Author Topic: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread  (Read 2531 times)

alan nagsworth

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Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« on: April 14, 2019, 03:19:08 PM »
Tell us about your worst gigs in this thread.

I've got a bunch, but I'll start with what easily holds up as one of the shittiest and most disappointing performances I've ever witnessed: Butthole Surfers reunion show at Day For Night Festival, December 18th 2016, Houston, Texas.

Now, the appeal of this festival would have already been enormous for me without the Buttholes - Aphex Twin, Lightning Bolt, Tobacco, Banks, Liars, Blood Orange, Mykki Blanco, Daughters, Ariel Pink playing a set of entirely then-completely-unheard "Bobby Jameson" material - but seeing the inclusion of one of the all-time greatest psychedelic gross-out freak noise rock bands the world will ever see sealed the deal, and my friend and I bought tickets and booked the flights there and then.

The festival itself was utterly incredible. The venue was Houston's oldest disused post office depot, and it had mind-boggling visual instalments dotted everywhere. Behind the main stage, the towering city skyscrapers loomed over the crowd. A seriously decent visual treat in every direction. Every single act that played was out of this world, it was like the lineup had been put together based off my own personal tastes. Aphex Twin's set is probably in the top three gigs of all time for me. It had been about 25 degrees every day since we'd arrived but during Aphex's set a sudden, massive wind booted up, blasted the warm weather away entirely - dropping the temperature to about 2 or 3 degrees - and it absolutely fucking hammered it down with rain. Witnessing such a bizarre and drastic and quick shift in the weather, standing in the middle of an enormous crowd in just a t-shirt, soaking wet and freezing cold as the raindrops fragmented through the lasers beaming out over the crowd, was euphoric. I'll never forget it.

The following day didn't get any warmer, but it was bearable because we were having such a cracking time of it. Buttholes were due on about 10pm, and at around 5pm my friend had two (which, judging by its strength later on, was certainly one too many) tabs of acid, and during the Liars set I lost him. It was literally about 9:30pm that I found him, tripping out of his tiny mind, and we made our way to get in the crowd for Buttholes.

The crowd were freezing their arses off but knowing it would be worth the wait. I'd got chatting to some lads next to me and they were kind enough to share a couple of joints with us. I overheard die-hard fans saying they'd flown across the country just for this set, or had been waiting 10-15 years to see them. The mood was high and thick. After an extremely arduous soundcheck that delayed the gig by about 45 bastard minutes, they finally started, and even between three or four of the first songs they spent a good few minutes further tweaking the sound, and for what? I mean, why is it so quiet? Lightning Bolt had played this stage earlier this afternoon and they absolutely tore it up. Butthole Surfers are renowned for the sheer, intense noise of their performances. Something's up here, but it'll get smoothed out soon, right?

Nah mate. It stayed that volume for the whole set, and pockets of the crowd often shouting "TURN IT UP FOR FUCKS SAKES" confirmed that I wasn't alone in my irritancy. The guitar in particular was dismally quiet. It sounded like fucking shit. And it gets worse, of course. Gibby might as well have phoned in his completely lacklustre vocal performance. He had his hands in his bloody pockets for half of it. The drummer struggled to keep a basic beat in time and constantly looked on the verge of a heart attack, his face red and glistening, eyes bulging, just awful. The crowd were getting pissed off. I was grimacing and cringing through almost the entire set. Then, for one of their songs which I can't remember because I was so terminally bored, Gibby gets his fucking toddler son up on stage with a drum and two sticks so he can play along to one of the songs! WHY??? The actual drummer was fucking bad enough already without this six year old kid just belting away on this thing completely to his own little rhythm. My god. This is beyond bad. Like, I know their sets would have a lot of chaotic out of tune playing and whatnot, but this wasn't that. This was just not good at all.

