BAD GIG DIARY
As any unsigned or covers band well testify, not all gigs are triumphant adrenaline filled success stories. After a decade of playing at venues all over the country we have had our fair share of horror stories so we thought we would share a few:
Fresh off the back of our most memorable gig to date (supporting The Darkness in Kings Lynn) The next gig in the diary was a Social Club, which is always ominous. What we didn't realise was just how much of a come down this would turn out to be. As the 25 or so people arrived, none below the age of 70, we were concerned the two ladies on the table in front of us aged 87 and 89 wouldn't care much for our Hendrix covers so we set about rolling back the years even further. All credit to them though they didn't fall asleep until the second set. As if it wasn't bad enough, during the break we had to sit though 40 minutes of Bingo and were denied a beer on the house. BINGO!!!!
It’s always tricky playing weddings when you’re not really a wedding band.
Travelled 80 miles to play for a bride that wanted us to play Shania Twain and Elton John. Half way through Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze she was in tears and her husband asked us to play something else. Awkward. .
Disabled lifts and an angry man
Didn’t have to travel too far for this little gem which, was the only good thing about the night. This wedding was up there with the worst. On arrival we were told to load our equipment up a few flights of stairs leaving us the only option of using the disabled lift. Not much room and very slow. Having got most of the equipment upstairs we were greeted by the brides angry father who yelled that we were supposed to be there before they cut the cake. News to us. I managed to avoid wrestling him to the ground and we set up and played the first song where by we were cut off by the sound limiter. This resulted in Dave playing the drums with his hands and the crowd of 30 middle aged people neither watched or clapped. We didn’t speak to the bride or groom either. Bizzarre. All for £300 bingo!!
One man and his dog
This was a low point. Playing in a pub that even our own friends had to leave which left us playing to one man and his dog. To be fair he clapped after every song.
Battle of the bands and staff and bouncers.
We love a good battle of the bands, but this was our first experience. On arrival we were greeted by a lady who’s first words to us were ‘There will be no drugs’ I had one question to ask about the event but was quickly shhshed off by the beastly woman. Never mind. Next up was names out of the hat. The Landed were the last band, which meant we had 5 hours before we were due to play. Still we played a good set to a very welcoming crowd. Feeling good about our chances we were back in high spirits. Having announced the 3rd and 2nd place we were half way to the stage to take our title when the winner was announced. Oh well, all that was left to do was pack our equipment down as we were the last band to play and, finish the cooling pint i had in my hand. We were approached by a female bouncer who told us to drink up and leave. I explained we had just finished playing and our equipment was still on stage so I would be staying for a little while longer. Clearly the the loud music had got to her and she repeated her first request. Now slightly agitated I explained I would be finishing my pint and there wasn’t a lot she was going to be able to do about it. She introduced me to ‘big Chris’ who led me out of the venue. Good night had by all.
Match of the day and a buzzing old boy
Distance – 20 miles
There’s not many pubs we’ve played where we’ve nearly turned around on arrival. This was one of those places. 6-7 people on arrival, who we thought were simply going to take our equipment home with them. Starting the already pointless second set I noticed the 75 year old man sitting in front of us take a very deep breath whilst face down on the table moving steadily sideways. He then proceeded to then dance his tits off. A few songs in and i saw that the few people there were gathered around the TV watching match of the day. At this point we stopped playing, gave the landlord £100 back and we left.
‘The kooks are gonna be here’
Location - London.
Having entered the world of ‘promoters’ This was a great introduction. I forget how we met this joker but he certainly got me thinking we were gonna make it on the back of this great event he wanted us to be a part of. Here’s some of the shit I fell for. Great London venue. Top London promoters to attend. Record labels to attend. Lots of people. And drum roll please…..’The Kooks are gonna be here’ wow I couldn’t believe we’d met the simon cowell of the band world and he was gonna take us to the top. All we had to do was get 20 people to come (paying £5 a ticket) Easy.
We played to 15 people that night (because 5 people i thought were coming didn’t turn up, thankfully) at the top of a run-down old London pub. My disabled friend Mark came and I had to carry him down the stairs at the end of the night. Poor old Paulie Turner (our bass player at the time) travelled an hour on the train to join us. I’ll never forget the look on his face. Apparently the Kooks were gutted they missed it though.
After reading an ad in the paper, we decided to enter ourselves into a ‘music festival that attracts 30,000 people each year’ Just send in your demo and we’ll let you know if you’ve been selected it said. Imagine our excitement when we received the news that we had been selected to play. This was it, the chance to play to a huge crowd woo hoo, we’ve done it boys. Things were looking good, on route there were signs pointing traffic in the direction of the big gig . I was starting to wonder why I hadn’t thought ahead and booked a helicopter.
You’re always going to question the credit of a ‘big music festival’ when the first thing you see is a bouncy castle. I wasn’t counting but I was confident we weren’t looking at thousands of people. We did, however, like the look of the big stage and it just about saved us from a disappointed melt down. We asked the staff where we would need to take our equipment and we were pointed in the direction of a very small marquee with no one in it, commence meltdown. Dave was keen to drive away immediately but we played to a handful of people and left what can only be described as a low grade funfair soon after. Dave also played with a stick tied to a plaster cast using an elastic band as he had broken his wrist.
Its always annoying playing at a party when it seems most of the guests want to fight each other rather than have a good time. Just to make this one really crap we played half the second set without a bass guitar as that decided to stop working. Still at least the guests were true to themselves as they gave into their cravings and blocked the exit with a mass brawl, right when we wanted to load the van and get away.
