But we all agreed the bassman was the one who should be fired.

Chorus

Copyright © 1991, Bob Clayton, Silver Spring, MD All rights reserved.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 06:53 PM

A couple of young guys, barely more that kids, really, opened a coffee house in a small town across Puget Sound from Seattle and up north on the Olympic Peninsula. They hired both me and a young woman named Marilla Waesche (WAY-she) to sing there for their opening weekend.

Apparently the good people in this small logging town who came to the opening, all quite young, didn't know how to behave in an establishment with entertainment, such as a coffee house. I think they were used to sitting there with a juke box blatting away, and the louder it blatted, the louder they talked.

The owner introduced me to the crowd, then I went out and launched into my first song. They kept right on talking. In fact, totally ignored me. I'd reach the end of a song, no applause. I probably would have got a better response if I'd stood there and belched!

Anyway, when I finish my first set, I was mad enough to spit. I was used to Seattle audiences, most of whom came, not to pay exorbitant prices for a tricked-up cup of coffee, but to listen to the singer.

And I thought about Marilla, who was up next. I learned that she had only been playing the guitar and singing for about a year and other than at a few small parties, had never sung in front of an audience before. This was her first gig. She was a very pretty girl and she had a really nice voice. And I knew she was very nervous. This audience could be a really traumatic experience for her, and a real turn-off.

So—I set my guitar aside, stood there, and yelled, "HEY!! SHUT THE HELL UP!!"

I knew that the young owners of the place could fire me on the spot and never ask me back, but at this point, it was a consummation devoutly to be wished. I didn't give a damn.

This caught them by surprise. They became dead quiet and stared at me with their mouths open.

I said, "I've sung all around the Pacific Northwest, and I've sung all up and down the Pacific Coast, and back in Eastern Canada! But I have to say that THIS is the RUDEST AUDIENCE I have ever encountered? Don't you people know how to behave in a place like this?"

A lot of open-mouthed blinking.

"Now look," I said, a bit more quietly. "There's another singer here who is singing her first engagement, and she's a bit nervous. And with an audience like you people are being, she has every right to be. If you folks have any courtesy and consideration in you at all, please keep quiet while she sings and, for heaven sake give her a chance!"

Then I introduced Marilla.

They sat there like polite little ladies and gentlemen, and listened to her. They saw that she WAS good, and even though her repertoire was small, she knew some good songs. They applauded. A bit politely at first, and then with enthusiasm. She went over well.

The young owner of the place came up to me, I wasn't sure what to expect. "Thank you, thank you!" he said. "I'm so sorry! I guess around here, they're just not used to places like coffee houses and night clubs. But thanks a million for getting them straightened out. Actually, when they acted the way they did when you first started singing, I should have come out and told them to behave themselves!"

My next set went over well. By now, they had learned how to listen. And apparently the word got around, because the following night, they were as good as gold!

By the way, Marilla went on to sing lots more engagements, then I lost track of her when she went back East to school.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 07:31 PM

Another "Shut the hell up!"

I posted this on another thread about ten years ago, but it might be relevant here.
. . . in most of the places where I sang regularly in Seattle during the Sixties, the proprietors (Bob Clark at "The Place Next Door," Stan James at "The Corroboree" [Stan was an Australophile], and John Timmons at the "Pamir House") were pretty aware of what was going on and put a quick stop to it. They usually went to the to the heckler's table, picked up the check, and told them to leave now and don't come back.

On one occasion I had to take direct action, but I knew the audience was with me.

I had an acquaintance (I wouldn't call him a friend) named Alex. Alex was an out-of-work actor, and he loved the spotlight. He was also a self-appointed critic of everybody else's performances: actors, singers, dancers, whatever, he fancied himself an expert. He once told me that "It's a performer's job to capture my interest. If they don't, then they're not doing what they're paid for and they deserve what they get. Tough luck!" He was also full of advice on what was wrong with my performances and what I should do about it. He made one or two good points, but most of it I ignored, because it was goat-feathers -- just his ego exercising itself. One night at "The Corroboree" he kept talking to his companion, loudly, and in his stage voice -- as I sang. He was letting me know that I hadn't captured his interest. People kept shushing him, but he ignored them. Stan was busy in the kitchen, so I was on my own.

I finished the song I was singing. When the applause, punctuated by Alex's stentorian voice, died away, I put my mouth about an inch from the mike. It was normally about a foot and a half away, with volume adjusted accordingly.

Softly, I said "Alex. . . ."

It boomed through the place like the Voice of God. Alex, startled, looked up at me.

"Alex . . . Shut the hell up!!"

The place broke into prolonged applause, cheers, and whistles.

Alex got up and left, and I never saw him again after that.
Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Charles Macfarlane
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 08:07 PM

Fortunately, I've rarely had to rely on singing for an income, so most of my contributions were as a passably competent amateur, but the more important sets I did were usually well-received - 15-30 mins sets supporting the main act, some local festival spots, voice workshops, etc.

Don's post reminded me of a couple of gigs that between them had rather mixed results.

The first was an unimportant affair, which happened shortly after I first started singing in public, but which brought home to me the usefulness, when the need arose, of having a very loud voice! A pub near to where I then lived had a resident band that played pretty much the same set from week to week. Consequently the audience, who were really just the pub's regular clientele, used to talk all the way through it. During their interval, they'd let others from the floor have a go. IIRC, they introduced me, but of course, noone was listening, so as I stood up, I was thinking: "This is not good, absolutely noone is taking a blind bit of notice of me!". I think I had intended to do a quiet number, but at any rate I launched into something loud, probably General Taylor. What I definitely remember is noticing that by the end of the first line, every person in the room seemed to be facing me, even those seated with their backs to me who had to twist themselves round in their seats to do so, and paying full attention.

The other was when I and my ex-wife first hitched up together. She already had a couple of gigs booked, which naturally we rearranged as a joint effort. One was a local club, in which one teenage girl, who herself was a local performer thereat, talked all the way through both our sets with an evident admirer or boyfriend of hers. Every one else seemed to want to listen to us, but effectively she ruined what would otherwise have been a very pleasant evening.

