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Weirdest place you've ever done a gig?


The Wind

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Just thought this would be fun to ask. What's the weirdest or most unusual place you've done a gig?

 

Frankly all mine have been pretty standard: hotels, private home parties, senior centres. I did do one for an African arts exhibit in a public market playing Christmas tunes.

 

And a buddy of my did a week's residency inside a retail clothing store at a mall, this was in conjunction to our city hosting the Olympic Games.

 

I wouldn't count the street buskers, I've seen them in strange places.

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Back in my days, in Italy you had to serve one year in the army. I managed to do most of my service playing organ and arranging for an army band. (they even bought an Hammond for me!) Unfortunately, that happened to be the year of the 200th anniversary of that particular corp, so the band was involved in the big celebrations. The "high point" of the celebs went like this: 3000 soldiers placed as the audience to the sides of the huge forecourt. An empty stage in the middle. A TANK starts moving forward from one side ot the square toward the stage. The tank has been modified with extra supports on the outside to hold some of the musicians, who are playing as the tank is moving: a drummer, a tenor sax player, and a trumpet player. Plus, a trombone player is protruding out of the tank's turret, playing as well!

And that's just the beginning. As the tank approaches the stage, the big door opens, and the guitarist, bassist (with their instruments in hand, gun-style) and myself get out of the vehicle and run to the stage, followed by the brass players and the drummer; the whole thing is coreographed to simulate an attack or a manouvre on the battlefield.

We quickly reach our instruments (my organ ready to play on the stage) and start the concert. It was the most crazy, embarassing, and goofy thing I have ever done in my life, musical or otherwise.

 

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"Weird" is a hard one. I can't think of anything truly weird... Maybe unusual or out of the ordinary. In no particular order:

 

Gambling ships

A schoolhouse converted into a dinner theatre

Riverboats

Oceanside concert hall

Stairwell of a large home

Hotel rooftop

Football stadium

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We played a BBQ for bus drivers inside their "Bus Barn". It was basically a large garage with a couple of offices and lifts. The best part was when one of the workers decided to change the tires on the bus that was suspended in 6 feet in the air about 10 feet from us. After that, we had to play "Magic Bus".
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Back in my days, in Italy you had to serve one year in the army. I managed to do most of my service playing organ and arranging for an army band. (they even bought an Hammond for me!) Unfortunately, that happened to be the year of the 200th anniversary of that particular corp, so the band was involved in the big celebrations. The "high point" of the celebs went like this: 3000 soldiers placed as the audience to the sides of the huge forecourt. An empty stage in the middle. A TANK starts moving forward from one side ot the square toward the stage. The tank has been modified with extra supports on the outside to hold some of the musicians, who are playing as the tank is moving: a drummer, a tenor sax player, and a trumpet player. Plus, a trombone player is protruding out of the tank's turret, playing as well!

And that's just the beginning. As the tank approaches the stage, the big door opens, and the guitarist, bassist (with their instruments in hand, gun-style) and myself get out of the vehicle and run to the stage, followed by the brass players and the drummer; the whole thing is coreographed to simulate an attack or a manouvre on the battlefield.

We quickly reach our instruments (my organ ready to play on the stage) and start the concert. It was the most crazy, embarassing, and goofy thing I have ever done in my life, musical or otherwise.

 

 

 

WAY COOL!!

 

 

Gotta love Europe...

 

That would make a very cool gig for my heavy metal band :)))))

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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One of the strangest gigs I ever played was a private event on a small boat on Lake Geneva (an inland lake popular with tourists in southern Wisconsin as few miles north of the Illinois border). The event was for a sorority that referred to themselves as the "Schmidt Gals". The boat was one of those long (70-80...ish feet), double decker sort passenger ferry sort of things. It was a two hour cruise ... we started playing as we pulled away from the dock. I quickly learned that an Ultimate AX48 keyboard stand was NOT designed for use on a boat! I played most of the gig with my right hand on the keys and my left hand making sure my ol' Yamaha DX7IIFD didn't take a tumble. As we cruised around the lake - our cruise morphed into a flotilla of small pleasure craft that followed us listening to the band. I still remember us cranking out "Sweet Home Chicago" on this boat full of dancing people, rolling and swaying on the wakes of 25 of so boats of our small flotilla as we pulled up to the dock at the end of the cruise. Definitely NOT a typical gig.
The SpaceNorman :freak:
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Thinking back over 30 years of gigs, I really don't have that many weird ones. One that sorta sticks out is a private event we did for a Kentucky Derby party. We pull up and it's an airplane hanger type barn in the middle of a soybean field. We go in and they have the place completely decked out, like this high class hotel ballroom out in the middle of nowhere. Great food (we still talk about the little meatballs!) and we shared the bill with another band where we'd play 30mins each on 2 separate stages, so when one finished the other started up. A pretty cool day.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

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On a small tourist river boat for a bar mitzvah. When we turned on our 200 w Custum PA the boat's engine and electrical systems immediately shut down. (We hadn't even touched our bass player's SVT!). They had to tow the boat back to the dock and we ran electricity off the shore.

 

Like everyone else, a strip club. Girls would strip right in front of us and use our instruments as sexual devices. Playing a C3 with a nice flat surface, I regularly had a lovely nude woman lying right in front of me. Usually playing with other devices that the drummer would supply. I was 16 years old at the time. Hard to count bars and remember where I was in the song. One night she brought a boa constrictor onto my organ. That made me, and the snake, nervouse. I will not tell you how that unfortunate incident ended. Let's just say that the snake did not survive. Sad.

