I certainly don't want to get in the habit of posting based on negative experiences, but after our recent two shows with Brisbane band, 'The Red Paintings', I feel it necessary to.
We were asked to do two shows: one at the National Hotel (Geelong) and the other at the Ding Dong Lounge (Melbourne). We were very excited to be playing the shows, despite being told we were getting a very small guarantee while 'The Red Paintings', were taking more than 95% of the door takings. We figured it was a good experience to do a support for a touring band and also a great chance to play in a really nice, big venue, such as Ding Dong in front of a good sized crowd.
On both nights we were forced to cut our sets short due to the Red Paintings insistence they start at 10:40 on the dot (the band's stipulation, not the venues). The second night at Ding Dong we played for less than 20 minutes, only fitting in 4 songs, before being asked to get off. At the end of each song the Red Paintings roadie walked up to the front of the stage to tell me how much time we had left and Jenny, our pianist, was simultaneously getting this treatment from the red paintings tour manager on the other side of the stage. I cannot express to you how frazzling it is on stage when you are constantly being reminded of how much time you have left: doesn't make you feel exactly wanted up on the stage if you know what I mean. I'm not usually the nervous type, but my legs were buckling under me and my face was red with embarrassment for the entire performance.
The nervous tension didn't just begin on the stage either: it was from the word go. Upon arriving at Ding Dong the tour manager walked straight up to me--no hello, or any type of greeting--and proceeded to tell me that we must be finished by 10:20, 'not a second later'! Not the best way to put me at ease prior to the performance. They were so uptight about this deadline that they ruined our performance, our confidence and our entire night. We were hoping to put on a really good show, but I feel we came across as nervous and total amateurs (which we certainly are not). On the night the tour manager also harrassed us once we were off stage to get our equipment out of her way so she could set up canvases for the guest painters for the red paintings show. We had nowhere left to put our equipment as the red paintings had taken up all the spare areas and when we asked her where we should put our gear she said: 'you'll have to work that out for yourselves'. It felt like we were supporting a heartless corporation, not an upcoming rock band from Brisbane.
On the first night at the National Hotel we had a better time, but were still surprised at the lack of warmth from the band. When Jenny complimented their violinist on a good set she didn't even reply with any thanks: all she could offer was a nasty poker face. The next night at Ding Dong she shoved past Jenny (who was still packing up) as she tried to prematurly get her equipment up on stage.
Of my 15+ years of performing, this would have to be my worst musical experience. I like to think of performing music as one of the greatest joys and releases in my life, and also a time to share in the warmth of a talented musical community. This particular night I felt our integrity and souls were completely undermined. The opening band at Ding Dong also echoed our negative sentiments of the night. We're sorry to anybody who paid the $20 cover charge to see us rushed through barely 20 mins of music with frazzled minds and nervous fingers.
Looking forward to the next one.