As a music lover, I've been to A LOT of shows - huge sold out stadium shows, tiny bar shows with a handful of people, awesome shows that lived up to and exceeded all expectations and shows that were great but for a reason I never could have anticipated. But this isn't about those shows...this is about the AWFUL shows. The shows that make you feel like you wasted your time and money...the ones that leave a pit in your stomach and may even make you dislike a band that you used to love. Sometimes its the band, sometimes other factors but no matter what the cause these shows were terrible. These are my top 10 horrible shows.*
7. Secretly Drowning - Burnsville, MN, 2002
Secretly Drowning was an up and coming rock band from Minneapolis. My brother, Kelly, happened to catch them on a business trip to the Twin Cities and passed along how great they were. The band seemed to be skyrocketing to success winning several regional awards and scoring sponsorship from Amp Energy Drink. I caught them a few times at local Des Moines shows and they were fantastic, high energy shows...even if the crowd was small. They seemed to be making fans every time they played, I was expecting them to get bigger and bigger.
One weekend, there happened to be an arcade auction in the Twin Cities area. Kelly and I are both pinball dorks, so we were interested...but that is a long way to drive for an uncertain auction. Most auctions we go to either don't have anything we are looking for or are so corrupt that it isn't worth the time because you will never get a good price. The trip didn't seem worth while just for the auction but then we noticed that Secretly Drowning happened to be playing in a small Minneapolis suburb, I am pretty sure it was Burnsville. I was really looking forward to seeing SD again, so we were then able to justify the trip.
The auction was OK, we didn't buy anything but it was nice to play a couple pins that we hadn't played for a while and it had a really groan inducing moment, when they were auctioning the first "Pick of the Litter" of all the pinball machines. Some of the line-up included Addams Family, Dr Who, Eight Ball Deluxe, and Elvira and the Party Monsters. First pick bidding ended at $2100. Which I personally thought was a lot for any of the games, but everyone figured that the person really wanted an Addams Family. It was higher than I would pay for an Addams but it wasn't unheard of. The buyer though decided to go with Elvira and the Party Monsters. Elvira is a pre-dot matrix machine. It is good, but it was an $800-$1000 game tops. An audible gasp went through the room when the buyer choose it. I wish I could have seen his face to know if he realized he made a mistake when he heard the gasp.
The auction was interesting but disappointing because there wasn't any pinball that we really wanted, so we headed to find the Secretly Drowning venue. It was a new venue that we had never heard of, but looking at their past concerts they seem to get a pretty good line up of talented local bands. We had Mapquest maps and were pretty confident in our skills (Mapquest still had some problems but for the most part it was pretty accurate). We drive to the address of the club and there is nothing there...it is like the town hall and a couple municipal buildings. We thought Mapquest couldn't find the address, so it just threw us to the town center...it had happened before. "It's not that big of town, we can find xxxx." I don't remember the club's actual name now. We drive all over the place...for like two hours covering every single street listed in Burnsville...at least once but most many times. There were no signs for this club, no places that even looked like a club. We checked maps, we checked phone books, we stopped and asked directions at several places. This club was no where to be found. After over two hours of looking, we decided to give up and head for home...disappointed.
I was still angry for several days and after much interwebicon searching, I found a random message in a forum board explaining that on Sunday nights the town hall actually turned into a small all ages club with live music. We drove past the town hall like 10 times, there were no signs or any indications that it became an all ages club on Sunday nights. I would have thought that there would be SOME kind of sign...there was nothing. I want to say that the club was called Masque or something like that. I think it should have at least had an asterisk or something stating that it took place in the town hall building. Something, anything stating that it was not an autonomous unit.
Now, because we missed a show wouldn't normally make this one of the worst shows. I've missed plenty of shows that I wish I had gone to, but I try not to dwell on that too much. What happened to cause this missed show to make the list is the fact that Secretly Drowning disbanded a week later. So missing our last chance to see an awesome band due to the fact that there wasn't a sign any where to be seen made this show (or lack there of) one of the top 10 disappointing concert experiences.
Still really enjoy Secretly Drowning and pull out their four song e.p. and give it a listen every once in a while...sad that while really good, the CD still doesn't compare to how good and energetic the couple shows that I saw. Sample for yourself, if you like late 90's early 2000's rock, I think you will enjoy.
Four songs and then nothing...it is really sad when this happens to a promising band. Secretly Drowning, I miss you guys. You rocked the camel's ass.
*These are off the top of my head, I am sure that I could go through my stubs and find more. I don't think I left out any major suck-fests though.