LOUDEST GIGS EVER? ♫ ♪

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LOUDEST GIGS EVER? ♫ ♪

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So it emerged recently that musician Colm Ó Cíosóig (of My Bloody Valentine fame), has made a point in an open letter to give the verdict that live performances aren’t loud enough anymore. The news has been circulating on the web recently, and people have mixed opinions on it.

 

My Bloody Valentine have a reputation as one of the loudest live bands in the world, so it’s not surprising to (pardon the pun) hear this. In the past, fans who’ve been to the Shoegaze pioneer’s live shows have reported everything from perforated eardrums, to vomiting, to extreme migraines.

 

So, here’s the question. What’s the most raucous, demonstrably, deafeningly loud gig you’ve ever attended? How did it feel? What track stood out in the set? Here’s two that scarred me for life, and would totally go again…

 

LIGHTNING BOLT

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November 2015. I was in Prestatyn, in rainy North Wales, for ATP Festival. Lightning Bolt’s gargantuan noise was totally deafening in the old turbine hall, and the strobes were making the two-piece look like an animation in a horror film. As soon as they played this track, it hit us all like a ton of bricks. There was a woman with a pram at the very back, and the baby had these huge ear defenders on. The baby looked pretty happy, to be honest. Who knew toddlers were into heavy electronic noise rock?

 

GIRL BAND


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August 2015. Ireland’s noisiest avant post-punk quartet were playing the Lexington on Pentonville Road in London. One of my all-time favourite venues, but a bit small. Being two flight’s up, you could feel the weight of crowd on the floor as this song burst it’s seams at the 4:06 mark… this one’s a cover of a Blawan track, but with more menace and aggression than anything else I’ve ever seen live.


People were smashing bottles on the walls, drinks drenched the crowd, and everyone got tinnitus. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once.

So, which bands have hurt your ears? Bring the noise, people.

18 Replies

Re: LOUDEST GIGS EVER? ♫ ♪

Ellis
Regular
I can vouch for the noisiness Girl Band! The first time I saw them I had a horrific headache, and was considering not going in favour of crawling into bed to feel sorry for myself. Not wanting to waste the ticket though I pulled myself together and went along. This was before they became popular so the gig was practically empty, but no doubt that only made their barrage resonate more heavily. The sound from their amps hogged my cognition - it was so intense that it was about the only thing my entire body was able to register. Everything else just disappeared - including my headache ironically.

I actually came out of that gig feeling a million times better than I did prior. Not sure how to explain that one. I've seen them about 20 times since, and will continue to do so until they finally deafen me.

Re: LOUDEST GIGS EVER? ♫ ♪

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Thanks @Ellis, they're damn loud. Where was that first gig? 

Re: LOUDEST GIGS EVER? ♫ ♪

Ellis
Regular

It was at the Old Blue Last in London :) One of my favourite venues! They're always showcasing brilliant emerging new acts. 

Re: LOUDEST GIGS EVER? ♫ ♪

crematedman
Community Legend

@Jack Great post! High Tension and Car Seat Headrest came close for me!!

 

As far as the crowd, SAFIA take the title!

Re: LOUDEST GIGS EVER? ♫ ♪

user-removed
Not applicable

@Jack

 

My loudest gig I went to has to be hands down the band S.T.P., before the first break up with lead singer Scott Weiland. The band was touring for the No. 4 album when they came through my area, it is kind of a funny story in a weird way. I have been going to live shows since the age of 16, and somewhere later in my age I started bringing hearing protection with me to many live gigs, many metal bands are known to just push the loudness as far as legally allowed during live shows. I had forgotten my foam ear plugs for this live show in my vehicle, and it is usually policy of venues once you enter a facility for a live show you can't leave and then come back inside, unless it is to smoke in designated areas outside for non smoking venues, and/or local laws with regards to smoking. Well here I was waiting for the show to start with no hearing protection, the opening band I was able to deal with regards to the loudness, S.T.P. just blew them off the stage, they were so loud, I spent half the live show using my fingers in my ears to get through the show. LoL I my ears rang for 4 days after that show.

 

Mötley Crüe during their reunion with Vince Neil as lead singer, their live show was also extremely loud on the Generation Swine tour as well, but I had my hearing protection with me for that show. TooL was rather loud even with hearing protection during 10,000 days tour when they came through my area, saw TooL twice, the earlier time was in a medium sized venue of only a couple thousand people on the Ænima tour without hearing protection, they were rather loud as well then but there is usually allot going on with regards to their stage shows as well when they perform, which is easy to distract one from the loud live show.

 

I have been to allot of very live loud shows. KISS when they came through during the re-make up reunion phase with Ace Frehley and Peter Crisis returned to the band for a brief time, they were extremely loud when they came through my area. Slayer when they came through my area during the Divine Intervention tour was just insanely loud. Megadeth was pushing the loudness at a medium sized venue when they came through in '98. Iron Maiden when they came through in '89 here was rather loud as well, they even managed to blow a couple of P.A.'s during the show for a few minutes of live delay time.

 

I better stop, I can keep going for a while on this subject. I think it all depends on the act performing and the size of the venue, and if it is inside or outside makes all the difference in sound loudness and in how one is able to deal with it. I never had to deal with perforated ear drums, of vomiting, nor migraines, but I have had many concussion sound waves due to bass levels at many of these live shows felt all over my body before and that can be disturbing sometimes.

Re: LOUDEST GIGS EVER? ♫ ♪

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Thanks, @crematedman! I have a real soft spot for Car Seat Headrest. 'Teens Of Denial' was such a strong record. Where'd you catch them live?

Re: LOUDEST GIGS EVER? ♫ ♪

ConAudifonos
Music Fan

Rage Against The Machine at the Astroarena in Houston in 1996. 

Re: LOUDEST GIGS EVER? ♫ ♪

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Wow, @user-removed... some strong anecdotes here! I'd love to see a lot of the bands you've mentioned. Particularly Slayer.

I always take earplugs to gigs (I grew up as a drummer, so they taught me early to protect my hearing), and I've started to notice some venues having handout sets of fresh, disposable earplugs for gigs. Moth Club in Hackney, East London, is one place that I've noticed it. They have a bucket of little shrinkwrapped earplugs and you can get them for free at the bar, which is awesome.

Re: LOUDEST GIGS EVER? ♫ ♪

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Nice, @ConAudifonos... I bet that was a pretty spectacular show! I like a lot of the Tom Morello projects outside of RATM, they're also pretty noisy. Audioslave and Street Sweeper Social Club spring to mind.

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