[Update, 2 p.m. Thursday, June 25: The band emailed me their side of the story.]
A slightly bizarre scene played itself out at the Firebird tonight, where Thunderkid, Crocodiles and Spelling Bee were set to play a show. Thunderkid opened, and a crowd of 30 or so people had gathered by the time California's Crocodiles were set to perform. For those unfamiliar, the band's a duo, and its beats are pre-programmed. And so a bit after 10:30 p.m., the pair slapped on sunglasses, the backing tracks started, and all systems seemed a go.
Just as quickly, Crocodiles stopped and said that apparently it would have to play acoustic tonight. In fact, the duo seemed really upset at the sound. I heard them say that it sounded "like a boombox" (exactly what that meant was unclear) while RFT writer/pal Todd McKenzie reported hearing them upset about "Fisher Price shit" sound. The Firebird's sound guy (who I didn't know off-hand) went up onstage and tried to fix things, but to no avail. After a short amount of time, the band moved its stuff offstage, and didn't play.
Frankly, none of us in the crowd really knew what was going on -- were the band's tracks not loud enough? Were these tracks muffled onstage? Was something malfunctioning with the band's equipment, or the venue's sound equipment? To its credit, the band said that they didn't have to get paid, and they seemed more frustrated than prima donna; they were apologizing to the crowd while this was going down. And to its credit, the club offered money back to people who wanted it. In fact, the entire thing was more shocking than anything -- I've never really seen anything like this happen before at a show.
I've put in emails to both sides to get some more details. Check back tomorrow.
[Edit, midnight: The Firebird just tweeted this: "We tried to convince Crocodiles to play, even though they were upset. If you left without a refund, please DM us and we'll take care of you." Club also tells me that "If people in attendance email the club, we'd be happy to refund their admission or trade them for guest list at a future show." FB website here.]
[Edit, 10:20 a.m., 6/25: Mike Cracchiolo from the Firebird weighs in below. KDHX's blog also has a post from someone there, with more observations (apparently, band and crowd couldn't hear the drum machine). I sent an email to the band's account, and forwarding that to the label.]