This gig at a lively bar was actually going quite well until my guitar stopped working half way though. Staying cool and telling a small group of girls I’d been playing up to, to ‘bare with me’ I set about fixing the problem. First thing most guitarists would do is change the lead as leads break all the time. (which is exactly what had happened). Not me, I decided it was the input unit on the amplifier and so loosened the nut allowing the perfectly fine unit to fall into the amp beyond reach, ending the gig there and then. Wasn’t so cool when I ripped the logo off the amp in frustration. A first for us that one. Idiot
On the promise of some great exposure due to radio coverage of the event, we gladly accepted the chance to play at a mini festival following a cycle event. On arrival our first job was to phone all of our friends and family to let them know they could stop listening to the radio station because no-one from the radio station was actually there. Neither was anybody else. Good candy floss and a bouncy castle though.
The gig we never made it to
Another first for us. Before Every gig it is essential to load your van, which in turn means it is essential to know where your keys are. On this occasion I didn't know where the keys were. One suggestion was the keys may have been locked in the van. After trying to smash the window and wrench the door open with no success we gave up and cancelled the gig. I will say however that transit van windows are bloody strong.
Distance travelled - bloody miles.
It may not sound like it but, this still goes down as one of the worst gigs we’ve ever done. It was a hot day in the noisy, sweaty, rusty transit van, on a journey that seemed to go on forever, until it finally got us to a rugby club holding its end of season presentation. Generally any gig where it’s all men (cock heavy) is bad enough let alone massive beered-up rugby players who are just pissed off that you’ve stopped the DJ playing their favorite songs. An agency actually got this gig for us (they’re still laughing now) and decided it was essential that we play with a keyboard player we’d never met before. Good old John. He was old, boring and shite at the keyboard. The highlight for me was when the club chairman asked when where we were going to change and if we’d like a changing room. John was delighted at having a room to change in but was later livid that he was the only one that used it, telling us we were ‘amateur’. He looked very smart in his suit though. The most tedious speeches we’ve ever witnessed meant that we went on 2 hours later than agreed, by which time I was urging Dave to run me over in the van. I had several big men in my face the whole time, saw more cocks in one evening than I ever thought possible and was rugby tackled to the ground whilst packing away. I later realised the agency earned more out of it than we did, but you don’t mind that when they’re getting you great gigs such as these. We still remember a quote from one of the speeches ‘you can leave this rugby club, but it will never leave you’ He was right though, it never has.
It seemed at one point in our career that even a reasonable gig would somehow have the shine taken off of it in some way. Following a good one at a golf club, all that was left to do was drive way. Dave was in the chair that evening leaving Paul and I to chat about the nights events. It soon became apparent though that we weren’t moving, although the engine would suggest otherwise. We were stuck on the grass bordering the Golf course, Dave was losing his temper and so was I. However, slowly we managed to get a small amount of traction allowing Dave to reverse. Unfortunately we were edging back into the the nice fences of the golf club which were now leaning over very slightly. As we looked towards the clubhouse we could see the manager with his hands on his head in disbelief at the mess off the grass and the fences. Irritated with Dave at his poor driving I yelled at him to get out and let me deal with it. We were slightly forward from the fences now giving me room to edge back again. At this point the van gained full traction and I ironed out the fences completely. We gave the manager a polite wave and were on our way.
The Great Emergenza Debacle
Back in 2013 we entered what was billed as Europe's biggest 'Battle of the Bands' competition - heats were to be held in various countries throughout Europe with the winner of each heat playing in Germany to decide who was Europe's top unsigned band. It sounded and looked like the real deal in our then naive little heads so, we were absolutely thrilled to be told we had managed to make it through to the second round of the competition. Round 2 was a meeting with the UK Emergenza organiser in London for an interview. After being given a talk on what we should and shouldn't be doing to make it in the music industry and being warned to beware of people looking to rip-you off we were told we would know within the next week whether we had made it to the final of the UK leg of Emergenza. We were over the moon to then be advised by our new best friend at Emergenza we had made it. However, things started to become a little suspicious when we were advised that we would have to pay £100 'Commitment Fee' hmmmmmmm, then we would need to sell 50 tickets at £10 each!!!! If we didn't do this we couldn't take part. With 16 bands taking part, a tidy £9600 for the dream makers at Emergenza. We then arrived on the day only to be told we were the 3rd band on - it was gorgeous weather outside, It was roasting in the venue and we had foolishly decided to wear shirts and ties, Andy Murray was on Centre Court about to win Wimbledon and therefore we played to the 50 poor bastards we had dragged along and no-one else. The whole idea of entering these things is to try and get a few new fans, regardless of whether you win or not so it was already a massive disappointment. We then had to hang around for the rest of the afternoon watching all the other bands as the audience gradually increased in size until the venue was at capacity as the last band went on. There were some good acts but, with all due respect, there were some less impressive groups including one bunch of kids who looked and sounded like they had literally picked up their instruments for the first time the day before, but we cheered them on none the less as we felt for them and wanted to give them some support. As such we were feeling quietly confident as the results were announced. Unfortunately we came 10th out of 15 (1 band had dropped) and when we actually read our score cards we scored low on musicianship - brilliant. Official result then - 10th place finish, loss of pride, down by £100 plus costs, no additional fans and we missed the tennis. Oh, and the band of kids we had felt sorry for earlier came in 5th place.
Some good came out of the the whole experience though, our song 'Snakes and Ladders' was written with Emergenza in mind. Here are the lyrics, just for you.
"You wanna be our best friend, while you rest your trap again
We're just climbing to do better, there's always someone out to getch ya
Look at you so insincere, telling us what we wanna hear
You get rich and we get burned it's just another lesson learned
we're just another prop in this fake show, but how were we to know
A band called Teddy is playing, the ones to watch we're saying
they're just another prop in this fake show, but how were we to know
Look at you so insincere, telling us what we wanna hear
You get rich and we get burned it's just another lesson learned
Snakes and Ladders"