If it had simply been my own gig, I'd've acted as above, and if that failed, I'd've told her in no uncertain terms to stay and be quiet or go outside and talk, but it being my other half's, I didn't feel I had the right. I remember thinking it rather strange firstly that one couple could be so insensitive to the wishes of seemingly everyone else in a tolerably crowded room, and secondly that noone else in the room seemed inclined to interfere to tell them to be quiet.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 08:29 PM

Summer l978, aged 19 - playing a chaotic loud open air gig
which was raided and closed down by local rural west country police.

Waking early the following morning bedraggled & bleary eyed, cuddled up to a cute skimpily clad teenage girl,
on the grass under the makeshift stage near a small stagnant lake.

Needing to go to the Dr's later same day seeking urgent medical attention
for over 100 mosquito bites
inflicting dire discomfort on every part of my body....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: ollaimh
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 08:38 PM

i did a terrible performance once when i had had wisdom teeth pulled the day before, and they needed a full operation with the anaesthetic and all/ friends said they would cover it for me but i was so stoned on the pain killers i thought i was fine. i performed and thought i was great. apparantly my timing intonation and pitch were not so good. luckily it was mostly friends in the audience and they didn't even laugh out loud. they did tease me for a few years though about whether i brought my pain killers to a gig.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Rockhen
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 10:00 PM

We did a gig in a garden for someone...it all appeared to be going well until the host disappeared then reappeared, with a lawnmower. He started mowing a strip of grass just a little way in front of the stage. We finished off the song then decided it was maybe a sign he wanted us to stop...he looked up and expressed surprise that we had...Apparently he was just thinking ahead to after our 'bit' and had decided to set up a little area for a bit of golf wotsit...If that wasn't enough, a little while later as we went to get our food...a man we know came over to us, dragging along his reluctant daughter, saying to the band, as we stood together, (all men apart from me,)...what you need is some female glamour in your band...I didn't cry but I felt like punching him...boohoo!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: John P
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 10:30 PM

A backyard wedding reception. It started to rain. We were set up under a canopy and were asked to keep playing. Everyone but us went inside the house. The father of the bride came out with a video camera on a tripod, plopped it down in front of us, and went back in the house. We played a set and a half to a video camera, barely covered from the wind and rain.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Midchuck
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 10:47 PM

Many years ago, our then-new trio had a coffeehouse gig in Burlington (largest "city" in Vermont - 60 miles to our north). We were aware that that area had a lot more folk fans than our own region, so we were looking forward to a decent crowd.

As we drove into the city, we saw a large poster for the evening's show at the Flynn, the large concert hall in that area.

Joan Baez.

We never got enough audience to outnumber the trio of performers.

P.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: michaelr
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 10:49 PM

I was in a rock/R&B band in the 80s and we got hired to play at a local celter for developmentally disabled folks. Most of the audience was in wheelchairs. I guess we were perhaps a bit louder than they were used to, or maybe it had to do with what they'd had for lunch... anyway, after an hour or so quite a stench arose in the room. It appeared that a number of the folks had crapped themselves and had to be wheeled out. The windows in the room could not be opened.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 10 Jul 12 - 10:59 PM

At one of my bands jobs about 15 years ago our bass player had a heart attack. A year before that our drummer had a heart attack and died 4 days later. Irish folk music can be hard ya.

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: BrendanB
Date: 11 Jul 12 - 07:13 AM

Many years ago playing a ceilidh in Bevendean on the outskirts of Brighton organised by social services to help to develop 'community'. Those attending had no interest in what we were doing and viewed all the attempts by the ( very experienced) caller to engage them in dancing with deep suspicion. The atmosphere became threatening and we made our excuses and left.

Playing for a Scottish wedding in Kelso. We pointed out that we were an English band playing mainly English music but the bride, who booked us, was adamant that she wanted us to do the gig. We started, no-one danced. About 40 minutes into the set a row started between some of the guests and we took a break while other guests tried to sort it out. When we started up again there were demands for Scottish dances so we told the accordion player to play every Scottish tune he knew. By this time scuffles had broken out between the argumentative guests while one guy decided to dance on the table hurling abuse at anyone who attempted to dissuade him.
We started to pack up but when we got outside we found a bunch of guys knocking seven shades of brick dust out of each other and loading the gear proved to be very challenging.

On the plus side we did get paid but I felt really sorry for the bride and groom whose wedding turned into a car crash.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Jul 12 - 09:49 AM

BrendanB wrote:-
"Many years ago playing a ceilidh in Bevendean on the outskirts of Brighton....."


If that's the one that we did together, Bren, it certainly was no fun but I don't think that it would get anywhere near my Top Ten worst gigs - and if it was that gig in Bevendean, wasn't it an afternoon gig? Didn't we pack the gear up straight away and head straight for the Bognor Folk Festival where we played for a stonking ceilidh? That drove the memory of the afternoon gig straight out of my mind. If memory serves correctly then it was Pete Coe calling that festival gig and not either of us which was usual with that band.

In case it seems like I am really having a moan in this thread, I ought to point out that that I have done very, very many gigs (still do - three this week) so the law of averages says that I should have more than my share of bad ones to report. Most of them are thoroughly enjoyable which is, I suppose, why I am still at it after 40-odd years.

Weddings? I recently calculated that I must have played for or called (or both) for over a thousand weddings over the years, sometimes 2 in the same day all within two hours drive from where I live. The majority have been great, if you don't mind hanging around at the start as the rule is that wedding ceilidhs will always start late.

I'll tell you about the worst one which was only 2 or 3 years ago. It was (with apologies to Will Fly who I seem to be following around) in a village just outside Basingstoke; a really lovely hotel in a beautiful grounds - not the best setting for a grim gig.

It was to be a Wild West themed dance (doncha just love 'em?) so there were hay bales all round the edge of the dance floor, making it smaller than was ideal as there were lots of people there. As we were starting to set up, members of the hotel staff were putting lighted candle lanterns in front and sometimes on the hay bales.

"What on earth are you doing?"
"This is what the bride & groom wanted."

