Bad session experience stories?

Bad session experience stories?

I’m posting this out of curiosity, what bad session experiences have people had (banjo too loud, or, just, anything you guys can think of). Thanks

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No, it’s always an absolute barrel of sunshine - I’ve only been to perfect sessions. Can’t imagine anyone else could have ever been to a lousy session, sessions are always great.

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Well then, can you buy me a plain ticket so I can come live with you? I’ll bring my mandolin.

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Everything from banjos too loud, spoons far too loud, been threatened with violence, seen violence, arguing with eejits, suffering crap out of key singers, people sitting next to the session not talking but shouting to be heard above the noise of the session, pint being nicked, accordion bellows seizing up, not been paid for an arranged paid session, head joint of flute splitting…..enough for starters?

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We have a bodhrán player who likes to tap bottles and shake eggs and be generally surly. also a fiddle player who isn’t interested in how the music sounds, but rather how much her performance is impressing everyone. She plays ok, but it isn’t really trad.

I was recently at a session where there were 5 pipers, but they were all top notch so that actually blew me away. I like pipes anyway. I play concertina so you couldn’t hear me at all. :)

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…. five pipers? wow, that’s insane.

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I once played at a session where everyone was in tune!?! How annoying is that!

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I saw a man play the Bluebell Polka on a box to attempt to hide a universally understood horrible session experience: inappropriate shouty people…

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The doorman was handing out shaky eggs on the way in.

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"I was recently at a session where there were 5 pipers, but they were all top notch so that actually blew me away."

# Posted by fearfeasog

You need at least that many to accompany the ten lords a-leaping and nine ladies dancing.

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I used to play a banjo that was too quiet. Quite upsetting. I’ve since picked up a real Blast-O-Matic so suck it, rowdy audiences!

Once my pipes, a piano accordion, a banjo, and various fiddles/whistles were drowned out by an amplified harpist, that was quite a feat. All you could hear to save your life was PLUNK PLUNK PLUNK.

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Aye!

Don’t wanna talk about it.

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lol

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A PA player sat in who didn’t know a single Irish tune, but insisted on ‘accompanying’ us with right hand noodling, and left hand chord patterns all night long, in the style of a German polka band. It made my head hurt. I told the session leader that if he didn’t put a stop to it, I would go elsewhere. Fortunately, I think he realized that there was a problem, and never brought his PA back to the session.

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I haven’t had any bad session experiences, but I’ve embarrassed myself a few times.

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Sight reader, and pulling out obscure tunes from books, many many piles of books.

Also there is a guy that goes to the Milwaukee Irish Fest session with a shakey egg and a rain stick and I think various other percussion instruments. He doesn’t play in time, which is aggravating. So I will bring my own shakey egg next year.

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The singing guitarist who we politely tolerated. He must have told his mates, because the following month we had five singing strummers wanting to turn the session into a song-circle.

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What in the world is a "rain stick"?

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One of these:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rainstick_01.png
a hollow stick filled with rice or seeds (I think) so when you turn it upside down all the seeds roll down to the bottom end making a noise like rain. Can be found in those hippy ethnic shops that sell out of tune wooden whistles from Peru and so on, and have a smell of incense burning.
I’m not sure if they are as difficult to play as the fiddle or the pipes….

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That one where we had to buy our own drinks was bad but worse the one where I had to stay sober because I was driving!

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Decades ago I was at a music camp and there was a particular whistle player who had a real instinct for finding wherever the top Irish players were holed up (to get away from people like him, and me).

When these great players were blasting away on their obscure cool tunes that whistle player would noodle along. He really didn’t know the tunes but that never stopped him, he played all through every tune no matter.

After camp I went back to listen to the tape I’d made of some of those great sessions and all I could hear was the noodling whistle! The fiddles were somehow reduced to indecipherable background noise.

Maybe those top players had arranged for the whistle guy to be ever-present, so that nobody could learn their tunes!

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my worst experience has been to watch a session slowly decline over the years

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Richard, I think we met that guy, or one of his many clones. We were at a rather good session in Cleary’s kitchen during Willie Week, hiding in the back, mostly listening and playing on the odd tune we knew. Near us was a whistle player noodling along with everything. Serious players were moving so they didn’t have to be next to him. When we decided to leave the session, Mr. Spear did the public service no one else had been willing to do and tactfully explained to the guy how you really needed to know the tunes.

He said, "I thought I’d got about 60% of it right."

Uh, no.

"50%?"

No.

"40%?"

No.

