Re: Worst Gig Experiences?
I suppose I've never really had a horrible gig. I've had only one "paid practice" in 7 years, and the two gigs I thought were going to be horrible ended up being decent. The "paid practice" was at an on-campus venue on a Thursday night. The opening band drove off nearly the entire crowd. But hey, the sound crew loved us!
The bassist booked a show without ever seeing the venue. We showed up and it was in a small house's unfinished basement. There weren't even lights down there. We immediately huddled up and had pretty much decided we did NOT want to play this place...but we did drive out there, so we ended up deciding to play. Well, I had to hastily convert an 18" floor tom to a bass drum, because a 22x18" bass drum would not fit down the stairs. We got set up, and people started just pouring in. There was hardly space to move your arms from your sides in the crowd. I can only describe the atmosphere during our set as....complete chaos. The exposed pipes were dripping with condensation. We left with an empty merch bin. It went much better than any of us expected.
We had stopped playing because I had no drums for about a year. Once I got hold of some, we practiced a ton for 4 months and then played a show. We had invited everyone we knew to this show at a little bar, and we had a very good band opening for us....so again, the place was packed. The other band's drummer was nice enough to offer the use of his Pearl Masters MCX...much better than the beat up tama's I was borrowing. (there was a hole in the bass drum shell, patched with tape.)
Now, the problem here came when we started playing our set. Free shots came our way frequently, and I drank without thinking about it. Between the heat, the physical exertion, and the constant mystery drinks coming my way...I suddenly felt not so great. I thought my playing was suffering horribly. Everything felt 1000 times harder to play. Then the guitarist broke a string...which is when I play some filler. Usually some pretty complex DnB grooves and a bit of flashy stuff. Well, the drummer of the other band hops on stage, and we bust out a completely improvised duet type thing with me handling the right side of the kit and the footwork, and him on the left side. It was right then that it hit me:
"Oh no. I'm drunk. This is going to be horrible. I probably sounded horrible already. [insert long chain of inner monologue expletives here]"
It seemed like the string change took ages, and the entire time I felt like the other band's drummer was just carrying me and my unresponsive limbs.
But, I played on and kept hammering it out. Afterward, I thought I played horrible, and didn't even want to watch the video of it the next weekend. Turns out my timing was just fine, and though my dynamics were limited to ff and "my ears are bleeding" the video sounded pretty good.
I suppose for that night and following week, I thought that was my worst gig experience. Turns out it went great, but the feeling I had while playing it kind of ruined it for me.