I told them that in a few minutes time there would be dancers galloping up and down and that if one fell into a hay bale, the whole place would go up in flames.
He went to get the groom who came and asked me what the problem was.
I explained.
"Oh! It will be all right!"
"Well, it looks like an accident waiting to happen to me and the band are not going to play under those circumstances."
He tutted and made a face as if I was making a fuss about nothing but he had the staff remove the candles.
He then said , "We are just going out for a minute to have some photos taken. Don't start until we get back."

We waited..... and waited. The best man came and and told us to start as everyone was hanging around. I told him that the groom had told us to wait until he and the bride came back. He told me that he would go outside and get them. Another long wait and then he returned and said, "Just start - they are not coming."
I got people up and taught them the first dance. We were half way through it when an angry groom stormed up to me and asked me why we hadn't waited for him as he had asked. I explained what the best man had said.
"The c**t." He said and went storming off. At the end of the dance, I became aware of a a loud stand-up row between them.

After a couple more dances, one of the guests in complete cowboy gear stood in front of the band with two water pistols and started shooting them all over me as I was teaching a dance and over the musicians - the water getting on to concertina and melodeon bellows and on to our mixer/amplifier. I switched it off, told the musicians to put their instruments in their cases. I put the cover over the amp and put my instruments away. The cowboy continued with his spraying of us.
The groom came up to ask us why we had stopped playing. I explained.
He said. "Look, if you have a problem with one of my guests, you come and tell me and I will sort it out." I told him that if I hadn't stopped and covered the amp, the water could have got through the sliders into the amp and fused it.
The groom then turned to the cowboy.
"Oi, just leave them alone, will ya?"
"I was just having a joke!"
"Well, they can't take a f**king joke, they are just moaners."
He then left me to continue my leading part in this enthralling evening.
At the end of another dance two of the guests started to push one another around and this developed into a fight with the two of them spralling around the dance floor. I waited for it to end. The groom, by now rather the worse for drink, approached again.
"What the f**king matter now? Why aren't you playing?"
"I don't know if you've noticed, but there is a fight happening on the dance floor."
Without a word he went across to the fighters and gave them both several full-blooded crunching kicks in the ribs. The combatants crawled off and clutched their sides.
"OK now, is it?" came the groom's sarcastic voice.

Yes, everything's just dandy!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: BrendanB
Date: 11 Jul 12 - 01:25 PM

Yes Vic, that was the one I was thinking of but I recall it as an evening event, outside, with us playing on the back of a flatbed truck. On the other hand I would not claim that my memory is faultless (even reliable). Have I already posted this.....?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Jul 12 - 01:44 PM

Ah yes! The flatbed truck brings it back to me better.
There a big banner hanging from the front of the truck saying Bevendean Fun Day.... not the name we referred to the gig by afterwards!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jul 12 - 02:20 PM

Our acoustic/americana/folky band was booked to play at a 'poetry club' night after all the RADA-type amateur poets had done their spots. We sat in the audience as about 9 20-somethings in turn recited their sophomoric twaddle to rapt attention, and soaked up the polite applause at the heavily-cued end of each recitation - usually the blank verse stopped, with a 'Thanks'. The only amplification was a single mic through the club sound system in an average-to-small sized club room.

Then it was the band's turn, and we hadn't even stood up before the chatter started up - you can imagine the noise 60 drunk, self-absorbed RADA students could make. Polite attention went out the window.

The most annoying thing was the way half of them stood in the front row of this crowded room with their backs to us as they yammered. Obviously the thing to have done would be to grin and bear it, but I suppose having been led to believe that each number would get perfect silence and wild applause as each poem had, it was only natural that the guitar player should melt down and give the room a large piece of his mind. To their credit, about ten people stayed behind after his deputy-head-style rocket but that was the last gig with that lineup.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: banjoman
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 05:38 AM

Turned up to play at a wedding and while setting up found that we had to share the stage with a disco complete with flashing lights. Then the organiser told us that she only wanted dances where people held hands and danced in a circle. Exhausted our repetoitre in about 30 minutes and then were told that it was time for the disco. At this point everyone got on the floor to dance. The organiser then told us that her guests preferred the disco to our "Old fashioned" stuff and payed us our fee. We left.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 07:56 AM

Wedding gigs can be great, and usually turn out well even if they sometimes get off to a shaky start. The problem is that you never know what to expect. Even if the bride and groom are keen dancers it doesn't follow that their guests will be. Sometimes it feels as if the bride and groom have just said "yes" to everything on the wedding planner's list (Harpist? "yes" chocolate fountain? "yes" chinese lanterns? "yes" ceilidh? "yes") without giving it any thought.

Then there are the totally unsuitable venues, often with a tiny dance floor not suited to people actually moving about, or with half the space specified for the band with no electricity supply in reach. Insufficient time to set up and sound check in a room already being used for speeches. And despite the efforts of a woman at one wedding who had a clipboard with everything scheduled down to the minute ("7.24 pm end of speeches"), they never run on time. And then there are the family disagreements and everyone having had too much to drink...

I've done a wedding gig in a huge castle where there seemed to be lots of other things happening and where literelly no one turned up to dance. We played a few tunes before handing over to the disco, but no one came to dance to him either.

Then there was the wedding in the People's Republic of South Yorkshire where the bride and groom led the company in singing "The Red Flag" (nowt wrong with that, but unusual at weddings in my experience).

There was another gig (possibly not a wedding) where we were asked to stop in mid-dance "because the mayor is leaving". Keith Hancock, never respectful towards authority, just said "goodbye" into his mic and carried on playing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 09:02 AM

You'd think a bride and groom with relatives like that would know to have a non-alcoholic reception. "Cake and punch will be served."

Vic, I feel sorry for whoever was marrying that groom in Brighton.

Howard, that was a good observation about saying 'yes' to everything on the list. I bet that explains having a ceilidh and a DJ. It ought to be one or the other. Though a DJ usually drives me out of a reception pronto.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 09:44 AM

5000-plus gigs and counting and have obviously been lucky to have have avoided some of the disasters recounted here but...

