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Embarrassing gigging moments: whats yours? :)


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The show I’m most embarrassed about is a headlining show at The Limelight, NYC, about 1993 or 1994.  A friend took me out after soundcheck and gave me way too many large shots, by showtime I was wrecked.  I played sloppy, I was taking drinks handed to me.  It was bad.  But I had a great night.  And the singer, who paid me, was very whizzed off, furious.  We were friends, still are, and we never spoke of it, but it embarrasses me to this day.  

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On 30/05/2022 at 22:37, Greg.Bassman said:

Royal albert… thats cool! Strange for a warwick as they are usually so well built. It happen though, I suppose. The geddy lee jazz is a great bass, so I am sure that you were just fine 🙂.

Common problem - swapped mine out for a neutrik replacement from maplins 

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7 hours ago, Franticsmurf said:

The only people on the dancefloor were a couple.

You get some characters on the dance floor sometimes. Still, at least they were enjoying themselves! 😀

 

I’ve probably seen every dance move known to man on the dancefloor… and they are not always good... quite frightening actually! 😆 😉

 

 

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3 hours ago, Marcray said:

A friend took me out after soundcheck and gave me way too many large shots, by showtime I was wrecked.

Happens to the best of them 😉.

3 hours ago, Marcray said:

We were friends, still are, and we never spoke of it, but it embarrasses me to this day.  

Glad to know that you are still friends though. I have witnessed a couple of occasions where it was the break up of the band: someone has worked off the stage out of frustration and apparently never came back. Yikes! 🙁

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6 hours ago, Greg.Bassman said:

You get some characters on the dance floor sometimes. Still, at least they were enjoying themselves! 😀

 

Yes, and I respect that - they were happy (he was particularly happy, as I recall). Goodness knows I've made a fool of my self on many dance floors.  😀

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Posted (edited)

I remember we played at a party once and during one number a boy from our work got up to dance. He had a very peculiar style of dancing which had everyone, including us in stitches. I realised by his face that he wasn't putting it on as he looked quite embarrassed but didn't stop as his partner would have been left on the dance floor alone. I though good on ya. You are enjoying yourself and making a fool of yourself but kept going. We need more people like that at gigs.

Edited by ubit
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Posted (edited)

As a punter I was watching a great band playing rocked up TV theme tunes , a great night was being had by all .

Smart arsé here notices the theremin at the front of stage and decides he can chip in and play it from in front of the ( 1 foot high ) stage. 
it turns out I could influence the thing and the singer is playing along with this...

until someone knocks me from behind and I faceplant the stage .

quick as a flash the singer’s shins are pinning my shoulders to the stage and he is thrusting away to much hilarity .

everyone denies bumping into me , so I may have just been pi55ed 😂

I’ve grown a bit wiser now, but that gig last year was excellent 😁

Edited by lurksalot
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My first band landed a nice spot in a multi-band charity event, attended by several hundred people, with a proper stage, FOH sound and lights and a dressing room. At this point we'd played less than 10 gigs so this was a big deal. I was a mere guitarist back in those days and the audience was largely made up of people who worked in the same organisation as me. No pressure, then.  The running order was by ballot and we managed to get the second from last slot, before the main band of the evening. Most of the bands were scratch acts put together for the event and all bar the main act were given 15 minutes. 

 

We started playing and three songs in, the organiser told the singer to 'play an extra song, you're the first act they've danced to' and sure enough, everyone was up and dancing. Not because we were brilliant but we were playing songs they knew. As a predominantly originals band, we had few covers we could call on and our 15 minute set was made up of the four covers we regularly played. So the extra song was one we'd mucked about with in rehearsals - 'Smoke on the Water'. The singer was very taken with the audience reaction to us and when I went to play the guitar solo he fell to his knees in front of me and screamed 'Dave on guitar'. Very dramatic and very, very off-putting. There followed a slow motion car crash of a solo (some would say nothing new there). 😀

 

We managed to pull it back together again and played several repeats of the chorus, drinking in the full dance floor but it all had to come to an end and we managed a tight finish and we even remembered to step back to allow the curtains to close. Then I realised I'd left my pedal board on the other side of the curtain. There followed a fumbling, confused search for the end of the curtain, rather like a Morecambe and Wise sketch, and I popped out alone on the stage to the obvious delight of everyone watching. 

