Catfish Kady’s – The Station House
At an outdoor venue in Missouri, I was hired by a friend to play for two hours as background music for a last-day-of-school party for her and a bunch of her teacher friends.
Now me as the artist, I rarely turn down a chance to perform. I WISH I HAD TURNED DOWN THIS GIG.
I showed up a half hour early to set up and immediately things went south. I was given a sound system, told to set it up, and run it for myself.
While I am capable of setting up and sound checking, it’s difficult to say it levels are balanced in the house versus what I can hear on stage.
Though it started off rough, my friend helped balance the levels and I played my first 50 minutes and took a ten minute break. During the second hour…that is when things quickly went south.
The teachers, RAGING at this point in celebration of their three month summer vacation, were completely wasted. They began yelling at me mid-song.
“Stop playing that song! I want to hear Chris Stapleton.”
To which I responded, again mid-song,
“Sorry, but I am not a jukebox.”
Then they began throwing their empty, plastic solo cups at me. Okay. This is bad.
I proceeded to the next song and a girl came ONTO THE STAGE, took my guitar case, opened it up, and turned it upside down and emptied its contents on the floor in front of me and walked away.
My friend then brought me a drink to the stage. Lord knows I needed it.
That’s when all hell broke loose. These drunk white girls rushed the stage, five and six at a time, turning over my equipment, getting in my face, playing my keyboard, trying to strum my guitar while I was still wearing it.
WHERE IS THE EVENT STAFF!?
Completely oblivious and/or indifferent to what was happening, the staff stayed behind the counter and failed to intervene.
The debacle of crowd members, bear in mind that these are elementary school teachers, the “adults” that are supposed to be shaping the minds of young people, being on the stage forced me into an extra thirty minutes of performing… just grasping at straws, trying to get control of the situation. (I regained no such control.)
They were on stage, screaming obscenities about god knows what. I sat down on the rear of the stage behind them, head in my hands, trying to think of what to do next.
I shut off the sound system and just packed my things up and left – forty drunk teachers did not like that their “entertainment” was leaving. They yelled more.
What I Should Have Done vs. What I Actually Did
Okay. In retrospect I know that I should have shut everything down, sound and equipment as soon as things started going badly, but my compulsion to perform got the best of me.
I have the foresight to know what happens when the initial red flags present themselves.
Just get off of the stage, pack up, leave, and most importantly, collect your fee for the performance BEFORE you perform.
Okay, so I was packed up and leaving.
(Not the end of the story)
I was almost to my car and a middle aged kindergarten teacher approached me, which I was hoping would be an apology for the shit show that just occurred. But no.
She gave me a one dollar bill with her address on it and said that one of her other teacher friends wanted to hook up with me. The same girl who turned over and dumped out the contents of my guitar case.
I said that I did not want to do that and that I would be leaving immediately. She threw a fit. The girl who wanted to hook up threw a fit and (somehow) got my phone number and repeatedly texted me asking me out and why I didn’t want to come over to keep partying.
My “No, you and your friends ruined my show and ruined my whole damn day.” was not good enough for her.
I texted my friend who had booked me and said,
“Never ask me to play for you and your friends again. That was the worst show of my life.”
That was May of 2017 and still to this day…some forty gigs later, has not been topped.
THAT was the worst gig of my life.