Croydon Irish Club wedding: Irish groom, Jamaican bride. I'm on first. Two verses into The Cliffs of Doneen and the general chatter tails off. Some teenagers from the Jamaican family come to the front and stand in mute disbelief. Ragged applause from the Irish contingent, some of whom join those at the front and stand with arms folded. The Galway Shawl is requested and am calculating the quickest escape route as I sing, while the two groups swell in numbers ominously.

I make pleading faces to the groom's father, who makes a helpless gesture with his hands and says OK, one more song, his wife wants A Mother's Love's A Blessing. Behind me the ten foot high reggae sound system crackles into life and accompanies the song with a throbbing hum in, appproximately, Ab, while I'm singing in in F.

Apologies & smiles all round, especially from me. 300 quid per song and back in Brighton in time to watch Match of the Day.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 09:56 AM

Anyone impervious to your glamour Rockhen is made of stone. Ignore the swine. personally I would be your groupie any day of the week. You just give me call and I'll be there with my plastercast kit....

Still - you've got to admit these stories are all a bit nothing when compared to poor old robert johnson - a member of the audience actually taking the trouble to murder him. I believe that one of his friends had warned him not to drink from a bottle of whisky where the seal had been broken, because it was quite common to try and murder the featured artist in those venues.

You've got to admit it, these Yanks don't do things by halves. English venues don't poison the act very often - not even in Yorkshire.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 10:31 AM

English venues don't poison the act very often - not even in Yorkshire.

They don't have to when there's Tetley's bitter...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 10:33 AM

Ooops, my last post - the fee was good but not that good, 300GBP for the whole gig, as my wife has just pointed out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 10:35 AM

Ah Stuart, sure and you're worth every penny!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 04:53 AM

I've played ceilis and barn dances for lots of weddings and been to a fair few as a guest so I've seen the phenomenon from both angles. I did one a few years ago where the speeches overran (usually happens) and the couple hadn't really considered where they wanted the band to play or where the guests would dance. Bit cramped in the end, but everyone enjoyed themselves. These days when someone asks me to sort out a band for a wedding or a party I make a point of meeting the couple first and making sure they know how to get the best out of what they want us to do for them. Not difficult.

I was at a couple of weddings where the band turned up looking scruffy and dirty and ignored the audience. Last time was a couple of years ago - the band played loads of Playford stuff and the caller was trying to get the crowd to do the 'Bridge Of Athlone'. Do they never communicate in advance? The band completely ignored the guests and acted as if they thought the gig and the crowd were somehow beneath them. Disgraceful.

What a lot of folk musicians seem to forget about playing for weddings is that the day is about the couple and their families and friends - not about the 'artists'. If you go in with the right attitude you can do yourself a lot of good.

Every wedding I've been to I've always remembered if the band were any good or not. I never remember what the meal was like. That's what I say to potential clients - we'll help give you memories that you'll keep for life. But the day is about them - not you.

One reason I like to play weddings is that you are invariably playing for people who aren't familiar with traditional music. If you approach it the right way you can make a lot of friends not just for yourself but also for the music as well. Plus you often find the average age is lower than a typical folk club and you can turn people on to your music who may want to keep in touch with it for years to come. But if you're arrogant, scruffy or sullen you'll mess it up not just for yourself but for your fellow musicians as well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 05:40 AM

iggest problem we have found with weddings is if the gig has come through an agent - Too often the expectations of one party are NOT conveyed to the band !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 06:02 AM

I would like to emphasise that the overwhelming majority of weddings turn out to be good, even excellent, gigs. As Chris B points out, it's important to remember why you're there, and I think the musicians have an even greater responsibility than usual. When other gigs go wrong you can perhaps shrug it off and hope it goes better next time, but these are one-off events of immense significance to the people concerned. Usually they go well, and we've had many messages of thanks from couples who've told us that the ceilidh was one of the high points of their day - as indeed it should be.

However, when they go wrong weddings have the potential to go wrong more badly and in many more varied and exciting ways, than most other gigs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 09:10 AM

What a lot of folk musicians seem to forget about playing for weddings is that the day is about the couple and their families and friends - not about the 'artists'. If you go in with the right attitude you can do yourself a lot of good.

A really important comment that everyone who plays any sort of wedding needs to remember. I would say this particularly applies to the DJs who think their "set" and the way they present it is the be all and end all; it isn't, it is a family celebration. If you have an egotistical attitude to your performance, then weddings are not for you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 09:18 AM

I earned my way through university as a DJ. You just play records. Honest. You are NOT an artist!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 09:21 AM

Has anyone ever been to a wedding where the disco wasn't too sodding loud?

Strangely enough I think I only ever did one wedding. People were polite enough, but basically I was just wall paper music. People who hadn't seen each other for ages just wanted to chat.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 09:55 AM

I earned my way through university as a DJ. You just play records. Honest. You are NOT an artist!

Things have changed, Richard. With the whole club/dance scene some of them think they are the bees knees these days.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 10:46 AM

A pub gig with 6 of us struggling against a wall of noisy talk: about 10pm the bar emptied: we apologised to the bar staff for maybe driving their customers away: "Oh no", he said, "you did really well - they usually go off to the karaoke bar at 9pm!"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 04:40 PM

US Naval Air Station, Bermuda, Other Ranks Mess (AKA The Animal House)
"Hello. I'm from England and going to play some..."
General derision, along the lines of, "Well f*** off home Limey, we're puttin' the juke box on."
Later, the duty officer tells me, "Well, you're still in one piece, which ain't bad considering your average Seaman's idea of a good night out is topless waitresses serving free beer & burgers followed by a heavy metal band."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Jul 12 - 06:21 AM

Stuart Reed - Where was the American Base in Bermuda ? When I was there there was a Royal Navy Dockyard (Very Small) and a Civilian Airport at the other end . , but NO US Forces That was 1973/4


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,A. Pseudonym
Date: 14 Jul 12 - 07:16 AM

We were playing a folk music gig at a local bar/restaurant. No publicity, no nothing. We were just starting out, so we were playing for tips. One of our group decided it would relax him if he were to have several large cocktails on an empty stomach. During the parts of the gig he wasn't singing, he wandered off the stage, turned his back on the rest of the band and loudly attempted to flirt/ pick-up women attempting to listen to us.
Problem was he knew that those women were the wives or girl friends of the other band members. To this day, I don't understand why we didn't beat him up during a break.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Suart Reed
Date: 14 Jul 12 - 07:49 AM

Leadfingers - re: Bermuda.
The US Navy Air Station was across the Causeway in St David's from WWII until 1995.
Did you ever play at the island's folk club at Spanish Point?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 08:19 AM

On the other hand.....



