Pretty late to this party, but my take is a little different. Sometimes shows that go bad are hilarious and memorable.
For example, I saw a show headlining Sloan in Vancouver at the commodore ballroom. Good venue for bands. Two opening bands in front of them that were unknowns. I didnt go into this show with big expectations which probably helped alot.
Its a week night which means the crowd is not drunk enough perhaps to be in real party mode which may be factor for what happens as the night unfolds.
Opening band comes out and they are BAD. This was their first real gig I suspect which consisted of one frumpy looking female lead singer, nerdy little guy on keyboard bass (?) and probably his best friend on guitar, and drum machine behind them. I dont know where Sloan found them(perhaps house party?) but it must have been on a whim to let them play. They may have done well in front of close friends at house parties - but at the commodore??
Anyway, I am watching in the back and you can see before the first song is even over there is some "interaction" going on between the band and people near the front. There is some cryptic comments from the band after the song about "well wishers" up front which made me laugh out loud. I am already thinking I cant wait to see what is going to happen here.
Before the second is over, I can detect a little booing over the band while they are playing. Song ends and the band is clearly looking like they want to crawl under a rock as the crowd has really turned nasty on them.
They then announce they will play one more song and leave which gets a hilarious reaction of cheers and boos. Boos are really loud for the last half of the song (the crowd hostility is palpable), and the moment the song ends, the leader singer apologizes to the crowd (who do not give a shit) and the band runs off the stage and the lights go out, and house music starts in a heartbeat. Its the closest thing I have ever seen to the proverbial hook coming out to yank you off stage. I really felt bad for them at that moment because I imagined it might be years (or never) before they would have the nerve to try that again.
But there's more! Next band is an all girl band who were not at all bad. Actually, pretty good musicians, tight performance and the girls were kinda hot. You could tell they had done some touring - probably had a small fan base already. Songs were not bad per se, but maybe a little forgettable to my ears. Well, the crowd is not into it. They are not booing but it seems like they are pretty indifferent and there is still a lingering bad taste from the first band. Scant applause if any after songs. Mostly ignoring them as near as I can tell.
The train wreck of a show continues for the next 40 minutes, and by half way through the set I am noticing the expressions on the faces of the girls on stage. They just look pissed off, and its making me laugh all the way through. Then comes the priceless part. Towards the end of the set, the lead singer give a brief intro of the band members, but singles out the base player for a special "thanks". She tells the audience how their regular base player had to leave the tour early, and this girl was good enough to come help them out. Now, you had to be there, but there was no doubt in my mind that the import of this little speech was to imply that the bass player wasnt really as good as their regular one. The singer was in fact throwing this girl under the bus an excuse for why the show was not going as well as it should. I had never seen anything like this before at a show of this size. I was killing myself laughing at the two-faced, back stabbing comments posing as "thanks". I will never forget it.
Last song ends, and singer says thankyougoodnight as one word with a sneer and the band stomps off the stage to almost no response. This is better than stand up comedy to me.
Finally, Sloan comes on and the crowd gets into it a bit and the set is just ok but so forgettable for me personally. I cant remember a single moment of their set. I left thinking I would have preferred another nobody trainwreck at the end just for the pre-riot tension that had been there before.
So, to all you people at bad shows who were so disappointed and/or angry - maybe you could still get your money's worth if you have the right attitude about what can be entertaining when things go really bad.