Then, somewhere during this conversation, he expressed amazement that not only was he not getting 40% of the notes right, they had been playing different tunes. All afternoon. Not repeating any of them.

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Do you think. he might’ have been from the younger/teenage’ generation, ie’ not very musical’ or tone deaf ’ and hadn’t a clue.?

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My worst experience happened just two days ago, a lovely Irish pub in SF, my first visit. The proprietor allows dogs inside, there were two of them, big ones. One didn’t like the fellow I drove with, but was called away and caused no further problem. Hours later the other one is making plain his need to go outside, I do notice but say nothing as the dog wanders back in, probably trying to get his master’s attention, I returned my attention to the music and thought no more of it until the overpowering odor overtook us. Yikes, in all my years of dog ownership, that dog was amazing.

But did it interrupt the session…those not playing the tune got up and went outside, the rest of us carried on, When the roach & termite killing aroma finally reached the pool table the alarm was raised and the drunken owner did get a roll of paper towels and attempted to smear the joy across the floor. Someone came in and stepped in a bit of smear, carrying it throughout the pub.

Finally another batch of towels and bleach was obtained by a musician and he proceed the properly clean the floor, but I’m not so sure the overpowering smell of bleach was any better than the problem it attempted to cure, however, my cold is much better today!

Great session though, save the one incident. Should I tell you about the woman pool player…ummm probably not, this isn’t that kind of forum….

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Having the session host scream at you out of the blue for some peccadillo

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A spectator with hands above head advancing through the group clapping out of time and shouting "Hoy!" or some such out of time with both the session and their own clapping can cause considerable chaos. It’s amazing how often it happens - and they’re so hurt if you complain!

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they’re really hurt if you complain? what? bah:(

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"Do you think. he might’ have been from the younger/teenage’ generation, ie’ not very musical’ or tone deaf ’ and hadn’t a clue.?"

He was under the age of 40, so that was clearly his problem.

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9.9 out of 10 times when I visit a new session on my travels it all goes swimmingly but you do get the odd one where you feel like you’re interrupting a private meeting between classmates.

I’ve never seen one of these rains sticks at a session. Would it be too appropriate to suggest it should go where the sun don’t shine?

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Hope you’ve never felt like the 0.1 out 10 at the Blythe, Bren. But yes, I have had a similar experience very very occasionally, in fact only twice I can recall. Strangely enough, once was with a group of the very best players you could possibly think of, so they might be forgiven for "maintaining standards", but the other time was with a bunch of absolute hacks! No names or places mentioned.

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"What in the world is a "rain stick"?"

@fiddlelearner: The proper article is actually a section of cactus stem, dried out, with the spines pushed in, so that they protrude into the hollow centre. Then some kind of beads or seeds are put inside and the ends plugged. When the stick is inverted, the contents tumble down, brushing past the spines as they go and creating a sublime sound, similar to a rainstorm - and nothing to do with Irish music. The sound of falling rain is a common enough accompaniment to Irish music, without employing an instrument to make it.

Danny: "I’m not sure if they are as difficult to play as the fiddle or the pipes…"

They are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to play Irish Traditional Music on (a bit like the fiddle or the pipes).

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Playing at a nice open session, I was new at the place but the people there were quite nice and accommodating. I certainly wasn’t the best musician there, but I could keep up and they asked me to lead a set or two. After the session had been going a while, a couple of guys sat down, apparently they were supposed to keep the session running into the night as the session leader had to leave. They proceeded to make their own little corner and play obscure/extremely fast tunes, pretty much ignoring everyone else there except for themselves. They would also kind of look at you funny if you actually knew a tune and decided to join in. I wouldn’t have minded if I had just come in and saw them playing, but the fact that everyone was having a great time and they came in like they owned the place (and, for the record, they did not) made me mind quite a bit. I’ve been back to sessions in the same pub, and have had nothing but a good time besides that night, so hopefully it’s a one-off.

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"They proceeded to make their own little corner and play obscure/extremely fast tunes, pretty much ignoring everyone else there except for themselves. They would also kind of look at you funny if you actually knew a tune and decided to join in."

Once there was a snooty fiddler who had this attitude like "of course you wouldn’t know that tune… only really cool people know that tune, and I’m really cool and you’re not." When somebody did know one of his pet tunes it upset his little belief system. Also, if you played a tune he didn’t know, he had the attitude of "well I’m too cool to know a tune like that…"

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New bodhran player off in a far corner away from musicians but still playing way off beat and too loud. The cook finally couldn’t take it, came out of the kitchen, bought the perpetrator a beer on the condition he quit. Our next jig set naturally included "The Cook in the Kitchen".