What a great wedding gig last night at the Regency Suite of the Hotel Metropole in Brighton. A lovely and numerous crowd that wanted to dance all night and were good dancers, a super large dance floor, really tasty food and the band on top form. The only complaint that I would have was that Ian Kearey's bass guitar lines were so interesting and innovative that I just wanted to listen to them and found it difficult to concentrate on calling and playing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 09:19 AM

Stuart - Never got to the Folk Club , as I was 'entertaining' the customers at The Robin Hood Tuesday to Sunday Nights, but this should not be in here as that Six Months was the BEST Gig I had had til then
Never recall seeing ANY US Forces during my time there .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Mooh
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 10:08 AM

A completely unadvertised Collingwood Celtic Continuum. We played to vendors and a few family members but no paying customers through the gate. No chairs on the field. A completely supplied and staffed beer tent where some piper and myself got wasted.

Peace, Mooh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Mooh
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 10:14 AM

There have been many, but here's another that sprang to mind.

During some tender ballad my fretless semi-hollow Godin bass, in a stand, fell over on its face on a concrete folk festival stage. Stage crew were pulling cables when the stand which was perched on one, flipped. The bass was plugged in and still turned up enough to create a huge boom in the p.a., almost enough to stop the song. Broken machine head and cracked spruce top.

Peace, Mooh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: gnu
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 12:58 PM

Great (some tragic) stories!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Rockhen
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 01:50 PM

Thanks Al! ;-) Your eyesight got worse, then?! Not sure what you mean about the plastercast but my mind is boggling quite sufficiently without you explaining. Reading the above makes you wonder why we all put ourselves through the experience of gigging! :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Charles Macfarlane
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 08:18 PM

> From: Mooh
>
> During some tender ballad my fretless semi-hollow Godin bass, in a stand, fell over on its face on a concrete folk festival stage ... Broken machine head and cracked spruce top.

Ah! Dead instrument stories ... not quite on topic but anyway ...

At a small local festival, a singer from some distance away, IIRC not originally slated to do a spot during the evening, was jumped on by the MC and asked to perform, perhaps because A N Other hadn't turned up. He hadn't brought his own guitar, so he borrowed one off another performer. They were both sitting at the same table as myself. It being a mostly accoustic evening, there was just a bar stool on the stage for those performers who wished to sit down. As this guy got down from it, its legs shot out behind him, and he went down on the borrowed guitar, stoving its front in. I tried, perhaps with some success, to bring them together by buying them both drinks, but the atmosphere was distinctly subdued for the rest of the evening.

I had a brief fling with a girl who played the fiddle. At a festival, someone I knew from a famous band, who was well-known for having a drink problem, borrowed her fiddle, and dropped it. Fortunately, it didn't seem to be much, if at all, damaged, but she, of course, was absolutely outraged.

A local squeezebox player, melodeon IIRC, was once playing so energetically that he ripped the bellows in two and was left looking aghast from one half to the other!

But to return to topic, there was another, much bigger and well-known, local festival where always the singarounds and even the main concert marquee were subject to devasting extraneous noise, the latter from the ceilidh marquee close by, so it's not as though the problem was essentially unpredictable. One year, I got so pissed off that I complained bitterly to the organisers about this. They mumbled all sorts of excuses which didn't really add up to anything very much compared with the scale of the problem, and, sure enough, next year nothing had changed. In a singaround there was a girl singing very quietly and very beautifully when a morris-team with a big bass drum started up right outside the window. She had to stop, because she couldn't even hear herself, let alone anyone else hear her. I've only ever once gone to that festival again, and then only because my ex-wife wanted to go.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 03:35 AM

I once had a gig where the local morris side, who were hosting the ceilidh, insisted on practising their set during the sound check.

That was just one of a series of disasters that evening involving filthy weather and broken down vehicles resulting in missing PA (and potentially missing musicians, although eventually they all turned up), added to the tension caused by one band member having to phone home frequently to check that his wife hadn't gone into labour. Too long a story to relate in full here, but cumulatively it all addeed up to my worst gig ever - although the ceilidh itself went fine.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 05:01 AM

Taking up the dead instrument option...............

We played for the saturday evening ceilidh at a Barnsley Festival years and years ago. The gig was great- most,if not all, of Silly Wizard insisted on sitting in with us so the collective sound must have been something to hear.
    However...after the gig we decided we'd leave the gear on the stage since we'd all be there again on the following day. The caretaker turned off the lighting in the hall and on the stage and prepared to lock up. At this point, a Silly Wizard realised he'd left his smokes or whatever on the stage. So,with only the emergency lighting from the exit signs to guide him, he headed across the stage to where he'd been sitting. Unfortunately, on the way he trod on my guitar and broke the neck at the nut..........So the next day I unwittingly pulled a broken guitar out of it's soft case, which rather scuppered whatever I'd been intending to do.
    Somebody, whose name I can't remember,from Kiveton Park Folk Club glued it back together. I don't what he put in his glue but 40 years later I'm still playing that guitar!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 06:06 AM

Do disasters on the way to gigs count? Loaded recently rebuilt trailer with small PA rig, loaded Volvo up with band and instruments, heading off to 7 Stars to play and do PA.

