Random Play by Graham Reid

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Random Play: “Thank you, you’ve been a lovely audience”

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  • Dave Patrick,

    Loudest ever - Motorhead at Mianstreet. Lemmy's bass notes felt like they were interfering with my heart beat.

    Most ear-damaging would be a tie between the Hoodoo Gurus at teh Gluepot and the Gun Club at some dive in London - both treble-heavy guitar bands, and the Gurus concert left me with ringing ears, and secondary buzzing whenever someone spoke to me, or a car drove past.

    They Might Be Giants at the Powerstation wins for "dopey audience of the year" interaction - they came on stage with teh usual "Hello Auckland" bit, then "Are you ambivalent about being here tonight?" to which the audience responded with a "YEEESSSSSSSS" (programmed concert responses ftw). They Might Be Giants look a little non-plussed, and repeat the question, to which the audience again responds "YEESSSSS", except for me who says "NO" and gets frowned at by everyone around....

    Violent Femmes at the Auckland Town Hall in 88, when they had to leave the stage for 10 minutes after the entire stage moved when people surged against it....

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report

  • Rik,

    volume-wise, the Ramones at the Powerstation would be mine.

    Totally agree - couldn't tell one song from another it was so loud.

    Very enjoyable!

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report

  • Kyle Matthews,

    He told me would never go there because he'd heard the sound was bad (huh?) and that he had been a Dylan fan all his life but wouldn't go and see him "unless he was playing an acoustic set in small club".

    Hate to see the ticket prices for that. 50 tickets, 2 grand each.

    You came to a fork in the road then?

    You. Out.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report

  • Peter Darlington,

    Biafra pistons the mic twenty feet out at them and hits one in the jaw. The bootboy tries to climb up onto the stage. An old hippie roadie lets loose a flying kick, but the lucky skin is pulled back by his mates just in time. He retreats, continuing to yell abuse, and spit blood. Biafra taunting him: "How hardcore. I've got a song for you called Nazi Rednecks Fuck Off."...

    You see, that's proper rock'n'roll :)

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report

  • Peter Darlington,

    volume-wise, the Ramones at the Powerstation would be mine.

    Totally agree - couldn't tell one song from another it was so loud.

    Very enjoyable!

    In 1980? Same in Chch. Ear bleeding stuff.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report

  • Alan Perrott,

    wasn't that the Femmes gig at His Majesty's? otherwise they were cursed - the problem at HM was the planks covering the orchestra pit were flexing and bouncing around big time. they were more for appearance sake than functionality and covered a yawning abyss and concrete floor. some jobsworth tried asking everyone to back up and stay away from the front of the stage...bwahahah, nice one centurion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Loudest - The Damned at the Powerstation, felt like someone was giving me CPR

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes,

    Hawkwind, 1970 something, White City, London, tinnitus 3 days.
    Aural sex.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

  • Dave Patrick,

    wasn't that the Femmes gig at His Majesty's?

    I was at that one too, that's the gig that decided me against ever sitting down at a concert again - the Town Hall one was definitely when the stage physically MOVED backwards about a foot.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report

  • Tony Parker,

    Loudest-Steve Earle the time before last with the Dukes in that bunker of a venue the Starlight Ballroom I think it was called in Wellington. Especially when they Breed. Had the bluegrass lovers running for the door.
    Similar thing happened here in Napier when I played at a Cash tribute night and Jakob played Long Black Veil. Jeff the guitarist smiled halfway through the song, hit his pedals and all hell broke loose for his solo. Never seen so many older people hit the doors so quickly. It was great.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report

  • Jonathan Ganley,

    Rollins clearly had not learned to get over himself.
    Chris drew a funny cartoon about the incident, as I recall.

    The cartoon was in Stamp magazine: " My Chat With Henry". That show was way over-sold. You could hardly move in the Silo. I complained to the promoter and he shrugged. He had arrived with a busload of punters from New Plymouth, and a lot of them were on mushrooms. They heckled Chris then chattered incessantly amongst themselves throughout Henry's rant. At one point he stopped to draw breath and a voice came out of the crowd.

    "Henry … Henry! Have you tried mushrooms?"

