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August 4, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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The Volume Question

I went to this gig the other weekend: Punchbowl’s EP release at Happy, with supporting acts Dyke? Dyke? Dyke? and Neon Bastard. I learnt several lessons from this: one, I don’t and probably never will get hardcore, and I should probably stop going to these gigs. Two, never leave home without earplugs ever again.

Neon Bastard were LOUD. Too loud. I don’t know what their music was like, apart from LOUD, because when they started I immediately put my fingers in my ears to protect my delicate music-appreciating apparatuses from damage, it was so LOUD. Personally, I don’t get loud. A reasonable amount of volume is fun, but deafening? Surely the long term benefit of actually being able to hear music (and other stuff like speech and approaching speeding vehicles) outweighs the temporary thrill of actually feeling your lungs jiggle in time with the bass? Am I the only one who doesn’t want to have that horrible ringing in my ears after every Saturday evening’s revelry?

I’ve got a theory that the reason why so many bands play SO GODDAMN LOUD is that over the past 20 years or so, audiences have lost their ability to shut up and concentrate on the music they’ve come to see. Due to the increased merging of the concepts of ‘party’ and ‘concert’, we now spend much of our time at gigs socialising and drinking. So bands need to play loud enough to make talking difficult, or else no one will pay attention to them. Sound plausible?

The other possible cause of this is that people like to have their eardrums shattered to pieces. If this is the case, can someone elaborate on why? And provide a convincing case as to why this practice should be observed at every single gig, regardless of the band and audience involved? No really, I’m interested. Send in your answers and we might print one or two if they’re not too abysmally written.

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

Comments (25)

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  1. rhiannon says:

    seriously? i mean why go to a show if your going to complain about hearing noise? You didn’t even comment on the actual quality of the music. i have taken my 50 year old mother to hardcore shows and she didn’t complain about the loudness and actually made opinions on the music! next time you review write about the music it’s atleast what the readers want from one.

  2. Gibbon says:

    read it properly
    too loud = quality of music low

  3. Joey Jo Jo says:

    Woah.. What a chin stroking pretentious buzz kill!
    Stay home and listen to your records.

  4. Eric Chang says:

    neon bastard’s not even a loud band

    think you just need a cup of harden the fuck up

    nice review brah i learned a lot about the bands

  5. fuzz says:

    tube amps and hard hitting drummers = loud. if it’s too loud you’re too old. you said yourself you don’t ‘get’ hardcore… so why bother?

  6. be careful as Neon Bastard are in the top ten percent of bands in the country

    0X

  7. mike says:

    shut up gibbon

  8. Mr K.Wox says:

    HAI THERE SALIENT,

    SO NEXT TIME YOU GO TO A HARDCORE SHOW (EVEN THOUGH YOU AREN’T AND WILL NEVER BE HARDCORE ACCORDING TO YOU) MAYBE BRING SOME EAR PLUGS TO MAKE IT THAT BIT quieter.

    ALSO THIS ISN’T EEVEN A REAL REVIEW.
    1. WHERE IS YOUR DESCRIPTION OF EACH OF THE BANDS AND HOW THEY PLAYED e.g. “THEY WERE MEAN” “PUNCHBOWL WERE HARDOUT AS” “WOULD TRADE AGAIN A+++, BUT THEY WEREN’T MY CUP OF TEA”.
    2. WHAT OUT OF 10 DID YOU RATE IT? e.g ÖFF THE FUCKING HOOK/10.
    3. ASL?
    4. YOUR REVIEW LACKS ANY CRITICISM OF THE GIG ITSELF. e.g. I, MYSELF HAVE BEEN TO A RESTURANT (COBB & CO) WHICH WAS TOO LOUD . HOWEVER MY TRAFFIC LIGHT COCKTAIL WAS MEAN AND THE WAITRESS OF OFF THE CHAIN. VIBE WAS AWESOME EVERYONE WAS GETTING ALONG. KANWOX X5/10. WOULD RECOMMEND TO ANYONE WHO ISN’T A DOUCHE.

    LOVE Mr. K Wox

  9. Jason says:

    Take some earplugs to the next show and stop whining. Better yet, just fuck off

    “Send in your answers and we might print one or two if they’re not too abysmally written.” – Just a tad Ironic, considering what an abortion of a review this is – you haven’t even said a single thing about the bands other than they were ‘hardcore’ and ‘LOUD’, nz music journalism is a joke and so are you.

