Friday, September 09, 2005

Society Hill Play Outhouse

Last night, I played one of the lamest gigs ever, at the Society Hill Playhouse in Philadelphia.

Last year, Paul played an open mic that turned out to be a contest, which he unexpectedly won. The prize was a gig at the Playhouse: any night he wanted, promotions would be taken care of.

Originally, the gig was planned as a solo acoustic night, just Paul and his guitar, but as the date approached (and was put off, and rescheduled) the booker decided he wanted the whole band. As of last week, I knew we had to be there by 8:30 to load in our equipment.

I will not go into great detail about the typical clusterfuck that surrounds getting The Jangling Sparrows to where we're supposed to be at the time we're supposed to be there. Let's just leave it at this: nobody in this band has any sense of time, and half the band doesn't know how to read a map.

Amy, who sings harmony, plays rhythm guitar, and drives a pickup truck, arrived at my house on time, and together we loaded out about 300 pounds of amplifier and guitars. For once we got to the venue on time, but when we arrived the Playhouse told us we were too early and to come back later.

This is how the night wound up: the Jangling Sparrows were promised free publicity and promotion: there was none, and therefore there was no audience. AT ALL. The venue refused to comp us any beer. We had to pay $4.00 a bottle for our choice of Rolling Rock, Coors Light, Yuengling, and Yuengling Light.

The show was The Jangling Sparrows were supposed to start at 9:30; instead, the first band went on at 10:30. We went on at 11:30. Ten minutes into the first band's set, they closed the bar. Then, halfway through the first band's 45 minute-set, the management locked the front doors.

"No one's coming in anyway," the manager told me. "If you step outside, make sure someone watches the door, because you'll be locked out." This was irritating enough, but worse was that the first band SUCKED. Sucked like a Shop-vac: it was a girl who sand and played electric guitar backed by a guy on a djembe. Every sing song sounded like a variation on Stevie Wonder's "Too High" from Inner Visions. Nothing against Stevie, but when all your songs sound like that, I'm heading for the door. Except in this case I couldn't.

So here we were, trapped in an empty theatre, forced to listen to endure a lousy band, so we could have our opportunity to play for nobody, with no beer. Oh, and we didn't get paid. On the other hand, Menopause, The Musical ("Men Love It Too!") was playing upstairs. Who can argue with that?

Society Hill Shithouse, I will never walk through your doors again.


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