BROOKLYN — The show must go on — even if your instruments just got swiped.
An up-and-coming band from Nashville recently played a sold-out show at Webster Hall hours after their keyboards, guitars and half a drum kit were boosted from their tour van.
Wild Cub, a five-piece group that the Wall Street Journal dubbed "an act to watch," was prepping for an April 30 show at the Studio at Webster Hall in the East Village when members discovered their van had been broken into on Dean Street near Carlton Avenue in Prospect Heights, according to a police report.
The thief or thieves took off with almost all of the gear Wild Cub was planning to use that night on stage, including four guitars and two keyboards, said member Jeremy Bullock.
But some Good Samaritans stepped up to help soften the blow of the lost instruments. Employees at a nearby business spotted some of the band's drums in the street, stashed them inside for safekeeping, and left a helpful note for the band on the van that Wild Cub promptly posted on Instagram.
The theft left Wild Cub running around New York borrowing instruments from musician pals, and taking the stage just hours later with the unfamiliar equipment was "nerve-racking," Bullock explained. The audience gasped when band members broke the news of the theft early in the show, but by the third or fourth song, the shock was replaced with cheers and encouragement.
The Webster Hall performance came just a few days after Wild Cub played a sold-out show at Mercury Lounge on the Lower East Side, and Bullock said the band's warm reception in New York helped take the sting out of the theft.
"Playing two shows in full rooms, we couldn’t ask for anything more," Bullock said. "Our gear is all replaceable, but to have that kind of welcome in a city we love so much is really cool."
The April 28 theft marked the second time Wild Cub has had its instruments go missing during a stop in New York. In August 2012, when the band was on its way to its CD release party at Pianos on the LES, the musicians' van was nowhere to be found. They played the show thinking all their gear had been stolen, but the vehicle turned up later in the impound lot, Bullock said.
Despite the track record of setbacks in the Big Apple, the band posted a cheery note on Twitter as it headed back to Nashville: "Thank you New York. You gave us two sold out shows in one week, we gave you half our equipment. We will be back in June. Announcement soon!"
Wild Cub will play next month at Glasslands Gallery in Williamsburg, and the band is now getting ready for a music festival in Alabama.
"Our down time is being spent learning new gear," Bullock said.