The Nine Worst Live Acts We've Ever Seen
|Photo by Larami Culbertson|
I'm not the biggest fan of Mos Def/Yasiin Bey to begin with, but I am a massive fan of the Black Star album he did with Talib Kweli. That's the main reason I went to see him at House of Blues back in 2009. That was a huge mistake. I paid to see Mos Def the rapper, but what he really felt like we wanted was to hear him doing bad karaoke of old soul songs he could barely remember the lyrics to and playing the fucking drums.
For an interminable length of time, Mos got behind a kit and played the most boring drum solos you've ever heard. He even had another guy come out and duel with him! I did not sign up for that, and I left after the almost two hour show in astonishment at the self-indulgence. I'll stick to the Black Star record, thanks. COREY DEITERMAN
Photo by Marco Torres
A lot of variables could contribute to a concert being a "bad show": the sound quality, the actual sound of the artist(s), the talent level, the music itself, whether or not the music is genuine, the commitment to the performance by the artist, the crowd's interest or participation, the flow of the concert, the overall entertainment level. I have taken the time to list off of these factors to illustrate the fact that every single one of them contributed to Kitty Pryde's 2013 Free Press Summer Fest "performance," establishing it as the worst live show I have ever seen.
Pryde's show, in a word, was WACK. Wack as hell.
The sound was bad, her rhymes weren't particularly creative or clever, the music was boring (she devolved into doing other people's rhymes 15 minutes into the show), the crowd could have cared less, the concert was choppy as all getout and made absolutely no sense, and the show was not at all entertaining.
I came to see this new female rap ingenue due to many a write-up I had read throughout the spring. What I witnessed was not the new face of female hip-hop, but a girl who seemed wholeheartedly disingenous.
The worst part about the performance, far worse than me and the audience not believing in what Pryde was doing, was the fact that she truly appeared to not believe in herself, either. She apologized multiple times to the crowd for not being a "real" rapper, screwed up several songs, and overall seemed like she was uncomfortable performing. She made me feel very uncomfortable too. SELENA DIERINGER
Billy Bob Thornton & Friends
Photo by Craig Hlavaty Billy Gibbons and Billy Bob Thornton, at a much better show
The worst live act I ever saw was at Willie Nelson's Fourth of July picnic in 2003. It was Billy Bob Thornton's band. Not the Boxmasters, they're actually pretty good, but the one he was in before that. I think it might have just been called The Billy Bob Thornton Band.
First, it was the lame, toothless hybrid rock/blues/country sound that so many white Hollywood stars of that age seem to go in for - Bruce Willis and Kevin Bacon being just two further examples. Second, Billy Bob was off his game, and his vocals were terrible: he was off-pitch and slow to the beat at least half of the time, and you could tell no matter how many backup singers he tried to bury himself in.
Finally, they closed their set with just about the most godawful melodramatic "ballad" I've ever heard, about his daughter and his addictions or some shit, and you could tell they wanted it to be this big powerful moment but it all just fell flat. Billy Bob's singing, the song's anticlimactic arrangement, the sheer inappropriateness of even attempting it at an easygoing outdoor festival at four in the afternoon, everything about it was dreadful.
I was embarrassed on behalf of the poor guy, who didn't seem to realize in that moment he was actually in Dwight Yoakam's hilariously incompetent band from Sling Blade. JOHN SEABORN GRAY
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