Bands playing a show in a weird place can be either a novelty or simply because they have nowhere else to go. But picking an unusual spot to perform can have many pros and cons. Sometimes the band face extravagant charges, and sometimes they just get a lot of free publicity. But every time a show is played at weird venues, it makes for a historic performance.
Check out some of the weirdest places bands have played down below.
1. Wacko at Denny’s
Hardcore shows have a tendency to be more chaotic than other genres, so there’s really only one way a show at a Denny’s could have ended. The story of this Wacko show went viral over the absolute mess of a scene that happened while the band played, resulting in damages running up to $1,000 that a teenager had to crowdfund to pay back (and did with the help of Green Day). The restaurant management claims they had no idea a show was being played, but it’s hard to believe they thought something else was happening when a bunch of people started loading in music equipment.
2. Rarity in a parking lot
Hamilton’s Rarity gave a proper ode to their hometown on their latest release, The Longest Lonesome, and it all came full circle for the celebratory show in a parking lot. The band paid for a single billboard. Without the ability to promote the show due to not getting any permits, they let word of mouth take over. They got a huge crowd to show up for the truly one-of-a-kind show.
3. Wormrot on a farm with the Grind Goat
Singapore grindcore act Wormrot have played some strange locations before, including a show inside of a cave. But their most outrageous is easily when they played on a farm in France to a grindcore-loving goat named Biquette. The farm apparently hosted a few shows over the years, and the owner particularly noted that Biquette, who is now sadly deceased, was a huge fan of grindcore shows.
4. Foo Fighters at a pizza shop
Foo Fighters have played plenty of surprise gigs, but in 2013 they opted for a pizza shop as the spot to lay down a massive set. The 200-person capacity room was treated to a career-spanning setlist shortly after they made a live comeback for a huge gig in Mexico, showing the band are capable of tearing it up at gigs of any size.
5. Korn on an airplane
Airplanes are usually just a cramped, stuffy vehicle to bring you to a better location, but Korn managed to turn it into one of the weirdest spots to play a show. They performed songs for MTV contest winners and a handful of U.S. soldiers, with the members using battery-powered amps and the airplane’s PA system for Jonathan Davis’ vocals.
6. Fucked Up in an abandoned subway station
Throughout Fucked Up’s history, it’s almost been more rare for them to play a standard venue than one of the many odd locations they’ve picked. From bathrooms to a storefront window, the band have hit some strange spots, but their oddest is easily playing in Toronto’s haunted and abandoned Lower Bay subway station.
7. Strange Magic in a U-Haul truck
Detroit punks Strange Magic pulled off a ridiculous guerrilla-styled gig in their hometown’s Eastern Market. They loaded their gear into a U-Haul truck, propped the door open and started playing. The band didn’t have a show scheduled at the time but still wanted to perform in front of people. Instead of waiting to make something happen, they forced their music on the public.
8. Rage Against The Machine on Wall Street
Easily one of the most significant performances in rock history, Rage Against The Machine’s gig on Wall Street managed to shut down the New York Stock Exchange. The performance was originally set as a shoot for their Michael Moore-directed “Sleep Now In The Fire” music video. The band were instructed to keep playing no matter what happened, with the crowd quickly storming the building and forcing the riot doors to drop.
9. Unfathomable Ruination play in a steel box
Art can often present an idea that’s interesting even if the meaning isn’t entirely clear. Cue death-metal band Unfathomable Ruination who pulled off a highly publicized take on this by performing inside a steel box until they ran out of oxygen. The soundproof, airtight box was open for the time the band entered and exited only. Despite doctors recommending not performing the experiment due to the possibility of death, they went ahead, with onlookers simply seeing a giant steel box vibrating to the noise going on inside.
10. FIDLAR on a skateboard ramp in an apartment
DIY venues are a gold mine for rowdy shows, and Toronto’s now-closed Soybomb was one of the best. Nestled in a punk apartment above a bike shop, the venue brought everyone from FIDLAR to Full Of Hell. Bands played on the skateboard ramp in their living room surrounded by chain-link fences across the walls, bikes hanging from the ceiling and a whole host of other unique decorations scattered throughout. With the majority of shows bringing together hundreds of people, Soybomb was the definition of a punk house.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve seen a show? Let us know in the comments below.