  10. Since you all keep complaining that this isn’t review, I think I should point out that it isn’t trying to be a review – it’s an article about volume that references a particular gig. Complaining that this isn’t a review is like complaining that cheese isn’t milk.

  11. Sam says:

    That’s all very well Tristan, but it doesn’t change that this article is needlesly bringing down a small community of passionate people and artists.

  12. B Jones says:

    gay, wow you treat me like a wind up toy, i bet your great in real life, as if.

  13. Dave says:

    Probably best stick to your neon sleep parties Tristan, but even there the shirts are loud

  14. Chris says:

    I think Tristan’s point was well made, and I think that the argument ‘harden the fuck up’ doesn’t really stand.

    The piece is obviously controversial since, yes, rock gigs are meant to be loud. But it raised questions about the norms of rock-gig-going and it wasn’t being ignorant since it called for real suggestions as to why the volume reached the point it did at this particular gig. And some valid points were made: “that over the past 20 years or so, audiences have lost their ability to shut up and concentrate on the music they’ve come to see” is a fucking good one. Wellingtonians behave shockingly at gigs.

    Why rock music is played loud concerns a recitation of 40 years of popular music history, but perhaps a shorter answer is that people obviously have a different taste for different noises, and with those noises comes a different presentation style that gets people off. The only way to get hardcore gigs is to go home and listen to shit-loads of hardcore and try and find what makes the music work, and when you hear it live you might not be listening for ‘melody’ or ‘guitar technique’ but perhaps a certain kind of rhythm or something. Not many rock genres deliver performances such as loud as hardcore, and perhaps thats just a reflection on what makes hardcore music tick.

  15. Kim says:

    What baffles me is why one would even bother to attend a show or write a review that displays such lack of interest in the subject. It’s fair enough to say the bands were loud, It’s true, but my mum attended this show and even she coped enough to offer the words “It was pretty good for punk” and to comment on Tom from “Neon Bastards” lack of shirt.
    She bought me a whisky too because she is cooler than you.

    Kim, Punchbowl.

  16. Chris says:

    The piece is titled “The Volume Question”. Perhaps that might lead one to think that it is about, hmmm, I dunno, volume.

    It’s not a review and if it tried to attempt a balanced debate of the volume any one genre (including hardcore) it would end up being over 1000 words. It’s a short piece questioning the level of volume at gigs, and the fact that hardcore happened to be in the spotlight is coincidental. Please try and relax.

  17. jason says:

    “I think that the argument ‘harden the fuck up’ doesn’t really stand.”

    I think it does, music is not going to get quieter in the loud environment because one person, who admits not even liking the music, had a whinge.

    If it bothers you, buy ear plugs….. or harden the fuck up

  18. The person who wrote this article says:

    1. “Neon bastard’s not even a loud band”: yes, they are. Loud enough to require hearing protection.
    2. “nz music journalism is a joke and so are you”: hence the request for readers to contribute a level-headed response explaining the opposite point of view. I’m not being snarky about this, if you can do any better then DO. Why waste your time writing bitchy comments on a website when you could write a 500-word piece and actually get it printed?
    3. “…this article is needlesly bringing down a small community of passionate people and artists.” I’m not attacking hardcore. Read the article. I never say that the bands are bad – I just question the need for everything to be turned up to 11.
    4. This is not a review. That’s why I didn’t review any of the bands. They were indeed pretty fucking good “for punk”, even if they weren’t quite my thing – but the quality of the music is not the issue of the piece.
    5. “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”: I am 19.
    6. “Harden the fuck up”: huh? Please elaborate. I will ‘harden the fuck up’, Jason, when you learn to read properly.

  19. Kim says:

    “over the past 20 years or so…”

    “I am 19.”

  20. Michael Oliver says:

    What the fuck are you people even arguing about…

  21. Gibbon says:

    I was born in the 80s, Kim,
    but I’m pretty sure that the Korean War, for example, did in fact happen.

    Writer was born 19 years ago,
    but writer is pretty sure that audiences have changed in the past twenty years.


    Kim
    You are the demons

  22. Naly D says:

    Jason, I disagree on the NZ music journalism remark. What are your criticisms? As I’d love to improve myself.

  23. final boss of the internet says:

    hahaha. some idiot punk kids got butthurt someone doesn’t like loud music.

    also funny, taking this article seriously. its high school paper lvl. shit.

  24. Donavan Samuel Wangston says:

    If you don’t like loud bands, then don’t go to shows with loud bands.
    Maybe just go home, put on a CD, work on your music reviews and, you know, DSW.

  25. jesus says:

    i like penis coladas

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