More than anything else, except perhaps their music, Abney Park is famous for their onstage screw-ups. In fact, it is generally considered an undeniable truth of steampunk
venues that something will break down, give out, fall apart, distort, backfire, ignite, explode, or generally mess things up during the Abney Park set.
- From their G4 special: "Is that on fire? I'm not wearing that if it's on fire... It's smoking, that means it's on fire."
- "PARKING METER!" "SPANDEX!!!"
- At one concert, Captain Robert's microphone handle snapped — in the middle of "Aether Shanties," right on the cue of "The ropes creaking, ship's leaking, sails are on fire / And this whole bloody ship could go up like a pyre". And, well...
"We're giving a steampunk concert. And no one has a screwdriver?"
- At a convention where some badge ribbons had been given out (one of them said Accordion Hero) the Captain's accordion strap broke.
"Room full of steampunks and nobody has duct tape? Now is not a great time for the 'Accordion Hero' award."
- Their remedy to a classic onstage mishap: When the lead singer screws up, blame the bass player.
Robert: Here's another point about my life: Nathan's a really nice guy. He's not always right — but he's always really effin' nice.
- At DragonCon 2009 they attempted to play the classic flying-car song: "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." After two false starts, they stumble through it, ending more or less on their feet, until their violinist goes up to a microphone and says: "What could we possibly play after that?!
- There was also the mid-song banter between Captain Robert and Jody:
Robert: "We've only practiced this song once."
: "That's one more time than we practiced the rest of the songs."
- And who can forget the "Airship Pirate" fiasco — the night Captain Robert forgot the lyrics to their most famous song: "Airship Pirate."
- "Those of you who saw the epic hungover "Rainbow Connection" performance, treasure it, 'cause it'll never happen again."
- At one concert, Robert related the story of one time when he accidentally hit himself in the head with his drum mid-song during rehearsal. Cue Nathaniel playing sappy music on his violin to accompany Robert's tale of woe.
Robert: Are they buying it?
Nathaniel: *(pauses, then starts playing "The Irish Washerwoman")*
Finn: I'm sorry, not tonight.