About 15 minutes before they finished, we suddenly felt this huge surge from behind us, which turned out to be a hoard of fans turning up for the next performance (trap mega star Travis Scott) and probably wondering who this pissant honky tonk county fair jug band were and why they were cutting quarter of an hour into Travis Scott's stage time. At one point the sheer force pushing us meant we were leaning forward, almost defying physics like in Smooth Criminal. This piqued my anxiety and just made the whole thing even worse for me and my psychedelic-minded compadre. And then, after about 40 minutes of complete dribble from Butthole Surfers, they finished. In hindsight this was merciful considering how pish it was, but even for a festival set it was way too short, and they didn't thank the crowd or fucking anything. Just put their instruments down and walked off stage. An absolute shower of shit.

Amidst the buzzing chagrin audible from the crowd in our immediate vicinity, my friend, totally warped out of his fucking gourd on 'California Sunshine' LSD, turns to me grinning absurdly and barks "WE FLEW FIVE THOUSAND MILES FOR THIS NAGS" which I found hilarious and sticks out as the single most enjoyable part of the whole set. He later told me that even the acid trip, including being able to visualise the words flying out of Gibby's megaphone during "Who Was In My Room Last Night?", couldn't save how unenjoyable it all was. And for me, the extremely laborious task of getting him back to the hostel and talking him back down to earth after he suddenly turned and started having an incomprehensibly bad time was more fun than the Butthole Surfers gig.

You can watch the second half of the set here, and Gibby's son's appearance is at 10:20.

Absorb the anus burn

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2019, 03:22:27 PM »
For a concert performed in December 1016 it sounds pretty radical.

alan nagsworth

  • Hi. I'm in Delaware.
Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2019, 03:29:53 PM »
you shut up sir

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2019, 03:43:34 PM »
Was going to say "It doesn't sound that bad", but then I skipped ahead to "Pepper". Oh dear.

Dr Syntax Head

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2019, 03:44:26 PM »
I once saw Clam Abuse (Ginger from Wildhearts side project). You don't really need any more information. It was dire.

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2019, 04:04:46 PM »
The Tiger Lillies' Sinderella show about a decade ago. I'd waited ages to see the band and I've never felt so let down.

I guess I made the mistake of going into this expecting something along the lines of an entire stage show like their earlier Shockheaded Peter, but this was nothing like that. It was just bollocks.

It was basically an extended cabaret based around the performance of Justin Bond as "Sinders" with the band as Ugly Sisters, and had basically one "joke" that was hammered to death over the entire show - "What if Cinderella was a crack whore, lolz". The songs sounded like they'd been knocked out in a weekend. Utterly, crushingly disappointing.

Sin Agog

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2019, 04:12:56 PM »
Probably watching the back of Tricky's head as he mumbled desultory gibberish to the wall for half an hour.  If I wanted that kind of treatment, I'd have a conversation with my dad.

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2019, 09:34:10 AM »
I saw the Butthole Surfers around 1986 and it was a gig that changed my life in many respects. Sorry they were shit when you saw them.

samadriel

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2019, 12:16:46 PM »
Probably watching the back of Tricky's head as he mumbled desultory gibberish to the wall for half an hour.  If I wanted that kind of treatment, I'd have a conversation with my dad.

QDRPHNC and I said similar of Tricky in the last 'worst gigs' thread.  I wonder if he was ever good live...

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2019, 12:30:17 PM »
Blur circa Song 2 and Beetlebum, whatever year that was. They could not have given two shits.
Totally void of energy.

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2019, 02:40:14 PM »
I was supposed to be going to a gig with my seriously ill brother but since buying tickets he's gotten even iller to the point that he couldn't even leave the hospital. Basically, he only had a day or two left. As the gig we'd bought tickets for was by his favourite artist ever, he pleaded with me just to take a photo and maybe send him a tiny clip of his favourite song. I told him I felt wary of doing this but he begged me, explaining that as the illness (I forget what it was now) was affecting his sight and hearing, my photo and clip might well just be the final thing he ever saw and heard. I gave in and once the band got going, I unobtrusively took a photo and recorded a small section of his favourite song. Unfortunately, the person behind me took great umbrage at this and grabbed my phone and hurled it in to the crowd. My brother never did get that photo and clip and I later found out he had died that very night from the illness and a broken heart.

