Saturday, November 11, 2006

I'm getting old

Last night I went to a concert. Two excellent, undiscovered Utah bands were playing, Allred and Rated Hero. We're talking about high-quality musicians in a crappy venue for $5. What could be better?

...

OK, I'll tell you, in a roundabout way. Rock concerts are infamously loud. I guess we're supposed to like having our ears blasted out or something. A while ago, I decided that while I would persist in going to rock concerts, I also valued my hearing. The device that would reconcile these two conflicting agendas was ear plugs. With little bits of foam rubber jammed into my ears, I'm able to actually hear what I'm listening to. The harsh edge created by too much volume is removed, and when the show is over, I can still hear. Beautiful!

But here's the thing: last night, the five-buck venue's system couldn't handle the load. They cranked it up so loud that the speakers themselves distorted the sound into an unrecognizable mishmash of static and noise. Ear plugs may have reduced the volume to a listenable level, but they couldn't fix the distorted output.That's right: I paid $5 to listen to music that I couldn't even really hear that well because it was cranked up too loud.

So, what could be better? Turn that racket down, ya durn whippersnappers! Come back here with my false teeth!

Anyway, it was still a great show, distortion and all. I just long for a day when rock culture will allow bands to take it down a couple notches, to where we can listen and enjoy with our naked ears. That day may not be too far off; I've noticed that most bands also value their hearing, and wear earplugs too. But the kicker, the true irony, and the biggest sign that the days of insane volume are numbered, is a sign that is popping up at the counters of venues in at least two states. It reads, "Earplugs: $0.50".

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