Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Louder than Loud: My Bloody Valentine

What with their recent warm-up gig at the ICA, the return of My Bloody Valentine to concert stages has prompted much muttering about loudness at gigs (as well as plenty of "What? Speak up!" and probably many sore ears).

I am in the none-louder-than-MBV camp, having wandered unwarned into one of their last gigs, at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco in about '92. I don't recall any earplugs being offered to the audience but I am reliably informed that this was de rigueur, for health and safety reasons.

In any case, unprotected, I made my way toward the front and was duly blasted backward once they started up, the cacophony whacking me in the chest and propelling me backward, to the back of the auditiorium, then into the foyer and finally, despairingly, into the street and home after about 20 minutes. I simply could not bear the noise.

One does wonder why it is necessary to perform at such extreme levels. After all, anyone listening to the records does not find them especially loud, sonic wizardry notwithstanding. I don't quite get it, nor the chorus (all male, I notice) of fans chiming in with blissful tales of week-long tinnitus afterward (not so amusing when it becomes permanent, giggers!).

So, though slightly annoyed I missed the ICA gig, I am probably better off enjoying the records and steering clear of the upcoming shows at the Roundhouse. I wonder how they'll go over at festivals?

No comments: