1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Have you ever been shut down due to noise complaints?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by TexasHeat, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. Big Angus

    Big Angus Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2020
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    My latest was really more of an "Earthquake Complaint"...

    So my old upstairs neighbors were great! They had a very opinionated dog and would audibly, uhhh, let's say, "express their affection for one another" on the reg. Accordingly there was sort of an implicit truce between us -- I don't complain about any of that and they let me bring the funk the way god intended for an hour or so a day.

    The new neighbors are much more conscientious, which has pros and cons... No more dogs shouting about how 9/11 was an inside job at 5 A.M., but much less patience for the raw, tectonic power of a P-bass. I have thus been politely yet firmly asked to stop shaking their apartment and get a nice pair of head phones.

    (for the record, I am happy to comply -- Big Angus doesn't want to disturb anyone, I can just be a little overly enthusiastic at times...)
    Mr_Moo and Criswell60 like this.
  2. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1 Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    The only other time we were shut down wasn't by the police, but by our drummer's dad. We rehearsed in a small house on their property that he let us gut and use for such things as partying. We were in our early twenties, back when we had to play at concert volumes, when all of the sudden the power went out. We thought we blew a breaker until his dad walked in with the power meter in one hand, and a pistol in the other. He threatened to shoot all of our gear if we didn't stop playing so loud. I think he meant it too. He put the meter back on and came in with his signature 64oz crown royal and we kicked in with some old country, to which he approved, and told us if we played more of that he would be more lenient. We had a good laugh about that night.
    Mr_Moo, The Owl and mikewalker like this.
  3. Criswell60


    Apr 7, 2020
    Up until recently, I spent 20 years in a Rock cover band, mainly working pubs, clubs, wedding venues and corporate events. Had many a request to turn down... which we always complied with (but then gradually turned ever so subtly back up over course of the evening... naughty, I know but we were NOT a loud band by nature).

    One wedding venue tops the rest for this issue: a beautiful converted stonewall hall that had a stage, lighting and contracted provision for live music. It also had the dreaded 'decibel meter'!

    This decibel meter was set to cut the mains circuit to stage, lighting and most of the hall if it peaked beyond set conditions... not a clever move! We set up as normal, got 4 bars into the first song (the wedding dance number!) and all the electrics tripped and cut out: we had no idea about the decibel meter... neither did the couple who had booked us. Cue lots of groping around in the dark for both band and audience (and cue immature giggling from readers).

    Fortunately, the lead singer / rhythm guitarist was an electrical logistics engineer... logically traced around until he found the fuse box and got things running again... remember, no one knew about the decibel meter and this idiotic setup.

    Off we start again, wedding dance song... 4 bars... and off the electrics go. Band, audience and particularly the wedding couple are extremely pissed off!

    We figure out the possible existence of the dreaded decibel meter, and begin furious battle with the wretched thing: we play at half volume... no dice... we play the quietest we ever have, ruining the ambience and reason for HAVING a rock band booked... nope, ain't happening. The decibel meter was apparently set to detect sound levels consummate with a mouse's whisker touching a bass string or looking too hard at a drum skin. It was ridiculous... a singer / songwriter style acoustic solo player simply breathing hard would have set this thing off! We tried... we really did!

    To the rescue, from the steamy recesses of the backstage area, arrives one of the kitchen staff working there: "Happens all the time mate... if you plug the band into the kitchen mains, it can't cut you out..."! Hooray!

    After a frantic search for a long 4 way mains extension adapter from all the locals, we plugged into kitchen mains, and musical, professional and audience harmony was achieved once more!!

    Played there again a few years later... plugged straight into the other mains circuit... and proceeded to chuckle at our genius and play just a BIT louder, for a sense of universal balance.

