First, welcome Johnny Rockets!
This is a little story from my time as a hobby-musician (there will be more). We were never famous, we never got anywhere, the good line-ups only lasted for a couple of months. But we did get some gigs! But only at the sleazier places where you drank your beer from bottles because the beer you got in a glass looked like something else. The sleaziest place had chicken wire at the front of the stage (yes, just as in the Blues Brothers movie), but we never played there. We played at the third sleaziest (second sleaziest was a stripclub that couldn't decide if they wanted live music or not).
This time it was a bit crowded, not very common when we were playing, and the owner was clearly nervous. We soon found out why! Part of the crowd was policemen, but it was the other part that go him (and us and the police) nervous. They were from a motorcyclegang. This a gang was a little special! You didn't have to have a motorcycle to be a member, but you had to have murdered someone! So the crowd was policemen on active duty and murderers! No wonder he was nervous! Since the crowd knew a band were going to play we couldn't back out.
The police wouldn't let us enter the stage until they thought it safe. That took 2 HOURS! The gang was having a good time and noone wondered why the band took so long before they started to play. We had a pretty nervous time and talked about if we should avoid some songs, but we came to the conclusion that we'd better played what we knew and as much as possible of that.
We entered the stage and started to play and PHEW, they liked it!
At the break one gang-member (not big, but mean-looking) walked up to us and asked if we did requests. The guitarplayer and I looked at each other and said:
-Maybe, what do you want us to play?
-Do you know Born To Be Wild?
The guitarplayer and I looked at each other again. Sure, we knew it, we had heard it. But neither of us had played it for a number of years and not together. We knew that our singer didn't know the words and our drummer could be a little over-enthusiastic. So we looked at each other a third time and said almost in unison:
-Sorry! That song needs a Hammond B3 (an organ) to do it justice and we don't have one.
He looked quiet at us. It can't have been for long, but it felt pretty long. Then he said:
You are allright, guys! And you are right! That song needs a Hammond! Then he went back to his friends.
That was one scary moment. The next time we played we had our ordinary crowd (= the singer's sister and his girlfriend plus a couple of the usual alcoholics). :-D
A little picture of us at the place. I've covered the faces of the other fellas!
Live we played a lot of covers. None of us knew which covers you should play so we played songs we liked which wasn't very good strategy. A little Stevie Ray Vaughan, early Fleetwood Mac, early Status Quo, a lot of blues, some Deep Purple, some Canned Heat and sometimes a rocky version of Amazing Grace. We recorded a lot though. But almost only our own songs. Some of them are on our MySpace-page.
Next time I will probably get back to the smaller hobby. :-D