Got to the roundabout between the A228 and the A289 and the wheel nuts that I had obviously not properly tightened came off. MAJOR problem getting enough PA to the gig in the car with us - but a nice man looked after the trailer while we went and even found us some spare correct wheelnuts so we went, played, came back, and collected the trailer from him at about 1 am!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 10:22 AM

Whoa, Richard, that's a spine-chilling story! Your guardian angel must have been working overtime.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: ollaimh
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 04:06 PM

i agree about the weddings. you are not the star. just make people happy as best you can and chose appropriate music. love and forever stuff and o'carolan tunes and the like. i do like playing the batchelors lament before the women come in, but only at irish weddings. the men all lined up at the front laugh and when the bride and her maids come in the men are all still smiling and the women think they are smiling at them. this works especially well when the men have been drinking and are hitting the wall, or the groom is having cold feet.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 07:26 PM

I don't play gigs but a friend once played in a bar with a pool table directly in front of the stage, and of course, some ignorant people insisted on playing a game while he performed. Another time he played at a fair while a chainsaw competition was held next to the stage.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Mooh
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 10:23 AM

Played in front of a big screen TV, in the early days of such things, where the bar patrons were much more interested in the hockey playoff game being played than the band. I have come to discover that this scenerio is fairly common in this part of the world. It was a short set/long break night. All that and being upstaged by Don Cherry pretty much sucks.

Peace, Mooh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 04:52 AM

Worst experience I remember was at a Labour party fundraiser for the National Union of Seamen, who were on strike at the time. This was early in 1989.

Graham Larkbey kicked off and he was great. Then a couple of arty-farty lefty women decided to do a one-hour, two-woman sketch about the evils of Thatcherism - using masks. Poor Robb Johnson, who was also playing, got roped into it at one point.

At one point in this skit, one of the women was addressing the audience saying 'What can I do to protect myself from the oppression of Thatcher?' A mate of mine, a scouse woman living in Ealing at the time, had had a few by then and piped up, 'Kick her in the c***!'. Awkward silence all round, especially from the 'sisters'.

By the end of that, the punters had pretty much all lost the will to live but the best was yet to come. A speaker from the Union (who was also completely pissed by this time) came up and told the audience that he was glad about the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' sinking a couple of years before because it showed how greedy the bosses were. Then he bragged that the Union were going to buy their own ferries and put P&O out of business (and probably use them to ram the royal yacht Britannia, no doubt).

We eventually got to play for about 20 minutes and then we were offski as fast as our little legs could carry us. I knew there and then the Tories were going to win the next election and guess what - that's exactly what happened. Why? Because the Labour Party deserved to lose.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 06:52 AM

Sandy (16 Jul 12 - 07:26 PM), I know singers who would easily win a chainsaw competition, these should have been hired for that event.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 08:56 AM

I've taken nearly a year to respond, but .....GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) wrote:-
"One reason I like to play weddings is that you are invariably playing for people who aren't familiar with traditional music"


I used to think that from the strange reaction in some faces at weddings when we played our introductory number, but now I think that the problem goes deeper than that, Chris. I now think that there are huge numbers of people out there who don't have any live music in their lives and don't know how to react when they experience it.
It took decades for me - a live music junkie who needs a fix several times a week - to work that one out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 04:55 PM

I played at Vic Smiths club once, but I dont recall it being a bad gig, i think it was at the laughing fish at isfield, i always thought it was an extraordinary name for a club, i wondered if it was named after michael fish the weather forecaster.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 07:01 PM

When Bob (Deckman) Nelson and I formed a duo in 1959, we sang regularly three evenings a week at "The Place Next Door," the nicest coffee house in Seattle, and were asked frequently to sing college concerts and various other gigs by people who heard us at "The Place Next Door."

The Kingston Trio and the Gateway Singers got their start in San Francisco, and we were told that, if we wanted to really make it big, we should go to San Francisco. So, full of ambition, we packed up the car and headed down the road.

We "barnstormed" for a couple of months in San Francisco, auditioned at a number of the big clubs such as The Purple Onion, and quickly learned that, actually, they didn't really want folk singers, they wanted comedy acts that used folk music as their "shtick." And they didn't want duos, they wanted Kingston Trio clones.

Both Bob and I got interested folk music because we considered it serious music. We loved the songs, and the fact that most of the songs had some kind of historical significance. We weren't about to take a four-hundred-year-old ballad and turn it into a cheap joke just to get a few laughs!

It was no coincidence that we saw the Smothers Brothers in their first professional gig at the Purple Onion. They were a trio at the time, but they dropped the non-speaking banjo player soon after. Now, the Smothers Brothers were hilarious! But that wasn't our thing!

We soon realized that for what WE wanted to do, we'd been better off in Seattle.

But while we were in the Bay Area, we took what we could get to pick up a dime or two. We often got booked into some dingy little club, sang for the evening, and then when the time came to get paid, the manager or owner of the place simply wasn't to be found, and no one else knew anything about it. We sometimes had to chase the guy who hired us down a back alley, tackle him, and if he didn't have the cash on him to pay us what he'd promise, we were graciously willing to take his gold fillings in lieu of cash.

We got offered a gig at a place in San Francisco called "Ann's 440." We didn't find out until we got there that it was a strip club. They sent us back to the dressing room to tune up and found ourselves surrounded by naked and half-naked young females. "My God!" said Bob, "I don't know where I'm supposed to look!!"

Anyway, we got tuned up, then went out when the guy called us to sing our set.

The crowd let us know in no uncertain terms that they were there to watch voluptuous young women prance naked around the stage, NOT listen to a couple of furshlugginer folk singers, fer Chrissake!!

I don't remember if we got paid or not!

=======

We had been told that San Francisco was the place that a couple of young folk singers could make it big. We had a lot of fun there and met a lot of really nice people, had some great experiences, and swapped a lot of songs with some terrific singers, mostly in Berkeley and Sausalito.

But (to scramble a few metaphors) as far as Bagdad By The Bay being the Mecca for singers of folk songs, we soon learned that we were much better off back in Seattle, where we sang in clean coffee houses (your elbows didn't stick to the tables), where the customers were not all boozed up and had actually come there to hear us.
And where we got paid regularly.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 07:25 PM

I did two birthday GIGS. Never again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 07:57 PM

From good to rough to bad and back to good.

Got a one day triple gig in the West Midlands (I live in Kent)

1. Morning 10.30am. Playing to children in the library. Started with two, and one hour later about 40 kids and parents and rapturous applause. Great!

2. Singing to diners in a local cafe. PA packed in and the accompaniment of cutlery on crockery was rough to deal with. But four or five of the nearest diners listened and commented favourably.

