We need to get rid of this macho bullshit attitude that dangerously loud gigs are a good thing

yeah they also flashed a strobe light for the last 10 minutes or so of the set when i saw them once

Swans were stupidly loud, the whole floor was shaking. was wearing the free earplugs that were given out at the door, took them out at one point when i noticed loads of people weren’t wearing them, but it was painfully loud and they went right back in again. i’m not even normally an earplug wearer at gigs (though i bought some last year to start trying out) but don’t know how people watched that without them

In some countries they’re stricter with db limits, i think that’s the way. I remember i used to secpnd-guess asking friends if they wanted to go to certain gigs because i was worried what if they damaged their hearing

On the other hand nightclubs are generally worse a lot of the time, aren’t they. Even less people wear earplugs to nightclubs.


I think it does need to be turned down. Mogwai are a good example of too loud. I have to wear earplugs and good as they are I’m still losing the high end of the music which causes the gig to sound flat.
Which is annoying.
Teeth of the Sea are guilty of this as well.
Loop were the loudest band I’ve ever heard. They were playing in Heaven in London, which is a basement venue and the earplugs did nothing. My ears were ringing for days.

Also on the people need to stfu at gigs as well though.

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When i think of gigs that have made my ears wince it’s usually those ones you mention in a small room with 40 people in attendance.


I have quite noticeable tinnitus as the result of years of attending gigs and band practice playing at high volume without earplugs.

Ultimately my fault but I do think more could/should be done by venues in terms of harm reduction / health promotion - some flyers or leaflets warning of the risks, cheap / free earplugs available at the bar etc etc

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Yeah, if a show is properly mixed then it’s normally not too much of a problem. Worst shows have always been the ones in tiny venues with no crowd and someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing on the faders.

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I like loud gigs but people who see not having earplugs as a badge of honour are v strange and daft


Btw if you end up at a LOUD gig where you’ve forgotten your earplugs be creative - on occasion I’ve just put regular earphones in (ones with a good seal obv) and I think even balled-up tissue paper will have a protective effect,

the Mogwai gigs i’ve been to have always felt loud but not too loud, feel like they’ve always stayed on the right side of the line for me

maybe that line changes over time i guess

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last gig i went to that was stupidly loud was Imperial Wax, which is the garage rock band of the last few guys who were in The Fall. they played a small room in the students union and there was hardly anyone there but it was absolutely ear splitting for no obvious reason whatsoever. they never played that loud at Fall gigs.

it was good but really wished i’d brought earplugs

Most earplugs won’t fit in my ears, presumably because like a lot of things, they’re designed for male bodies. I put off buying any for a long time because I didn’t want to waste money on something that wouldn’t fit. I find having things in my ears super uncomfortable anyway so I don’t really want to be in a position of feeling forced to wear earplugs.

Is any gig that’s handing out earplugs going to be handing out a range of sizes or are they just going to assume that ‘average man’ size fits all and not worry about women being disproportionately likely not to be able to wear them?

Also lots of neurodivergent people are more sensitive to sound. There’s probably no way to put on a gig that accommodates everyone but maybe it shouldn’t be a badge of honour that anyone who’s even the slightest bit more sensitive to noise than average can’t attend.

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Always found that MBV-style thing of being really loud and then people being like “haha some wanker didn’t have earplugs what a dick haha they gave the band a bunch of money just to have a shit time haha” to be really strange.

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If you’ve got the cash I’d highly recommend getting custom earplugs. I had a pair of these:

They’re about £150 but they’re incredible, so comfortable you forget you’re wearing them and they reduce the sound really evenly across frequencies so you don’t get that underwater feeling you do with other earplugs. First time I put them in was a revelation - I could actually hear everything at band practices rather than choosing between either a) earplugs in and just hearing bass, or b) earplugs out and the high frequencies distorting my hearing so much that nothing was clearly audible either.


Swans are my go-to answer. They gave out earplugs at the bar. There is something to be said for the sublimation that happens when your immersed in volume like that - helps if the music is properly repetitive too. Not a macho thing though… maybe it is for some folk.

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yes, the music suits it, maybe even demands it

industrial/factory-vibes, plus the undercurrent of sadomasochism… it felt like being purified, submitting to something monumental

the most incredible moment was an extended moment of near-silence in the middle of all of it.

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Really need to look into this. I’ve been hard of hearing since birth and loud gigs have probably knocked another 5-10% of my hearing range off. Really do believe in wearing plugs but I’ve a bad habit of misplacing/forgetting them (especially at festivals when I’m in a state)

would love to experience this incredibly loud


is that really a thing?


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I’ve had absolutely screaming tinnitus since I first started going to gigs but weirdly every hearing test I’ve passed with flying colours.

And yeah, they’re easy to lose and as they’re a bit of a faff to arrange (you need to go to your local hearing-aid place to get a mold taken of your ears) I’ve never bothered sorting another pair. Such a shame as they weren’t just great for gigs and rehearsals - I’d sometimes just wear them to clubs, or even pubs with loud music, and suddenly I could follow conversations that would normally just get completely lost in noise.