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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
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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...


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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".


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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"!


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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.


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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 !


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

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


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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.


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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 .


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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.


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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.


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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....


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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?


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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


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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.


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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.


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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


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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.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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


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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


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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 !


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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~


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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


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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!


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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.


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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.


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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


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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


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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.


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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....


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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.


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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!


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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.


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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!


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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.....?


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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!


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