 

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21 hours ago, Franticsmurf said:

Goodness knows I've made a fool of my self on many dance floors.  😀

 

20 hours ago, ubit said:

He had a very peculiar style of dancing...We need more people like that at gigs.

Agreed! It can be infectious. I always loved playing shows where 1 guy would turn into 10 and then 10 to 100 [and so on] on the dance-floor. All because one guy had the guts to do his own thing in the beginning 🤘.

 

That said, I have seen my fair share of ‘peculiar’ dancing too, and it is usually because of the ol’ ‘amber nectar’. Happens to the best of them! 😂

 

 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Franticsmurf said:

There followed a fumbling, confused search for the end of the curtain

 

I had a curtain blunder once. It was the first time my band had ever had a curtain opening/reveal to start a show with. Very new to us. While we waited for the show host to finish announcing us, we decided to make hand shadows against the curtain. Of course, after the dog and the bird, we couldn't resist giving the middle finger and making ‘w*nker’ signs. The drummer, who was late to the stage, arrived and said ‘you do realise that the audience can see that on the other side, don’t you?!’. Before we could process the horror of what we had just done, the curtains opened to a rather annoyed looking first row. That first song was pretty awkward, let me tell you! 😆

 

 

Handshadow.gif

Edited by Greg.Bassman
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I've drummed in a few bands over the years. You see everything, sitting at the back. In one band, the bassist was a talented player and songwriter, but a little work-shy when it came to lugging gear and making sure things were done correctly. One day, he arrived at rehearsals with a new bass, a rather nice Tokai Thunderbird, and a set of straplocks which he proceed to try to install... with a butter knife. Sure enough, the knife was a little wide to get in and fully tighten the screws but he said he'd tighten them properly when he got home.

 

A few days later, we were playing a gig and, just as we started a song mid-set, the bassist jolted like he had suffered a short electric shock and sank to his knees. Sure enough, he hadn't bothered his derrière tightening the straplock screws, the front one had popped out and, luckily, he caught the bass on the way down. After playing the remainder of the song on the floor, hunched over his awkwardly shaped bass, he tried to get the screw back in but it wasn't happening and had to play the remaining songs from the floor, straining his neck upwards to try to sing his BVs into a mic too far away to hear him. It was embarrassing for all of us.

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22 hours ago, ubit said:

He had a very peculiar style of dancing which had everyone, including us in stitches.

Before lockdown we used to play regularly in a local pub. It was always a good gig, fun, relaxed and appreciated by the crowd. There was a guy that was always there who would jump up and spin with his arms outstretched during the first half when we played faster songs. The first time I saw this I expected a bit of trouble as he was bumping into people but clearly he was a character known to the regulars. He never hit the band and after a few spins (which were quite intense) he'd disappear into the crowd again and all would be well in the world.

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3 hours ago, Doctor J said:

I've drummed in a few bands over the years. You see everything, sitting at the back. In one band, the bassist was a talented player and songwriter, but a little work-shy when it came to lugging gear and making sure things were done correctly. One day, he arrived at rehearsals with a new bass, a rather nice Tokai Thunderbird, and a set of straplocks which he proceed to try to install... with a butter knife. Sure enough, the knife was a little wide to get in and fully tighten the screws but he said he'd tighten them properly when he got home.

 

A few days later, we were playing a gig and, just as we started a song mid-set, the bassist jolted like he had suffered a short electric shock and sank to his knees. Sure enough, he hadn't bothered his derrière tightening the straplock screws, the front one had popped out and, luckily, he caught the bass on the way down. After playing the remainder of the song on the floor, hunched over his awkwardly shaped bass, he tried to get the screw back in but it wasn't happening and had to play the remaining songs from the floor, straining his neck upwards to try to sing his BVs into a mic too far away to hear him. It was embarrassing for all of us.