Apart from that it was Big Audio Dynamite II at Reading festival, covering Prince's 1999 with the drummer from The Farm on lead vocals.

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2019, 02:53:42 PM »
...the drummer from The Farm on lead vocals.

Utter, utter desolation.

SteveDave

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2019, 03:50:53 PM »
Mike Nesmith at Union Chapel in (I think) 2012. I left after 20 minutes of him reading shitty "films of the mind" pieces out before each song to re-contextualise them. I wasn't the only person leaving. It was him on guitar, General Zod on synth and a 5 string bassist.

I'm glad no-one uses Tipp-Exx any more.

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2019, 04:32:07 PM »
Utter, utter desolation.

They were headlining the second stage. We were only there because it was pissing it down outside and had wanted to see the previous band (Suede). When Suede finished, despite the torrential rain, the tent rapidly emptied. The announcer bloke tried to cajole everyone back in by doing all the "stay around guys, next up we have BADII!' but faced with the ongoing exodus, he could only follow it up with a meek 'you bastards'. I honestly nearly pissed myself laughing at the Prince cover, so I guess it wasn't the worst gig ever but it was certainly the shittest.

gilbertharding

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2019, 04:53:27 PM »
One of the first gigs I ever went to was pretty bad. Michelle Shocked at the Corn Exchange, Cambridge, in 1988.

Then there was House of Love at the Junction in about 1991.

And all the many times I saw Carter the Fucking Load of old Shit Machine - a lot of my friends liked them. Most of the times they just happened to be at a festival, but the first time they were actually headlining. There was a decent support band though.

Actually, all three of these were gigs I went to because my friends were going. Why didn't I stay at home?

Puce Moment

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2019, 05:01:11 PM »
There have been so many. One of my least favourite was a Butthole Surfers gig in about 1990. For some reason there was loads of strung out middle-aged metallers there (it was a metal club on a Saturday night and I think they used to turn up to watch the shit indie bands). They all had mullets and bald spots, plus very red faces from years of alcohol. Anyway, this time they were in luck as the Buttholes mix of screaming and loud guitars seemed to please them. They formed a massive mosh pit - but one of those really macho ones where it turns into a big empty circle and they were stomping around trying to make the circle bigger by kicking and punching at people in a 'mosh pit' way. I think the worst thing about it was, as people left, the band didn't seem to give a fuck.

After that, Cornershop at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Nick Cave at Alexandra Palace and The Fall at Stewart Lee's ATP.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2019, 05:05:33 PM »
Nick Cave was terrific when I saw him, surprised to see him mentioned here. He properly goes for it live, all mad jumping around and climbing around and screaming at people. It’s great fun.

Worst gig - Red Hot Chili Peppers at a shit festival. Don’t know what I was thinking - they looked fucking bored and the whole thing was so robotic it was funny. At one point everyone walked off except for the bass player and we thought “ooh he’s going to noodle about a bit then they’ll all come back on and do one or two more!” but that isn’t what happened. He just did about 6 or 7 minutes of bass solos to himself, then wandered off. And that was it. Awful.

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2019, 06:47:28 PM »
It was Badly Drawn Boy at the Apple Cart festival in 2011 for me, he slagged off the audience for not liking his new songs, played a fuckload of downbeat dirge-y nonsense that no one recognised and not one of his well known songs (which is fair enough at one of his own gigs but not a festival imho) and was a miserable bastard the whole time, refusing to get off stage despite barely anyone listening to him.

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2019, 06:53:28 PM »
Oasis at Knebwortg. I wasn't really a fan but friends went and I thought it might be fun. The point at which I'd been queueing for fucking ever for some plastic glasses full of piss weak lager and Ocean Colour Scene started playing. For fucks sake.

Hell to get out off and the speed I took meant I couldn't sleep all night.

