When is a band too loud?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by axelicker, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. axelicker

    axelicker Member

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    Was at a bar last night. Only maybe 15-20 people in there, but it's a local dive that people go to with friends to talk, not dance. The band started playing at ~9:30 and they were really loud. Anyone wanting to talk, even way in the back, was shouting into their friends ear to be heard. About half the people left after a song or 2. Then more started coming in, but they'd stand around not being able to talk and after the first beer leave again. The band was playing blues, looked like only the vocals were miked, amps were cranked. They were good, but IMO their volume was out-of-whack for the situation. Big empty bar, sound crashing off of the walls giving you a headache...not a packed house with people partying and dancing. Or do the blues just have to be LOUD?
     
  2. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    They should have started lower, then turned up as there were more patrons to soak up the sound.

    But then again you said it was a blues band, so its not like there were going to be many people there anyway!

    Playing that loud is just dopey.

    Reminds me of that Onion story about the patrons looking on in disgust as a stand up bass gets rolled onto the stage and everyone leaves because "A band" is going to start playing.
     
  3. midnightlaundry

    midnightlaundry Member

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    Rock is loud. Maybe it wouldn't have been so loud if there was more than 15 people.. LOL

    Sounds like a lame ass bar.
     
  4. Stu Blue

    Stu Blue Member

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    Bet you any money you like that the guitarist/s were playing with the bass knobs lower than the treble...or way higher. Unbalanced bass and treble on the amp always leads to poor volume control... though folks really don't like being told that....

    Also see my sig......
     
  5. Angry Old Man

    Angry Old Man Member

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    Loudest?
    Jefferson Starship in about 82'. I was maybe 15' from the speakers. My ears were cutting in and out and my ears were actually breaking up.
    I have never heard well in that ear since
     
  6. Rockyrollercat

    Rockyrollercat Member

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    I'll bet they don't get asked back.
     
  7. axelicker

    axelicker Member

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    ^
    That's what I'm thinking too, although the bartenders/owners? seemed to be watching the band intently.

    And yes, seemed a lame-ass hippie/dive bar, but I hear it gets pretty packed some nights.
     
  8. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    If you're in a small bar and have to shout when you lean into your friends to talk over the band, then they're too loud. Unless this was a bar that brings in people only for the band that's playing that night (original music with a cover charge), but I doubt that was the case here. Seriously though, you go to a bar to drink and socialize and listen to music. If the band is a cover or blues band, it's background music. If a bar has live music then talking loud to chat with your buddies is the norm, but leaning into them and shouting is too much IMHO.
     
  9. teemuk

    teemuk Member

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    It's even worse when the band is so loud that all you can distinct from the music at near vicinity is hideous, headache-inducing "screeching", and further away, where volume is tamed down, you merely hear muffled distortion over heinous farting and resonance from what is supposed to be bass.
     
  10. Melodyman

    Melodyman Member

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    On TGP? Anything above whisper volume. :drink
     
  11. remocity

    remocity Supporting Member

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    Complaints about volume are usually criticisms of tone, talent and timing.

    Stolen from Stu Blue but very true.
     
  12. Billion81

    Billion81 It'd be a whole lot cooler if you did. Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks for coming out last night...
     
  13. Frank Speak

    Frank Speak Member

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    I've toured with regional bands, been a backing musician for up and comers, and have played in bar bands for about 30 years. The trick to being a pro in any situation is to know your role. I've said this before, but here goes again. Bar bands are not doing a "concert", and are not the focus. People come to bars to have a few drinks, socialize, and possibly dance a bit (if it's that kind of bar). The band is paid to play good music for the patrons as a background for their other activities. If the bartenders can't hear orders. If the patrons can't socialize, etc... because the band is too loud, then the band isn't doing its job and likely won't be asked back. This doesn't mean you play at whisper volumes. It should have some punch, but it should be mixed as not to deafen the patrons and staff.

    FTR, the culprit in most of these situations is mixing inexperience. Playing in a band, and in different rooms every week is not the same as playing in the bedroom or basement, etc... Too many musicians don't understand how to EQ their gear for band settings. This results in being able to hear. Of course, the remedy in their mind is to turn up their guitar amp, vocals, bass, whatever. That almost always makes things worse.

    Bottom line, these are the things that separate the "A" list bands from the rest, and why they get the best gigs. It's a shame because I've heard some really good musicians in the lower tier bands. But, their lack of knowledge in mixing their sound prohibits them form bettering their situation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  14. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Even a weak set of acoustic drums will be loud with any normal drummer playing rock.
    Use small amps only or low volume settings...not much fun.
    Never mic anything beyond the vocals.
    Aim at the dance floor and front row only.
    It will still be 'loud' to anyone who does not want to hear you.
     
  15. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Say again?......I couldn't hear you.

    (ha!)
     
  16. Dale

    Dale Member

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    These are some of the reasons establishments are decreasing the use of live music. Bands can't find a way to adapt to the context and think they are center stage in a stadium.
     
  17. gtraddict

    gtraddict Member

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    Napoleon complex, the band thinks they are great and trying to live up to it
     
  18. Ugh

    Ugh Supporting Member

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    Who goes to a bar with live music to talk?

    IMO it's too loud when it just turns to white noise and is painful. Then again, the bars I play at are known for having local original rock acts, and you can expect it to be fairly loud on any given Saturday night.
     
  19. Miles

    Miles Member

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    Agreed. When things become indistinguishable in the mix and it hurts.
     
  20. axelicker

    axelicker Member

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    Agree on the white noise. It wasn't to that level, though my ears were ringing after and had I known I'd have brought earplugs. It was loud enough that all you could really do was stand there and watch the band, and I'm just saying that I saw a bunch of people not into that heading back out the door. They seemed like pretty cool dudes in the band and had enough talent to turn it down, yet they had no one apparent to give an FOH listen and help with the mix, and no PA mix anyway...
     

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