3. Afternoon outside the music shop in the local mall. Started fine with the music shop output silenced by agreement, until his volume started to rise because I was distracting some thirty potential customers.

After ten minutes or so, by which time I couldn't hold a tune or make my voice heard (really bad), a very large gentleman who was trying to listen went into the shop. There was a thump and a crash, and he reappeared saying "Carry on son". No further interuptions ensued.

Can't for the life of me figure out why, but it made my day.

Don T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 06:34 AM

Ah, yes: the payment thing.

When I ran a folk club back in the early 70s, I would book an act, agree a fee in advance, sign a contract, and have the agreed amount waiting in an envelope, to pay them before they went on. If I subsequently didn't cover that fee on the door, that was my problem, not theirs. No reason for them to go short.

But the number of clubs where I played, where the organiser tried to pay me short of the agreed fee because he hadn't taken enough on the door to cover it, and would often really seem quite aggrieved when, producing my copy of the contract that he had signed, I would point out that that was his problem not mine, and he shouldn't have agreed a fee if he wasn't able to guarantee the ability to pay it...

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Bert
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 06:46 AM

Does this qualify? The Espresso Machine


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 09:11 AM

Re-reading these old posts including some from Brendan B. reminds me of an incident - again many years ago - when we used to play with Bren & Chrissie that ruined an otherwise excellent dance.....

It was near Christmas, an 18th birthday party for a young woman organised by her parents. Things were going well to a large mixed age family party when the dad came up to us and asked us to take a break because the surprise that he had arranged for his daughter had arrived.

In walked Father Christmas with a big sack over his shoulder. There were looks of delight on the faces of the many children there. The band was still on the stage and quickly went into Jingle Bells. This was not well received by this version of St. Nicholas. "F**king shut up. F**king shut up" he said to us in a loud stage whisper... so we did. He then proceeded to take a battery cassette player out of his sack and switched it on. The tinny speaker produced some sleazy music as Father Christmas took off all his clothes off leaving just a very small posing pouch as he wobbled around showing his considerable rolls of fat.

He gathered up his clothes and left but not before several families with rather confused young children had made their exit.

After this it was not possible to regain the lovely atmosphere that had prevailed earlier in the evening.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Rumncoke
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 05:37 PM

When I lived in the English Midlands I was asked to go along to sing with a couple I'd met a few times in the area and share the fee - they picked me up, we sang well together and later on they collected the money and departed, leaving me with no way to get home.

I felt rather dismal for a half an hour, then spotted a familiar face, someone I could get a lift from, and they even bought me a drink to cheer me up. Then the mc came over and said
'your friends left their mandolin, can you take it?'

I almost smiled, but not quite.

It is still on top of the wardrobe, in its nice hard case.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Allen in Oz
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 06:53 PM

1 Playing in a bush band to an audience of "young people" in Bondi. It turned out to be a group of pre school kids. Halfway through a fast jig set, one little boy started pulling at my guitar asking me to do up his shoe laces !

2. Playing all night to a hedge while everybody was sitting behind it around a pool

3. Driving 30 miles to a pub gig and forgetting our music when the piano player couldn't play a note without it

Allen in Oz

ps ..Some of the bad gigs in this thread are far worse than ours ( it is all pretty gentle out here in Australia )

AD


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 08:14 PM

I am afraid any bad gigs i might have experienced, I have forgotten.
however I do remember that i was the artist that was booked the most times in 50 years at Stockton folk club., and i have the t shirt to prove it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 13 - 05:43 AM

'I used to think that from the strange reaction in some faces at weddings when we played our introductory number, but now I think that the problem goes deeper than that, Chris.'

Not exactly what I was getting at, Vic (if I've understood you correctly). My point is that weddings give you a chance to introduce traditional music (or whatever your own take on it is) to people who aren't particularly familiar with it. This, in my view, gives you both an opportunity and a responsibility.

The opportunity is to do with making people aware of you who wouldn't come across what you do otherwise. The responsibility comes with not being arrogant, precious or greedy (the band I mentioned earlier not only ignored the guests but also went back for second helpings of the buffet during their break when people wanted to get back to dancing) and putting people off booking traditional musicians for further events.

I've been really embarrassed sometimes by the behaviour of some bands at weddings. An old mate of mine had a 'Ceili' band at his wedding whe were mates of the bride's dad. Again, scruffy, arrogant and unrehearsed. I was so bloody angry, especially as I was playing at the time in a terrific Cajun band that could have ripped the place up.

I sometimes feel that a lot of traditional musicians who have a regular following (however small) forget that no-one at a wedding gives a toss about how good 'Folk Roots' or whatever it's called now thinks they are. It's all about your performance and your attitude on the night. Wedding gigs can be tricky to get right but they're a piece of piss to get wrong.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 19 Jul 13 - 05:44 AM

Sorry - that was me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: James Fryer
Date: 12 Mar 16 - 12:45 PM

Back in the early 1980s I was in a (not terribly good) guitar rock band based in London. We were either 10 years behind, or 10 years ahead of our time, depending on how you look at it.

We did some dreadful gigs at youth clubs in the Home Counties where there were maybe 5 or 6 in the audience, and one at Brighton Poly where there was no audience at all, and even the barman left, and we all cracked up into hysterical giggles.

Oh yes and the one at the Corn Exchange in Brighton supporting a rock guitarist gone solo. We'd stayed at a huge squat in Seaford the night before, where there was an all-night party with someone handing out acid tabs which some of the band (not me!) indulged in. I don't remember much about that gig but it was not good.

However the worst gig we did was at Newhaven Fort. We'd booked a coach to bring our fans down from Muswell Hill. Our manager had booked a local act as support.

We and our fans were inclined to long hair, soft drugs and a late hippie vibe. Unfortunately the support turned out to be the town's skinhead band and their music, attitude and fans were not compatible with ours.

Our fans were terrorised by the skins, although luckily our roadie and a couple of our followers were robust enough to stare them down. The feeling was that a fight was close but it never happened.

We had to play our set because we had bussed 30 people down to see us but it was difficult in a hail of gob and shouts of "go home, hippies!"

