The Nine Worst Live Acts We've Ever Seen

Categories: Live Shots

MosDef-Larami-0816.jpg
Photo by Larami Culbertson
Mos Def
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


Pryde_MT-0816.jpg
Photo by Marco Torres
Kitty Pryde
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


Billys0816.jpg
Photo by Craig Hlavaty
Billy Gibbons and Billy Bob Thornton, at a much better show
Billy Bob Thornton & Friends
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


ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS

Houston's Top 10 Hipster Bars, Clubs & Icehouses
The Five Most Insane Bands to See Live Right Now
The 10 Lamest Bands of the '90s
The 10 Worst Rock Singers of the '90s



Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
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.

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...