The Nine Worst Live Acts We've Ever Seen

Categories: Live Shots

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Citizen Cope
The worst show I've been to is, unfortunately, Citizen Cope, whom I actually like in theory. The problem with that concert was not that Citizen Cope's entire catalog runs together in concert (which it does, but that's besides the point), it was that a bunch of super-annoying audience members kept yelling "Sideways" in between make-out sessions, and it killed the vibe.

Citizen Cope's is not exactly the highest-energy music, and when you throw in a group of fools who, in their altered states, are screaming above the mellow vocals while falling over on you in the midst of their slobbering all over each other, well, it sucks. He'll get to the damn song, which is apparently the only one you know, and it'll be on his timeline, asshats.

I wouldn't know what that time line was, though, because I left. It was that obnoxious. ANGELICA LEICHT


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Photo by Anthony Joseph Baker
Pat Green
If memory serves, I first encountered Pat Green in the winter of 1997/8 at the now long-shuttered Fabulous Satellite Lounge. We had friends in town and they wanted to catch some live music. I had been reading about this Pat Green kid in the Waco newspapers that lay around my dad's house and I'd heard about him from my son. The Satellite was our regular weekend hang, and generally it could be relied on to put in top-shelf roots acts.

The first thing we noticed was the general youth in the audience. This was probably the youngest crowd I'd ever seen in the Satellite. Green and his fiddle-steel band were rocking out onstage. Or trying to rock out. Surrounding us were all these fratty-looking ballcap guys drinking Miller Lite by the barrel. They weren't even bothering to take their bottles back to the bar, just started dropping them in the floor. Classy.

Within a couple of songs, we grew very restless. Finally my out of town friends, not wanting to seem rude, asked, "Do you actually like this guy?"

Me: "No. This sucks. It really sucks."

"Yeah, this is pretty lame. Let's get out of here."

I've never seen Green again. And nothing he's done or recorded since is likely to change that, no matter how many Joe Ely covers he does. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH


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Whitney Houston
It's taboo to speak ill of the dead, so it's unfortunate that the performer at center stage of the worst concert I've ever attended was Whitney Houston. I was a fan when I went into the show, but was less of one coming out. That's never occurred before or since, so it must meet some weird "worst concert ever" criteria.

Her biggest sin was her insistence on singing every song with prolonged, exaggerated melisma. That stuff is a little like garlic; okay when it's measured out correctly. Every line in every song is too much. Also, we'd come to hear the pop hits we'd heard on the radio ans she rearranged at least two or three to be nearly unrecognizable. Why? It made no sense. She couldn't dance and had no real stage presence. And, as everyone knows, the girl sweated like Patrick Ewing during overtime.

I'll put it this way -- if your opening act is Kenny G and he blows you away, you had an off night. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.


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55 comments
ducttaperoses
ducttaperoses

The Everly Brothers, at that concert the oldies station put on at the Summit 20-odd years ago.  Everyone else was great: B.J. Thomas, Little Anthony and the Imperials, the Grass Roots.  We had nosebleed seats (my mom took me.  I was in middle school.  With retiree musical tastes) and the sound was bouncing off the ceiling but they still sounded good.


The Everlys were supposed to be the big act.  They didn't sing anything in harmony, all the songs were modernized with noisy rock backup music.  The audience started leaving in droves.  There should have been an encore but almost everyone had left their seats and was headed for the exits at that point.

Dave Morris
Dave Morris

Yellowcard, Warped Tour 2003 or 2004.

dermgerm
dermgerm topcommenter

That crowd at Citizen Cope was definitely the WORST. Goo Goo Dolls sucked, but that concert was just stupid live. 

What a disappointment that Whitney Houston and Mos Def were disappointments! 

Greg Liestman
Greg Liestman

This might be a bad thing to say, and possibily too soon given the fact he passed away recently, but my worst concert was without a doubt the late, great George Jones. This was at House of Blues in Chicago in probably 1998. His voice was already almost shot, when introducing the band he forgot the names of some of the band members, and he was clearly was not of a clear mind, I presume because of alcohol. The guy is a legend, I love his stuff, but it was a truly horrible performance. I never went to see him again.

Capn
Capn

Dashboard Confessional opening for Beck at Roy Wilkins (Saint Paul) made me want to drill out my ear canals. That whiny voice in an echo-y, cinder-block hockey rink was the worst! Citizen Cope with a Walkman as his back-up band was pretty horrific too. Oh, and Low at Rock the Garden (Minneapolis outdoor festival)? It was like listening to bees... for like a while.

Jack Curtin
Jack Curtin

Joe Strummer (San Diego): He never showed.

Casey Buhrer
Casey Buhrer

Default opening for Bush...guh they got booed off. They were so bad.

Joshua Justice
Joshua Justice

Wait you went to crossfade, evanescence aaf and creed shows off your own free will? FUCKING WHY?

