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The Nightmare Gig finally comes true...


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Maybe some of you guys can relate...

Since I first started playing bass, I've occassionally had the nightmare of playing an awesome gig but all kinds of crap on my end goes wrong. Well, last Friday that nightmare came true for me. Under The Stone played a gig at a bar called The Zombie Lounge. It's a small bar and we packed it about 40+ people. Everyone was amped and having a great time but me. I've got a laundry list of things that didn't go right for me which ultimately led me to have a crappy show. Everyone else had a great time. Me, I was like "What the F@#K?! This is a nightmare come true." My timing was off and I could hear and blah blah blah....


Anyway one else experience something like this?

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It happens.


I remember one show where, as I was setting up, my rig blew two fuses (bad power on the stage), so I had to borrow someone else's. It sounded like pure dreck.


Then I busted a string in the first song, so I used my back-up.


Then someone spilled water in the front of the stage, which somehow got mixed with whipped cream (longer story) and made an insane mess that caused me to almost fall about 10000000 times, which also meant I missed a lot of notes...


On top of that, I couldn't hear anything from the vocal monitors, so I'm pretty sure I was singing my back-up parts very far from being in tune.


And yet... kids kept telling me we sounded great and played an awesome show.


I say... laugh it off and hope for better next time.



"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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What is really disheartening is when you realize that no one cares enough about your playing to know whether you were good or not. In bars you are background music for boy meets girl-boy/girl meets drink, and in concert you are often just bcakground music for see-and-be-seen. Unless you are fortunate (unfortunate?) enough to have an audience of musicians, a lot of folks wouldn't know or care if you played out of tune all night long.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.




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So many stories dating so far back it's rediculous.

The trick is to remain calm while it's happening and of course to heed the lesson.

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76


I have nothing nice to say so . . .


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Picker tells the gawd's truth.. this group I've been gigging with over the past couple months has been a huge step backwards from what I've been used to.. A lot of it stems from the group's inability to adjust a PA system. I've been giving the vocalist lessons every weekend on how to work the damn thing, I'll make adjustments and show him how and why... and its gotten at least listenable.. Invariably though, we get complements every weekend.. Learned to say thank you and move on... I've told the guys exactly that.. good thing we weren't playing in a room full of musicians..
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If it helps: unless you really, really suck, no one knows you had an off night but you. We are our own worst critics. I've discovered that you have to REALLY stink up the joint before anyone really notices. It's hard to remember that we're not playing for fellow musicians or in front of a jury - they're just a bunch of guys having a drink and listening to some music - or not.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."


Les Paul

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Lots of great perspective in this thread ("at least you had a gig" - so true!).


Think about if you saw a band, and the bassist completely ruined a passage. You'd probably feel sympathy for that person. And if they were hot before and after, you'd say it was a great show. In fact, it was a better show than if that player had been perfect, because you saw them survive adversity. As a player, you appreciate and understand that.


I remember a gig about 1.5 years back, and on the third song I couldn't figure out what I was doing (a song we'd performed and hadn't been a problem before). Whatever synaptic occlusion was going on, it was painful. It was also the only time the rest of the band noticed me screwing up, and I heard it (gently) from them for a bit. Fortunately the rest of the 3 sets went well, and it was a great gig!


Dead sexxaayy and whipped cream? I don't want to know....




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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You're right. I am totally thankful that my band plays gigs. That's one of the main reasons I play bass; just for the live performance.


We, Under The Stone, have another gig this Saturday and my plan is to practice hard just to make the last gig doesn't happen again.


Thanks for all your input. It has been enlightening for sure.



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Excellent thread.


EVERYONE has nights that are great, ones that are horrible(to you), and in between. I'm the "new guy" in a band that's been together for over a decade and got to wondering how my performances were so I got the ZOOM H4:


to set on my side of the stage as a "truth detector". It works. On nights when I THOUGHT it was bad, listening to the actual recording of what went down makes me realize how fortunate I am to be with a great band....and the drums-bass thing IS happening!!


It also picks up those "oops" moments without bias or prejudice.



Dad gave me a bass when I was 10.

I learned Gloria, Satisfaction, and a lot of Booker T & the MG's.

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The most important thing is to have fun onstage. Even if you sound like total crap, the audience will have a good time if you are laughing and having a good time. No one notices the mistakes but you.

We are our own worst critics.

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I love how at a gig a month ago, my rig cut out for half a song. Nobody said a thing to me. Two weeks later, same band, someone kicks a cable out.. I'm down for less than 5 seconds, and everyone asked me what happened.

Mike Bear




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I am sure you will get a lot of responses. I played a song in the wrong key, the whole way through. I thought the sound system was just crappy.


I've had a couple where the only thing that got me through was being able to see the drummer's right foot.





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One of my earliest gigs. 4 piece, 2 g's, bass and drums. I was lead guitar (and I use that term loosely), doing some lead and alot of backup vocals. Had one of the old sheet metal Electro-harmonix distortion boxes in which the battery died during sound check. One of the screws did not want to come out of the cover, so I put some extra oomph into it. Screwdriver slipped and went right into my left hand just below the base of my middle finger. I could see the bone. I started to get that numb, weak feeling that comes with minor shock after you do something stupid like that.


It happened about 20 minutes before we were to start. Oddly enough it did not bleed as bad as you would expect, but my hand was getting semi numb. Anyway, as the bleeding was controlable, I did not want to put my bandmates out of work, so we decided to see how it went. The other quitarist picked up the slack and I played as well as I could, but I did have to wipe the blood off the back of my tele neck every 3 or 4 songs. Managed to make it through the long night with the help of a little Jack D.

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