NoSleep

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2019, 07:10:34 PM »
Queueing up outside Finsbury Park Astoria AKA The Rainbow Theatre, and people who had attended the first set started filing out and telling us Frank Zappa had been thrown from the stage and broken his leg. There was no second set. This article sexes what I recall up a little bit (probably because I fucked off as soon as it was clear there would be no gig; sod hanging around in an angry crowd and then vying for seat on the Tube amongst them):

http://wiki.killuglyradio.com/wiki/The_Rainbow_Theatre_Incident

Quote



The Rainbow Theatre, London. The band played the first show, and returned to play an encore. Since they were in England, Frank chose to play The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand". A member of the audience ran up the side steps of the stage and pushed Zappa off the stage, ten feet into the orchestra pit, knocking him unconscious and breaking his leg. Members of the audience immediately seized the man, Trevor Charles Howell, as he tried to get away. Zappa's roadies then taught him a few manners.

Chaotic scenes ensued outside the Rainbow where the audience for the second concert were joined on the street by the audience from the first. Wild rumours that Frank had been killed flashed through the massive crowd, and for upwards of an hour no-one knew what was happening. Eventually the crowd dispersed, most of them none the wiser about the evening's dramatic events.

Police arrested Howell, a 24-year-old manual worker, and charged him with assault with malicious intent to commit bodily harm. Bail was set at £100. According to a member of the audience, Howell kept mumbling something about his woman being in love with Zappa.

(On December 20th) Trevor Howell appeared in court charged with "maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm" on Frank Zappa. Howell pleaded guilty and said "I did it because my girl friend said she loved Frank." He was sentenced to a year in jail.

-From Frank Zappa - A Visual Documentary by Barry Miles, recalling the last show (December 10th)


alan nagsworth

  • Hi. I'm in Delaware.
Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2019, 07:19:05 PM »
Cathedral in Birmingham about ten years ago. The doom metal band who were allegedly regarded as one of the principal names of the genre (though I've never looked into this and I never will). Their opening song was so unbelievably bad - I'm honestly, without hyperbole, telling you it was like the lilting folky bits of Spinal Tap's "Stonehenge" - that me and my friends left before it had even finished.

Outside we took shelter from the hammering rain to roll a joint in a doorway near the venue and people were coming out in droves. Four or five people pelted past with their coats held over their heads screaming "FUCK CATHEDRAL!". It was cute.

It was Badly Drawn Boy at the Apple Cart festival in 2011 for me, he slagged off the audience for not liking his new songs, played a fuckload of downbeat dirge-y nonsense that no one recognised and not one of his well known songs (which is fair enough at one of his own gigs but not a festival imho) and was a miserable bastard the whole time, refusing to get off stage despite barely anyone listening to him.

Haha, I saw BDB at a festival in 2005 and he was exactly the same, a constant beige assault on the senses of "I'm dead cool, me". Dickhead.

SteveDave

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2019, 10:08:25 AM »
Trevor Charles Howell should've pushed harder

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2019, 10:23:06 AM »
I've had a good old think about this and decided I haven't ever really been to any gigs that were objectively crap - and I've seen The Fall about 10 times!

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2019, 11:43:07 AM »
I've seen Badly Drawn Boy at a few festivals in afternoon slots around 2003, and he repeatedly broke the golden rule of live performance by stopping to bollock the band. That's pretty much the first thing you learn in a band - even if you make a mistake you don't stop, and most of the time people never notice anyway.

Shit Good Nose

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2019, 02:30:13 PM »
I've mentioned all of these several times before...


Because they were both so utterly disappointing rather than bad - Pink Floyd in Modena (I was on holiday near the venue at the time and tickets were a mere £15, which was cheap for a show that major even for then) on the Division Bell tour, and Roxy Music at the NEC on their 2001 reunion tour (which wasn't cheap).  Both very very very workmanlike performances, to the point where I may as well have saved some money and stayed at home and listened to the albums.

Because I've never felt so out of place or uncomfortable at any gig before or since - Ice-T at the (then) Carling Academy in Bristol, very late 90s/very early 00s.  I only went because a mate was a huge fan of his and he couldn't get anyone else to go with him.  Please note, dear reader, this wasn't a black/white thing - there were plenty of white people in that audience.  What there wasn't much of was middle class white kids in their early 20s (i.e. me and my mate).  I probably imagined it, or at least exaggerated it, but when we walked in it was like walking into a saloon in the wild west - the pianist stopped, the poker games stopped, the whores stopped being raped and everyone was staring at us.

