Thursday, October 28, 2010


You've attended them. You've been witness to musical meltdowns and horrific evenings. Yet, from the audience, you've been just a spectator.

The bands playing Yeah Gates' 'Spooktacular' on Sunday night at the Black Cat—America Hearts, The Cheniers, and Foul Swoops—have their own frightening tales to tell. Of their own on-stage nightmares. The shows that went hideously wrong. The gigs they'd never, ever want to relive.

These are their stories.

Today, it's The Cheniers' nightmares:

David Malitz | My old band played a show in Baltimore at a place called Charm City Art Space. The performance area is in this low-ceiling basement and it was all musty and dusty. The first song we played was one that I sang and I go up to the microphone and get shocked. Not a little zap, but a serious fucking SHOCK. I jumped back, approached again with trepidation. Same result.

I'm an idiot when it comes to technical stuff—every time my amp makes a crackling sound I'm convinced it's blown a tube, even though I barely know what a tube is—so I didn't know that the problem was that I wasn't "grounded" or some bullshit.

So for the entire song I keep thinking, "Oh, maybe it will get better" only to be stung each time. This happened about 10 times. We "grounded" everything after that but the next time one of my songs came up in the setlist I was too scared to go up to the microphone, like a mouse that gets shocked trying to eat a piece of cheese and eventually backs off.

John Masters | We decided to make a pit stop at a certain "gentlemen's club" in Atlanta after a Stamen & Pistils show back in 2007. The friend we were staying with spent a little too much time in the champagne room and insisted on driving us home on the freeway. He started passing out at the wheel and we swerved entirely off the road numerous times as we all screamed in terror.

Once we convinced him to let one of us drive, we got him back home to the apartment where we were all staying. He sat in a chair drunkenly mumbling and made me laugh, and that's when he quickly changed demeanor. "Is this guy making fun of me?" he asked everyone. "I'm gonna kick his ass." Aware of the fact the guy was about 15 times the size of skinny indie rock frame, I fled to my cot until he passed out—needless to say I didn't sleep well that night.

Ben Vivari | The scariest shows are always the first shows, right? An old band I was in, our first gig was at the probably-now-closed Vault in Baltimore. We were barely a band - we had two guitars, drums, no bass ... and we had never even heard of the other bands we were playing with, and outside of a few friends knew hardly anyone in the crowd. In the end we got through it with no major disasters but it was a stupid environment to play our first show and probably was the scariest - though far from worst - show we ever played.

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