H Newcomb
H Newcomb

Joan Jett, at the Rock Corral (just renamed from the Agora Ballroom in Windsor Plaza), about 1981. Show was advertised as starting at 8 pm. 10 pm came, no band, no word from the venue folks. Asked bartender, asked DJ, no one knew what was going on, so I gave up and left at 10:10. Read in the paper review a day or so later she came out about 10:25, played four or five tunes and left.

Kevin Aguilar
Kevin Aguilar

Silversun Pickups opening for Muse back in 2010. Also Everclear last month wasn't very good.

babychef42087
babychef42087

The worst concert I have ever been to was Tool at the Toyota Center. The sound was muddled, none of the band members seemed to want to be there and I fell asleep! I actually fell asleep at a Tool show because it was so damn boring. Second in line would have to be Kings of Leon, but on the plus side, I discovered the White Lies at that same show. They are one of the best bands I've ever seen live.


Richard Cerda
Richard Cerda

Widespread Panic, Austin at the Backyard. Mikey was pulled due to health, George McConnel sat in. It was bad then, and for a year afterwards.

Ted Dimitry
Ted Dimitry

Watching The Cult open for Metallica @ the Summit back in '88 or '89. Ian Whatshisface was so drunk on stage that he kept forgetting the words to his own songs.... Metallica made up for it though.

Laurie Curtis
Laurie Curtis

I saw Senses Fail on three different occasions back in high school and Buddy's vocals were just terrible every time.

Robert Robertson
Robert Robertson

the foo fighters when they were opening for rhcp several years ago. dave ghrol owes me 25 bux.

Scarlette Lopez
Scarlette Lopez

I've only ever seen really good ones. My only bone to pick was when I saw Taking Back Sunday in 2009 and they played a short set. I was out of the show at like 9:30.

Tish Squish
Tish Squish

An Everclear & Filter show at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, in the late 90s. It's the only concert I've ever left.

Rudy Martinez
Rudy Martinez

Linkin Park in 2011 :( - Creed in 2011 :( - Alien Ant Farm & Fuel a few nights ago :( - Crossfade in 2010 :( - Evanescense :(

Chuck Norfolk
Chuck Norfolk

Soundgarden lollapalooza '92 followed closely by Guns n Roses Astrodome 1992.

Lisa McKenzie Savage
Lisa McKenzie Savage

Van Morrison. No one will ever be as awful in concert as him and therefore suck the love right out of the beautiful songs he sings.

Michael Bilbrey
Michael Bilbrey

Robert Palmer at Astroworld back in the 80's. It was bad and he just wasn't into it.

Michelle Michon
Michelle Michon

Whitney Houston? Seriously? It's not like you can buy another concert ticket to see her.....

basshole
basshole

Hands down the worst touring band I have ever seen was Falling In Reverse opening for Chevelle at Verizon a couple years ago. The worst prancing bitchy frontman, the cheesy choreographed hair-flinging, the preponderance of backing tracks, and the utterly shitty music. It was laughable and pathetic. I think he threw his mike into the crowd and spit at the end of their set.

unclelijah
unclelijah

@ducttaperoses I was there and that is not how I remember it at all. The band was stellar and the Everly's harmonies, while down a few steps were amazing.

H_e_x
H_e_x

@Carol Jobe Now that's a damn shame. What show was it?

babychef42087
babychef42087

@Kevin Aguilar I saw the Silversun Pickup show too, it was really bad. No one was even paying attention to them.

KyleRay
KyleRay

@babychef42087 I remember that show. I've never really listened to Tool's music, and I was just confused that the singer never showed himself for the entire show, sitting back behind the drummer the entire time.

KyleRay
KyleRay

@babychef42087 I remember that show. I've never really heard any of Tool's stuff, but I was just confused that the lead singer decided to never show himself the entire show, sitting back behind the drummer the entire time.

Capn
Capn

@Robert Robertson But you still got to see RCHP for that $25!

Anse
Anse

@Tish Squish I had the unfortunate experience of seeing Everclear at a festival in Austin probably around the same time. I never liked that band, but that lead singer was a major tool.

dermgerm
dermgerm topcommenter

@Tish Squish That stinks. I saw Everclear a few years ago and they were awesome. I did hear mixed reviews about them and Filter this year.

Capn
Capn

@Rudy Martinez Why are you going to these shows?! Terrible 'music.'

Capn
Capn

@Stephen Conley Why? Why?

ducttaperoses
ducttaperoses

@unclelijah @ducttaperoses Even my mother and the people around us were commenting on how bad they sounded and how people were walking out.  I don't know what to tell you.  Maybe it was a sound issue because we were up high?  Everyone in our section cleared out.

babychef42087
babychef42087

@WhatItIz @babychef42087 I can understand that. When you are a huge fan you sometimes just want to hear the music. When I saw White Lies at Fitz's in 2011 they just played, there were no fancy light shows or anything like that and it was really good. Now the opening act for that show was Asobi Seksu. They were terrible, LOL

WhatItIz
WhatItIz

@babychef42087 Tool! I liked that they just played. Sometimes you just want to hear the music.

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