    Since Dec 2006 • 234 posts Report

  • Scott A,

    philipmatthews mentioned the Bailter Space gig at Vic Uni, that was "so loud that a big chunk of the audience couldn't stand being in the hall and listened from out in the stairwell."

    I was there for that one, and loved it! I propped myself against the stage and let the sheer volume rip through my body; the noise becoming physical sensation and vice versa. One of my favourite live music experiences, ever.

    Of course, now at age 35, my hearing is getting worse and worse. All those years in small rooms with loud instruments, either playing in or watching bands at places like Bodega and the James Cab.

    I don't remember anyone talking about ear plugs back then, I only remember them appearing regularly towards the end of the nineties. Wish I'd used them when I was a teenager, I really do.

    The wilds of Kingston, We… • Since May 2009 • 133 posts Report

  • Julian Melville,

    I went straight from doing the Thursday night classical show on Radio Contact (one night back in ninety-something) into a Bailter Space gig at the Bongo. That was too much contrast for me and I had to beat a retreat fairly quickly. Pity as they sounded amazing. I'll always remember my jeans slapping against the front of my legs as I walked in through the door from the sheer volume and standing waves in the room.

    I saw Charlie Parr when he opened for Paul Kelly in Sydney earlier this year (a completely wonderful show btw) and one of his anecdotes was great, all about how he'd have worn a suit if he'd known the venue (NSW State Theatre, think the Civic on acid) would be so nice. He'd gone halves on a good suit with his Dad on the grounds that they were about the same size and didn't often attend the same functions. Then his Dad died... and they buried him in the suit. Weird feeling to be laughing when someone's just told you their Dad died!

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 200 posts Report

  • Danielle,

    the Civic on acid

    I thought the Civic was already on acid.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report

  • Dave Wignall,

    The crowd started clapping after every solo from the supporting musicians

    I saw Berline, Crary and Hickman in Dunedin in 198mumble. First odd thing was that the show was arranged by the US Consulate as an art initiative. Second thing was turning up and not recognizing anyone else in the crowd - not just unheard of but virtually impossible in Dunedin at the time. First tune, Dan Crary takes the first solo and everyone claps. He looks up with a classic WTF on his face and glances at the others, who were also surprised, shrugs his shoulders and carries on.

    There was clapping at every solo, for a bit. Didn't last too long though. Bluegrass has a lot of soloing...

    Since Nov 2009 • 4 posts Report

  • George Darroch,

    I was there for that one, and loved it! I propped myself against the stage and let the sheer volume rip through my body; the noise becoming physical sensation and vice versa. One of my favourite live music experiences, ever.

    I totally agree, actually. I love Bailter Space and Jakob, and all manner of very noisy bands. Having earplugs allows me to simultaneously hear and feel the music, at great volume, without incurring the pain.

    Russell, I just buy them from the pharmacy. I get about 4 pairs for $12, in a little plastic box.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report

  • Tony Parker,

    I saw Berline, Crary and Hickman in Dunedin in 198mumble.

    I saw those guys when they came to HB. They even used my bass amp for the gig.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Russell, I just buy them from the pharmacy. I get about 4 pairs for $12, in a little plastic box.

    Yes, I've got those ones. But there was a thread where there was a bit of earplug connoisseur talk going on. I'll have to find it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    I saw The Gordons, I saw Motorhead, but I think the loudest band I have ever experienced was Suicide, at the Camden Palace in the late 80s.

    It was so loud it made my teeth hurt.

    It was a strange gig -- they came on way too late on a weeknight -- but oddly amusing.

    At one point a member of the crowd helpfully pointed out to Alan Vega that he was in fact, a bit fat.

    "So waddaya want me to do?" Vega shot back. "Jog?"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Chockasunday,

    People talking while the band plays.

    Argh, that has spoilt so many gigs - Belle & Sebastian at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Simon and Garfunkel at Vector Arena, many at San Francisco Bath House in Wellington ...

    And bloody well start earlier, bands in NZ!

    Went to see the Brunettes last week and they started at 12.30am. Was struggling to stay awake by the end.

    Headliners should be starting before 9.30pm, gig finished by around 11, home in time for a decent night's sleep before getting up for work.