With much relief we ended the set and left. I had crusty hair from dried phlegm the next day.

I can say for sure that was the worst gig I ever played but it was character forming. Whatever happens at a gig now, as long as there is an audience and they are not spitting at me, I can play on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Mar 16 - 08:35 AM

Not perhaps the worst gig, but possibly the Great Escape...

It's 1990, a Sunday afternoon gig at a bikers' pub in Ashton-under-Lyne. The usual fare here consists of blues bands, but I'm with a band that plays old-time, country, and rockabilly on acoustic instruments, albeit with a small PA system. The crowd - a pretty intimidating bunch with plenty of ale inside them - are looking suspiciously at our banjos, fiddles, and stand-up bass.

We play the first song. Someone shouts out "IT'S NOT FUCKING LOUD ENOUGH!", to noisy expressions of agreement from across the room. We turn up the PA to the edge of feedback, and announce the next number: "We're gonna do a bluegrass song for you now..."

"BLUEGRASS?!!" For a few moments the air around us is bluer than the grass of Kentucky. We could hardly have got a more furious reaction had we announced 'The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy'. This is not what they came to hear.

I'm losing my nerve. I'm a folkie, accustomed to audiences who nod enthusiastically when I tell them that the next song is Child 243, and sit in rapt attention throughout. This lot are a GBH case waiting to happen. Fortunately my bandmates are veterans of many a working-men's club, and remain inexplicably unfazed by the situation: "Don't worry, we'll be fine."

We soldier on. Somehow, the atmosphere of hostility and violence begins to ebb away. Surely they can't be enjoying this? By the end of the set, loud cries of "MORE BLUEGRASS!" go up. We get an encore.

As we're packing away our gear, the punters link arms and shoulders, forming the kind of huddle used by footballers during penalty shoot-outs, and begin their own sing-song. They belt out 'Delilah', apparently unconcerned by the misogynistic violence of the lyric. After that comes the big finish: 'Two Little Boys'. They roar out the first couple of verses, then arrive at verse three, in which Jack breaks ranks to ride back to his comrade Joe, lying mortally wounded on the battle field. Usually at this point Jack utters the heart-warming words, "Do you think I would leave you dying, when there's room on my horse for two?" The bikers, however, bellow:

"Then came a voice he knew...

GET UP, YOU SOFT BASTARD!!"

The publican comes over to pay us our thirty quid. "You've gone down well today, lads: they usually do the sing-song while the band is playing."

Thanks to all who contributed the entertaining tales above.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,wysiwyg minus cookie
Date: 13 Mar 16 - 11:55 AM

That time we show3d up on time as usual for sound check in prep for a thoroughly prepared acoustic set.... an influential member of the organisation coming into the rehearsal/sound check from behind us, bellowing "What the hell are YOU doing here!?!?" (As booking boss, I calmly and briefly replied with the facts and got band members back into the tune).

Then the first audience member arriving loudly launched into, "Why can't we get an organist in this place!" (Because your busted effing antique organ has been deemed unplayable by all the local professionals-- and everyone here is toxic, we all managed not to reply.)

But my favorite 'bad gig' experience turned out well.... arrived to find the building locked up tight upon our confirmed arrival time for setup/sound check. Luckily we had a plucky and tall, very thin guitar player with us that time, who quickly found the barely-open window to shinny thru, and who then let us in the front door. That was so funny that we didn't care when only 4 people came to the 'community-building' concert we'd been asked to play-- we just used it as a rehearsal, after welcoming the dude whose place we'd broken into, when he arrived with the other 3. ;-)

~Susan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 09:43 AM

Back in the day, our drummer tried to fart whilst playing an energetic solo.

His dexterity not being his strong point, he followed through.

No names no pack drill, but Retford Porterhouse circa 1982, opening for a big name new wave band.

Oh, and we shared a dressing room with them. Shared the joy too as it were...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 12:28 PM

I have never had any bad experiences at any gig, that i can recall.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 14 Mar 16 - 01:04 PM

Aye but can your audience say that with a straight face? 😇


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 01 Apr 16 - 04:51 AM

Classical gig disaster: I was playing timpani, and used to use an adjustable spanner for tuning the one tensioning nut that didn't have a turnable tap on it. Right in one of the quietest and most lyrical bits of the piece, I dropped that spanner: it didn't just land on the floor but bounced down into the audience with a horrible clatter! The conductor's eyes were casting murderous looks in my direction and I just wanted the earth to open up.

And during a production of "The Mikado", the director decided it would be fun to have Koko arrive on stage on a skateboard. He successfully jumped off it, but the skateboard carried on into the orchestra pit, narrowly missing the oboeist!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 01 Apr 16 - 08:02 AM

Two summers ago, Susan and I were playing at a local farmers market. A lot of the vendors liked us and we had a good time and made some money (we were doing the market to practice newer stuff in a setting where no one was paying a lot of attention). One week another musician showed up and started to play. We had been letting the managers know when we were coming and getting official approval for being there. This other fellow had not done any of that. Then he started complaining because we had sound gear and he didn't. I talked to him after we were packing up and said we would be willing to trade off days when we were there and he was there. He seemed willing to do that. The next week we were not going to be there, so we told the managers to tell the other guy that we would not be there that week, but would be there the next. The next time we were there and set up, he showed up, stoned and started yelling at the market manager. No one had passed on the message. Then another fellow showed up and said they had told him he could play that week. At this point, we decided that since the managers couldn't find their ass with both hands, and that we didn't see playing music as a blood sport, that we would pack up and leave, letting the other two guys figure out what they were going to do. We offered to help coordinate a schedule of performers with the site manager, but no one got in touch with us. The next summer, we got contacted and they came up with a system of approving musicians. The other guy showed up unannounced and was told he couldn't play there. Anyway, we haven't had anything that bad happen since.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: leeneia
Date: 01 Apr 16 - 11:11 AM

You both have my sympathy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Bad experiences at gigs
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Apr 16 - 12:05 PM

Phil, I'd have loved to be at that mtg where they bemoaned "whatever happened to...." and decided on a better approach!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 21 November 1:23 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.