Last Saturday we played ‘The Worst Gig Ever’ at the Salford Arms in Salford, near Manchester. It had been organised by Carl Lingard who was our former guitarist and is now front man and principal songwriter for Pearl Divers.
We had received a message on our Facebook page saying “Yo guys, fancy playing at Salford Arms? £60 plus beers!” so we said yes because we need gigs, we need money and we need beers.
I had researched the venue and discovered only that it is a staunch Man United supporters pub. On arrival, there were quite a few people watching Man City v Sunderland on Sky and City’s late winner was greeted with utter silence, apart from a few choice swear words, which was quite amusing. They all seemed a bit angry though and I thought “This lot are going to hate us”. Thankfully they all buggered off shortly after the match finished, leaving the place virtually empty.
The sound quality was terrible because there wasn’t a proper PA set-up (bass and guitars weren’t miked because the size of the venue didn’t merit it) and there were no foldback monitors. We therefore couldn’t hear ourselves play. In such circumstances, all I need to be able to hear clearly is drums and bass and I can get by with that. An acoustic drum kit is very loud and can be heard even with a powerful PA right next to it, but we were using an electronic drum kit because Pearl Divers use one and they were the main band so we had to use their kit.
The sound of the wooden sticks hitting the rubber drum pads was louder to my ears than the sound of the drums coming through the PA. The loudest I heard our drummer play was when he was banging his sticks together to count us in 1,2,3,4.
In short it was awful and it is a miracle that we made as few mistakes as we did. I only properly lost it in one song, our last one because I couldn’t hear the drums and I think Pete, the singer, was out of time aswell so I just stopped for a few seconds to get back into the groove.
The saving grace was that apart from the bar staff and the five guys from Pearl Divers, there were only about half a dozen other people in the building and none of them paid any attention to us whatsoever, so our worst live performance so far was more of a bad live rehearsal than a complete public humiliation.
The irony is that we got paid for the first time, although the £60 was only for the headliners so Carl generously, and without a second’s hesitation, split their booty with us so each band got £30 in the end. That means that Pete, Nick, Neil and I each get £7.50 which for me is money towards my rock-star leather jacket, a gift I’ve promised myself but the caveat is I can only buy it with money earned from music. I’m quite sure i’ll look a proper dick wearing it, but I’ve always wanted one and I’m not going to stop until I’ve got one.
So three gigs in and they’ve got progressively worse each time. Perhaps we were spoilt by playing at the Night and Day in our first outing, but we need to get back onto a proper stage in a proper venue as soon as possible.
Next up is the Chorlton Monofest in two weeks. Its our first festival and while the live set-up probably won’t be great, I’m fairly sure it will be better than the Salford Arms, which was shit.