A few weeks ago, I put up a post about what playing bar gigs is really like. In it, I described a no-problem gig. But of course there are always problems.
Earlier tonight I talked with a longtime friend and ex-bandmate who’s now playing in another band. He told me about doing two gigs in one night, both benefits, a couple of weeks ago. At the first one, there was an outdoor stage (yes, you can play outdoors at night in December in Tucson; it’s not pleasant, but you can do it). It was about 60 degrees when they took the stage, so it was already uncomfortably cool and getting cooler. The nonprofit for which they were doing the gig had a p.a. system, but according to my friend it was “shitty,” the people running it were incompetent, and it took them a while to get everything improperly set up.
So, when they took the stage my pal and his bandmates already weren’t in the best of moods. They played their first set, increasingly uncomfortable as the temperature fell, still unhappy about the sound. Toward the end of the set a sick stray dog staggered across the stage, spraying bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea on everyting in sight–including their instrument cords, mike cables . . . . . and the vocalist’s shoes. Incredibly enough–they’re troupers–they finished the song, cleaned up the mess as best they could, and then, yes, did their second set amidst a somewhat diminished stench.
Following that, they packed up their (hopefully) cleaned-up gear and went and played another benefit, where an obnoxious drunk tried to pick a fight with my pal. (The drunk would have lost.)
So, for the night: bad sound, uncomfortable temperatures, a near-fight with a drunk, diarrhea-covered cords and cables, playing on a diarrhea-splattered stage, and no pay.
I still don’t know what the vocalist decided to do with her shoes.
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If by chance anyone reading this will be in Tucson xmas week, we (Pinche Blues Band) will be playing two free (no-cover charge) gigs: Tuesday December 23 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at Maker House, 283 North Stone, and Friday December 26 from 8:00 pm to midnight at The Boondocks, 3306 North First Avenue. Hope to see you at one or the other.
I can’t guarantee it, but I don’t think there will be any diarrhea-spewing dogs at either event.