This happened to me at our last gig. the strap button came out, first number second set. I did manage to catch the bass and after a few bars of bass silence, played like quasimodo to the end of the song. Unlike your bandmate I always have a multi-tool in the case and a after a short break managed a temporary repair. there were several lessons:

  1. Take a spare bass
  2. Check your equipment before leaving home.
  3. Practice catching a falling bass.

There was no real trauma and I had forgotten it until I read your post.

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Not a public embarrassment, just a personal one. On my first gig with my first original band, back in the day when I was young and pretty... after the gig, the guitarist's mum's mate came up to me and said, "Ooh you can do me in the shower any time!"  I felt kind of dirty, and not in a good way. She looked a bit like Olive from On The Buses.

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On 31/05/2022 at 11:41, Pea Turgh said:

Early days of gigging, maybe ‘97.  Some Battle Of The Bands thing in a uni bar.  Funky number, everything but the vocals drop out, I try to start a crowd clap.  Despite my flailing arms, nobody in the audience joined in. 

Could have been worse. You could have done a stage dive and no-one caught you... :lol:

On 31/05/2022 at 12:06, Franticsmurf said:

I never liked playing with backing tracks but I eased my conscience a little by making my own wherever possible, usually drums, bass (I usually played guitar in the duo), keys and any spot effects (brass etc). We had a drum machine too, and did the same as you for some of the songs. 

I remember a support act from years back who were a bass & drums duo. They had this weird lectern thing between them on stage which it turned out was concealing the laptop from which they were reading all the chords and lyrics. They spent the whole gig pretending to face the audience but looking at the laptop out of the corner of their eye. They had a backing track with drum and keys parts on it, and weirdly it also it had the guitar solos on it too. So whenever it came to a solo, the guitarist would keep strumming away, peering awkwardly at the chords on the laptop, while the recorded solo wailed away in the background. To put the lid on it, they both looked bored out of their minds. The whole thing was toe-curlingly dreadful, saved only by the bassist's beautiful vintage Les Paul Triumph bass and his uncanny resemblance to Alan Partridge. Ah-haa.

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1 hour ago, Chienmortbb said:

Practice catching a falling bass.

I sense a new 'How to play bass' YouTube channel being planned. One-handed catches. Two-handed catches. The 'Got it.... no... yes... no... yes... now make it look like part of the act'. 😀

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Posted (edited)
On 01/06/2022 at 20:59, Franticsmurf said:

The only people on the dancefloor were a couple. She was a large, white-haired lady in a bright pink plastic/vinyl (I never actually found out which) short dress which was very close fitting and therefore bulging in far too many places. He was an elderly gentleman, short, bald and in serious danger of being battered by his partner's bust, which was not adequately controlled by her outfit. The rest of the audience had sensibly left them to it and were laughing almost as much as our singer, drummer, keys player, rhythm guitarist and eventually, bass player. We managed to pull ourselves together and finish the first song without too much trouble but none of us could look at each other for the rest of the first set.   

Not a personal embarrassment this, but a brilliant anecdote I read years ago which is too good not to relate. Hopefully I've got the details right. 

It was related by a drummer whose band were booked to play a tea dance, can't remember the venue. He travelled there under his own steam, with the rest of the band following in the bus/van/whatevs. He got there first, and set his kit up. No sign of the band. Time marches on, still no sign of the band. He waited nervously at his kit and absent-mindedly started playing a quiet waltz. He looked up and, to his horror, couples were taking to the floor and starting to dance to his unaccompanied rhythm. He kept it going for a few minutes, and eventually ended on a graceful rall to polite applause. Someone handed him a note and he opened it, hoping it's going to tell him that the band are just arriving. Instead, he reads, "Please can you play Red Roses For A Blue Lady?".

 

(A few minutes later, another note arrived to tell him that the bus/van/whatevs. had blown up on the motorway and the band will not be joining him.)

Edited by Rich
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13 hours ago, Doctor J said:

One day, he arrived at rehearsals with a new bass, a rather nice Tokai Thunderbird, and a set of straplocks which he proceed to try to install... with a butter knife.

