The Nine Worst Live Acts We've Ever Seen

Categories: Live Shots

5FDP0816.jpg
Photo by Jim Bricker
Five Finger Death Punch
Rocks Off is not going to lie. The prospect of getting into concerts for free is what leads many people to become music writers/reviewers in the first place. Though it's not true of everyone, we've generally found that with experience comes plenty of practice in the art of grading on a curve.

But not always. Buy enough bananas and once in a while you'll get one that's rotten. Some concerts just plain stink. Why not ten? We just couldn't stand the smell.


5 Finger Death Punch/Moody Blues
I could go so many ways with this one. I've been force-fed so much live music from bands I can't stand that I could easily write a book about it rather than just a few paragraphs. For the longest time, the worst show that I ever saw was a Moody Blues show in the late '90s. Just because of how bad they sounded, the majority of the crowd left pretty much right after "Knights in White Satin," which was only the third or fourth song of the set. That was a long time ago, and I've seen much worse since then, but that one always stood out as being terrible.

The most recent band that I can claim as worst live band ever is 5 Finger Death Punch. Their music was all over the place, jumping genres from rock to metal to rap/rock to acoustic douche-rock to frat-rock -- each attempt at a genre being worse than the last. Also, the front man was the epitome of horrible, the type of guy who would kick a dog. The type of guy that would drive through a puddle just so he could splash someone on the sidewalk. A guy who would flick a cigarette at your chest and walk away with a smile on his face giving you the middle finger. A guy not even his own mother likes.

What a terrible band. The only good part about 5FDP was that the bassist's beard looked just like Davy Jones' from those Pirates of the Caribbean movies, only his was made out of hair and not those weird tentacle things. JIM BRICKER


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Adema
I've seen a lot of terrible acts in my day, but once when I was in college I had the misfortune of sitting through nu-metal nobodies Adema. I know that sounds like a mean description, but considering the fact that they're little more than the answer to a trivia question ("Remember the band featured the singer from Korn's little (half-)brother?") at this point I don't feel too bad about it.

Here's the thing I remember about Adema: I fell asleep during their set. Straight up. Do you know how hard it is to fall asleep during an indoor concert while a band is playing? It's not easy. But they were so boring, so uninteresting that I just drifted off to slumberland.

Maybe those minutes I nodded off would have knocked my socks off, but I find that hard to believe. At least Disturbed brought out Dimebag and Vinnie to play "Walk" later that night. That was cool. CORY GARCIA


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Photo by Matthew Keever
Angels and Airwaves
I grew up on a steady diet of '90s and early-'00s pop punk, and blink-182 were the leaders of that pack. So when Angels and Airwaves were set to headline Bayou Music Center back in 2008 when it was still known as the Verizon Wireless Theater, I was excited for the prospect of seeing a musician I'd grown up with.

But no amount of love and respect that I had for blink-182 could salvage the disgust I felt when I saw Angels and Airwaves live. The band itself was just... bad. They were out of time with one another while Tom DeLonge's vocals were virtually nonexistent. Sure, every band has an off day, and I can forgive it if they're at least passionate.

But combine terrible playing with DeLonge talking shit to his fans because they were stuck in the seats, and they lost me. To all you musicians out there, don't be a dick like Tom DeLonge and rub salt in the wound of your loyal fans, who are paying more to be further away from you. ALYSSA DUPREE


List continues on the next page.


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59 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

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.

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.

Revidescent
Revidescent

I always found Default to be mediocre at best, like a higher tier quality Canadian Creed. But I've never seen them live, and you just made a lightbulb ding for me as to why a client of mine was none to reluctant to part with a signed shirt of theirs from a show.

H_e_x
H_e_x

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

Revidescent
Revidescent

That's disappointing. I like the Pickups too. Well thanks for the heads up, guess I'll stick to the records. Everclear is TERRIBLE live, I can confirm this. They don't even give a rat's ass on stage. It took half of some of the songs for the crowd to even recognize which track it was.

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

@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.'

Revidescent
Revidescent

@KyleRay @babychef42087 Maynard is VERY sociophobic and introverted. He used to wear a wig onstage in his APC tours to hide his face, like Samara from the Ring or something. He often uses face paint for the same reason. He really is like that.

Revidescent
Revidescent

@Anse Agreed, just saw them at Summerland. Everyone else was great, Everclear sucked. Art interrupted Soul Asylum to butcher "Misery"...even Dave kinda nudged him off the mic he was stinking up their song so bad lol. He introduced Eve 6 and turned it into a story about how he knew them in high school and what Art's musical legacy was when HE was in high school, no one cared. He made "Father of Mine" the singalong ditty..WTF?! Why would you pick the saddest song in your catalog for the crowd to sing along to?! He was absolutely insufferable and obtrusive and irritating.

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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