Santana, NEC 2001.  Ostensibly a good gig, but we were sat level with the side-on view of the stage - an area which I'd never previously known to be given over to concert seating before, having been to gigs there numerous times - and therefore behind the speakers.  So all we could hear was a bassy rumble, fuzzy vocals and the unamplified drums and percussion.  In hindsight I should've demanded a refund, but didn't really think of it at the time.

Blues piano legend Bob Hall, who played with just about every important blues artist who was still alive in the 60s and 70s.  An absolutely mortifying gig where he turned up wearing a gold lame suit, his wife (wearing a super posh ball gown) on bass (she was of the pluck-one-string-every-now-and-again variety) and someone who was dressed like David Essex in The River on mandolin.  They handed out shakey eggs to various people in the audience to provide percussion.  Worse than Butlins' light entertainment shows.

Absolute worst gig ever - L7 at the Fleece and Firkin in Bristol early-mid 90s, where the Reading festival tampon incident was repeated.  Luckily I was right at the back.  They received a lifetime ban from playing Bristol by the council following that.  Hateful people and awful musicians, dreadful music, audience largely made up of absolute cunts, endless walkouts.

buzby

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2019, 02:52:10 PM »
Grandmaster Flash at the Manchester Parklife festival in 2011 - his Mac crashed twice after 10 minutes - cue an OAP tryting to get his computer running again for about the next 10 minutes. He finally got it going again but it wasn't worth the wait and I bailed. One of the pioneers of DJing lost without Traktor, despite there being actual record decks on the stage.. Deslolation.

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2019, 05:25:54 PM »

Absolute worst gig ever - L7 at the Fleece and Firkin in Bristol early-mid 90s, where the Reading festival tampon incident was repeated.

Amazing powers over their mensural cycles, almost as if it was a staged gimmick.

Badly Drawn Boy is notorious for being, err..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeIbv_hIeu8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfPIyb31tGA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2AEo6PXC8s

Shit Good Nose

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Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2019, 05:42:59 PM »
Amazing powers over their mensural cycles, almost as if it was a staged gimmick.

Oh, it was definitely staged as in they planned to do it, but the tampon and its..."used" nature was absolutely real.

I was surprised, however (no doubt along with a good chunk of the male audient contingent who were almost certainly there for nothing else), that they didn't repeat their Word stunt.

Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2019, 06:16:31 PM »
Elton John a few years ago.
Wanted to see him live, even though I'm not a big fan.
Love Rocket Man though. It's fucking brilliant isn't it.
He's obviously going to play it, so that'll be worth going for.
Anyway, about halfway through, he plays it. But it's not Rocket Man, it's Rocket Man Jazz Odyssey ("We hope you like our new direction").
10+ minutes long and with false endings, then Elton would sing "ROCKET MAAAAAN!" and it would limp on some more.
Fucking rotten I was fucking furious.
Then Elton said "Now we'd like to play a couple of tracks from the new album"* and I left.**

*the sound of several thousand people sighing in unison is surprisingly loud
**I wasn't the only one

alan nagsworth

  • Hi. I'm in Delaware.
Re: Worst gigs thread about your worst gigs in a thread
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2019, 06:40:57 PM »
Absolute worst gig ever - L7 at the Fleece and Firkin in Bristol early-mid 90s, where the Reading festival tampon incident was repeated.  Luckily I was right at the back.  They received a lifetime ban from playing Bristol by the council following that.  Hateful people and awful musicians, dreadful music, audience largely made up of absolute cunts, endless walkouts.

I went to a gig last year (CHRISTEENE) where the they came out with a butt plug up their arse with a load of helium balloons attached to it. As soon as they were onstage they pulled it out and chucked it into the crowd, and it floated down slowly right next to me. A girl stood by me grabbed the balloon strings and held this shitty hunk of rubber aloft for a few minutes before awkwardly disposing of it. That was one of the most intense and fun gigs I've seen in the last year or so!