    On the plus side, I love going to gigs!
    Weirdest gig:
    Arthur Lee & Love, Benicassim, Spain. He'd just been told that Rick James had died. The man obviously did not want to play a show at that time ...

    Lucky Soul in London.

    Or any gig where you get blown away by a new band you've never heard before.
    With a band you know you often end up subconsciously comparing it to the record.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 62 posts Report

  • webweaver,


    Russell, it might be worth you getting custom-made ones as you go to a whole lot of gigs.

    Here in Welli there's a place called the Courtenay Hearing Centre and they make custom earplugs for musicians etc. I'm sure Auckers will have equivalent places. I got a pair for when I'm playing Brazilian samba with Batucada - with 50 drummers rehearsing in a small space it's pretty much mandatory. Cuts out the painful sound while still giving you complete access to the rest of it. Well worth it.

    I think my earplugs were about a hundred bucks or so - they're the mid-price ones I think - more info here. When they make them for you they stuff this yellow goopy plasticine stuff in each ear to make a pair of custom earhole-shaped moulds, and once it's set they pull it out and then send it off to Oz for the mechanical bits to be placed inside clear plastic earplugs that fit your ear canals exactly. It takes a couple of weeks for them to be made, and they're awesome.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 332 posts Report

  • Murray Pawson,

    Here's a link to the Australian experience of concert etiquette. I particularly liked...

    The repeated yells for unsolicited requests can get you down. I remember a Birthday Party gig at Sydney University in the early 80s, when some idiot kept yelling out for them to play "Shivers". Eventually Nick Cave drew himself up to his full height, fixed the offender with a death stare and said "we don't play that song, you fucking pig". Cue silence.


    Since Nov 2006 • 5 posts Report

  • Woz at the Skybatch,

    Ooh, nice post, Graham...

    Russell, http://pacificears.co.nz could help you out. I've worn earplugs for almost 3 decades going to gigs (watching, playing, working) and my hearing is still decent (I'm in my mid forties...).

    I get grumpy at rock gigs where the sound is not loud enough as there is nothing worse than listening to loud, drunk people discuss their love lives (or whatever) over the act I've come to see - worst ever = Tanya Donnelly gig.

    Loudest is a toughie. Faith No More come to mind as do Living Colour (like four random strangers meeting each other for the first time in a wall of sound). Anyone else recall them at Auckland Town hall?

    Best stage action must go to Veruca Salt in Auckland in the 90's inviting all the girls in the audience on stage (to dance about) for their encore of 'Shimmer Like A Girl' and then one of the female guitarists giving her guitar to an audience member and diving into the males left in front of her...

    Best artist response. Sarah McLeod of the Superjesus at Vic Uni responding to the age old munter request of "show us your tits', to which she replied icely, "we don't have a song called that, but I'll be sure to write one especially for you and play it next time we're here..."

    Finally, being surprised by signs of intelligent life in a crowd... after a Sleater-Kinney gig at the Kings Arms walking out behind two young blokes who were debating the finer points of drum solo's and whether Janet Weiss was in fact the best drummer on the entire planet (I admit here possibly being in a biased mood having had an X cover dedicated to me on the night and Carrie Brownstein giving me a big hug before getting up on stage...but still).

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 12 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes,

    "not only the loudest rock band in the galaxy, but in fact the loudest noise of any kind"

    Pink Floyd and their lavish stage shows were also the inspiration for the Adams-created fictional rock band "Disaster Area", described in the Hitchhiker's Guide as "not only the loudest rock band in the galaxy, but in fact the loudest noise of any kind". One element of Disaster Area's stage show was to send a space ship hurtling into a sun, probably inspired by the plane that would crash into the stage during some of Pink Floyd's live shows, usually at the end of "On the Run


    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

  • 3410,

    I think I remember that. Whereas Bailter Space punters had to listen from outside the venue, didn't Disaster Area fans have to observe - or whatever the aural equivalent is - from a nearby planet?


    Legend has it that Pink Floyd played a 1971 show at the Crytal Palace Bowl which was reportedly so loud that it killed most of the fish in the adjoining lake (though other reports place the blame on a malfunctioning smoke flare-powered giant inflatable octopus, which had become damaged by numerous hippies blundering about inside said lake.)


    ? ;)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report

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