 

We once played a welcome home party for a huge cruise ship. We set up on a cold windy morning at the dock in front of a huge concrete wall. We started playing as the ship arrived. The ship pulled up to the dock and was only about twenty feet away from us. However, we only saw the bottom five decks of the ship, and no one could see us without looking straight down from an upper deck. The sound would hit the side of the steel hull, bounce back at us, hit the concrete wall behind us, and bounce back. It was like playing in a giant echoplex!

'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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Stone barn

Excursion boats

outfield of a minor league stadium

various living rooms, large and small

sidewalks

armories

giant elaborate tent on Kentucky horse farm

 

many more I can't remember...

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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Two weirdest gigs:

Played a gig at a women's Job Corp facility in Astoria. The hundred's of ladies there had been held in isolation for around six months and when we arrived you would have thought that we were Earth,Wind and Fire or something. I was yanked out of the car by a swarm of girls. Our dressing room and bathrooms were bum rushed by crazed "fans" that had never heard of us, and when we finally started playing we had to keep pushing girls back off of the stage. It was almost terrifying. And then the busses pulled up from the nearby military base. Oh, now I get it. Have fun guys.

 

Next weird gig was a major fashion show at a 5 star hotel. Dressing room was backstage and about 50 professional female models changed clothes right there in front of us with impunity. We did our best to not slobber and keep our eyes in our heads. When the show started we backed up the runway models nicely until this one model came out with a knitted shawl covering up a at that time not yet introduced to the public...thong bikini.

When she dropped that shawl the whole band crashed like we were hit by a train, and it was musically perfect for the shock and awe effect.

 

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Played a retirement party for a show horse...in the horse's stable in Louisville. I was picking straw out of my gear for weeks afterward...

 

Speaking of picking stuff out of gear... I played the "Fish Fly Festival" in New Baltimore, MI a few years back. Typical small town festival beer tent sorta thing. The band was set up close to the tent wall on one end of the tent. Cheap beer, BIG crowd ... everything seemed perfect. Then it got dark and the fish flies came....

 

When the fish fly larvae are hatching - they emerge from the lake by the millions and come on shore attracted by the light. They blanket anything and everything along the shoreline - especially anything that is white. ...and when I say blanket - I mean blanket! At peak - folks literally sweep and shovel their carcasses up each morning - like they had a 1/2 inch of snow. Here's a link to a page with numerous pics --> Fish Flies !!!!

 

The fish flies poured through the gap between the tent wall and the tent top ... as well as thru the nearby entrance. The "whiteness" of my keyboards attracted a steady stream of bugs. I played most of the gig with a towel covering my head and neck to keep the bugs off me - and with a second towel in hand to wipe the bugs off my keyboards between songs.

 

I was picking bugs out of my gear for weeks!!!!

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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I never played a strip joint but about 10 years ago I had some gigs at a bar next to a strip club that was frequented by off-work strippers, prostitutes, pimps, refinery workers, bikers and cowboys. The manager of the club was an older lady midget with a beehive hairdo who packed a pistol and ran the bar with an iron fist. It was a bizarre scene to say the least, but at least there was never any violence.

 

I also played gigs at a Hooters, an old church that had been turned into a club, a brewery, and an army base NCO club.

Gigs: Nord 5D 73, Kurzwel SP4-7, Hammond SK1, Numa Compact 2x, Yamaha MX88, Casio CGP700, QSC K12, Yamaha DBR10, JBL515xt(2). Alto TS310(2)

 

 

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I did a small boat / river cruise gig too. I was happy to be sitting and it was still disorienting! The guitar player had to grab my board twice to stabilize. The Jameson girls seemed to keep their balance pretty well though. :)

 

I also did a 10:00pm - midnight pancake breakfast at a local college - twice. That was bizarre.

Nord Lead A1; Yamaha P-125; QSC K10; Cubase 12 Pro; Windows 10

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Hmmm ... I did a live "Crazed Phantom of the Opera" bit every night for two weeks at a rather elaborate haunted house one Halloween many many years ago. One rather large room was set up as a satanic funeral and I used backwards tape loops of responsive readings combined with evil psuedo Bach played on an old Panther Combo organ with an Echoplex. Got to wear a cape and everything. Probably one of the most FUN things I've done. Pictures might still exist, but I doubt it!

 

Remember these things? Now that I think about it, I actually miss this keyboard!

http://www.combo-organ.com/Elka/PantherDuo.jpg

Les Mizzell

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Probably a huge vegan food party that several chefs put on in a large house. Or a gay bar in West Hollywood filled with lots of lots of really burly guys. Neither of those are very weird.

 

One of the more memorable ones was playing the Whisky. Not weird in itself, but just before we went on, three large busloads of Japanese tourists came streaming in. They were uber-enthusiastic and kept jumping in time with our music and screaming, "You are GREAT! You are GREAT!" and smiling. We felt like we were playing a mini Budokan gig. Very very fun.

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Strip joint, yes. Not all that weird, actually, after you got used to it.

 

Amway convention. That one was plenty weird.

 

Black Shriners ceremony. I was the only white guy in the band and in the building. The new 'potentate' or whatever had just been chosen. We played a smooth-jazz tune called 'Off The Hook' for about 25 minutes while an elaborate, funky ceremony was carried out. About 10 dancing guys with giant sabres danced around and eventually the head honcho came out in a purple robe. He danced under the sabres held up like an arc overhead. It was really cool and I felt like I was seeing something not meant for my eyes.

 

Car dealership parking lots, furniture stores, shopping malls, Indian casino, hippie wedding out in the woods.

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two more... The Amnesty International Christmas Party (details explained in another thread, but weird for even this very liberal guy),

 

...and a gig at Grimm's, a popular lesbian bar in Hollywood Florida (where we were the only guys in the joint!) I think they hired us because we covered "Be My Lover" and the owner loved that song. I think we played it every set. My parents and my uncle and aunt came to see where their 16 year old son was playing. Did not even phase them.

 

 

'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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