The ol’ strap-lock blunder, eh? That happened to me in rehearsal once because the screws were a shade too small for the holes. I tell ya, my bass dropped harder than skrillex! lol 😂

 

 

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13 hours ago, odysseus said:

Not a public embarrassment, just a personal one. On my first gig with my first original band, back in the day when I was young and pretty... after the gig, the guitarist's mum's mate came up to me and said, "Ooh you can do me in the shower any time!"  I felt kind of dirty, and not in a good way. She looked a bit like Olive from On The Buses.

I love how specific she was about it being in the shower! lol 😆

 

Naughty girl! lol 😆

 

 

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I'm new to In Ear Monitors. A couple of weeks ago in church I went back to the stage after the sermon. I put the IEMs in my ears, tuned the bass and turned up the ambient on the mixer. Nothing.  I wasn’t too phased as we hadn’t had any sound in the monitors immediately before the service, so I guessed we were getting foldback post  fader.  The song started and I played the 1st note. No sound. It’s not somewhere you want to be, particularly with a fretless. So I Iooked at the sound tech, pointed at my ears, played another note - still nothing.  After a while I noticed the cable from the monitor was unconnected on the floor. Very embarrassing having to bend down and plug it in. I’m guessing the congregation didn’t really notice, but it was live-streamed. I had the misfortune of watching the live stream back and it was in full view of the camera and very noticeable. Ah well.

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On 03/06/2022 at 07:12, Greg.Bassman said:

I had a curtain blunder once. It was the first time my band had ever had a curtain opening/reveal to start a show with. Very new to us. While we waited for the show host to finish announcing us, we decided to make hand shadows against the curtain. Of course, after the dog and the bird, we couldn't resist giving the middle finger and making ‘w*nker’ signs. The drummer, who was late to the stage, arrived and said ‘you do realise that the audience can see that on the other side, don’t you?!’. Before we could process the horror of what we had just done, the curtains opened to a rather annoyed looking first row. That first song was pretty awkward, let me tell you! 😆

 

 

Handshadow.gif

Could be worse, we played a venue where they decided to use a smoke machine behind the curtain. We started playing, curtain opens, smoke rolls out in a very naff 80s way. 30 seconds later the fire alarms go off. Everything stops and we have to evacuate the building. It was a proper theatrical smoke machine so no idea what happened but didn’t help the gig!

 

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First ever gig with our band of mates, given a 15 minute half time slot supporting a well known local jazz funk band. In the days before affordable tuners, we spent ages getting the guitars and bass in tune before the headliners first set. Stood all the guitars up against the bass drum to keep them out of the way. Called up for our debut, drummer sits down first, whacks the BD, as you do, all the guitars crash to the floor bringing his ride cymbal with them. Audience go silent, we go white as we were nervous anyway. All guitars way out of tune, no time to re tune so our debut out of the window. Doh.

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1 hour ago, Simon C said:

I’m guessing the congregation didn’t really notice, but it was live-streamed. I had the misfortune of watching the live stream back and it was in full view of the camera and very noticeable. Ah well.

I can relate. There is nothing worse than realising that something has been captured on film. It is one thing to perform the blunder itself, but another thing to have to watch the footage later on and relive the whole thing. This has happened to me in the past with string breaks, tripping on cables and such… all caught on camera! It is all part of the live experience though. As long as you are quick to right the situation, the audience usually do not mind 😉👍

 

 

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44 minutes ago, mikel said:

First ever gig with our band of mates, given a 15 minute half time slot supporting a well known local jazz funk band. In the days before affordable tuners, we spent ages getting the guitars and bass in tune before the headliners first set. Stood all the guitars up against the bass drum to keep them out of the way. Called up for our debut, drummer sits down first, whacks the BD, as you do, all the guitars crash to the floor bringing his ride cymbal with them. Audience go silent, we go white as we were nervous anyway. All guitars way out of tune, no time to re tune so our debut out of the window. Doh.

 

Probably fit in perfectly at a jazz gig. How would anyone know the difference? 

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