Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ringing. Endorsement.

Pantera. Mogwai. Earth Crisis. Boy Sets Fire. Unsane. Hatebreed. Metallica. Dinosaur Jr. Helmet. Deftones. Shellac. Spudmonsters. State of Conviction. Tool. Mushroomhead. Soulfly. Quicksand. And on.

And on.

And on.

The list of "loud" bands I have seen play live is virtually endless. And I have probably played 40+ shows in pretty "loud" bands myself.

When things get loud, I throw in some cheapo earplugs. Or toilet paper. It's not usually an issue.

So here I am, at the age where I am easily in the upper age echelon of people who see shows. Except at last week's Swans show, where I was probably the median age. Maybe younger?

And most of these guys playing are, eh, not young, at least for rock and roll. Or whatever you call the noise Swans makes.

Yet they are the first band ever to run me out of the club because of volume.

It was the first time I had seen them, and maybe I should have been better prepared, based on the past:

One of the trademarks of Swans' early period was playing at painfully loud volumes during concerts, to the point where some audience members would vomit or the police would stop the show....Since Swans' reformation, Gira has made a point of maintaining the intensity of their live show, stating that it is at once "soul-uplifting and body-destroying". He has also developed a penchant for turning off the air conditioning before Swans perform, comparing the experience to a Native American sweat lodge.

I left because it was no longer enjoyable. Because I felt sick, and because I want hearing when I'm 80. I am 100% sure that it was incredibly louder than anything I have ever heard.

In other words, I let a bunch of dudes easily old enough to be my dad force me out of club because they were playing too loud.

I have officially lost all cred and will now be only attending Jimmy Buffet cover band concerts.


Ben said...

I didn't quite get the "soul uplifting and body destroying" element--maybe more so in their mid 90's show. Mostly I felt a sense of heightened anxiety, even with the earplugs I'd purchased at the bar. Calling earlier Swans meditative might be a stretch, but what they were doing here seemed intentionally ominous for the most part. Especially Jarboe's songs in the past had some elements of warmth, but that didn't happen here.

I would have left when you did had I not discovered decent earplugs at the bar.

MasterBowman said...

Not sure if I understand the rationale beyond any of this. I've definitely noticed some significant hearing loss in myself and don't attend nearly the amount of concerts that you do.

Is it manly or cool to subject one's hearing to such abuse? Even if it somehow uplifts the soul and has a transcendental effect on the listener, I just don't think the permanent damage is worth it. Staring into the sun or welding sparks for extended periods may also uplift the soul, but will undoubtedly harm one's vision. Wondering how many would partake in those activities.

Obviously to each their own and nobody's making me go to loud concerts or venues. I just hope that when everyone's hearing is gone, the memories are worth it.