    (Sorry for the rambling, shaggy dog story... brought back some funny memories!)
    Giffro, Mr_Moo, The Owl and 3 others like this.
  4. Gees - how loud were you??? :roflmao:
  5. TemplesOfSyrinx

    TemplesOfSyrinx Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    The moment the police showed up to shut us down at 5:30 in the afternoon. We found out later that someone had a beef with the owner of the establishment we were playing at, so every time a band played he would call in complaints until they got shut down.
    Mr_Moo and Jimmy4string like this.
  6. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    At a college house party for some reason they had a couple bands. My band played in the basement, we weren't super loud, no cop problems. For some reason, the next band set up in the driveway. Middle of their first song, the police roll up and shut it down. Shame because they were damned good and I was really feeling their first tune...
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  7. Years ago our band practice was pretty much a party for the band.
    One night I got to the drummers house and the drummer was moving his kit to the next door back yard.
    It seems the neighbors had invited him to a party, so he just volunteered the band to play.
    Hey, we were going to be playing for nothing anyway and the burgers and free beer was a bonus.
    After a couple of hours the local PD showed up.
    It seems there was no complaint.
    They were just driving down the road a quarter mile away and heard us. :laugh:
    jchrisk1 and Mr_Moo like this.
  8. Yeah...pretty much kicked out.....surprised we got paid.....never axed back.
  9. acleex38


    Jul 28, 2006
    You mean, other than at my wedding reception? (Cops shutting the DJ off 10 minutes early due to noise complaint is one of my proudest moments).

    Maybe 8 years ago or so, we had a regular "patio gig" at a pizza joint in a college town. A local complained about the noise we were making. According to the cops, a.) the complaint came from a neighborhood well outside of ANY ability to hear us (and there was college housing between us and her neighborhood), b.) the responding cop couldn't even hear us from inside his car, less than 100 yards away (car window open).

    Our theory was that the lady had an axe to grind with the restaurant for some reason, knew they had live music, and some college kids were partying closer to her home. So she blamed the band and called the police (and did so enough that even though they admitted it couldn't have been us, they had to ask us to cut off anyway) to mess with the restaurant.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  10. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    Hmmm...had numerous rehearsals told to turn down or shut down with various bands and locals since the late 60's but never had a performance stopped.

    Back in 1971 the nightclub touring group I was in did play an acoustically weird room that was built like a stadium inside with tables at about 6 different levels. So it was really a tall room and the top row was far closer to the ceiling. I was playing through my Standel piggy-back amp at the time which was an extremely loud amp (louder than an acoustic 360/361 or an SVT 810), but I had played it enough to set the volume no higher than #3 on the dial when playing indoors. Only got told to turn down 3 times in a row before our female vocalist checked it out and said folks were getting blasted up there.

    Sound wasn't that loud directly in front at the dance floor and stage volume was too low to hear well, but it was killer at the top level. Ended up dialing it down to #2 (about 8 o'clock) at that locale because the sound was really blasting those on top set at #3 (9 o'clock). It was very difficult to play at those low levels because stage volume was so low and no one had monitors or FOH back then. We had a Kustom twin-tower PA which we used strictly for vocals. But we filled the place up 5-nights a week for 2-weeks before we moved on to the next venue.

    That's about as close as I've come to being told to stop because of noise levels.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  11. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Music will carry pretty well over water.:D
  12. dadglasser


    Oct 11, 2009
    I saw Eddie and Martha Adcock:

    Eddie Adcock, Award-winning Banjoist and Bluegrass Artist

    in Chico, CA at the Chico Women's Club. Great show and a really funny guy. He said that he'd had a couple of times where a club owner or manager would always be signalling him to turn down. He finally cut off a wine bottle cork and glued it to the upper bout of his guitar. From then on, when he saw the "turn down" gesture, he'd pretend to twiddle the cork. He said he'd inevitably get the thumbs-up from whoever was bothering him. Once a manager came by after the show and thanked him for cooperating.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  13. The first time I was shut down due to noise complaints was on July 4th 1976 in a suburban backyard. The police responded several times before shutting us down altogether and I believe they said the bass could be heard from far far away.
    The last time was in a giant backyard with tennis courts and sports courts in a partner of a giant law firm's property The cops spent a fair amount of time trying to locate the source of the noise since all of the homes in the area had huge yards and they kept driving up and down streets listening.
    Our guitarist thought we had permission from the cops to play one more song so he cranks up his amp and gets through about the first two bars of "Burning Love" when the cops literally shut him down.
  14. red_rhino

    red_rhino Artful Dodger Gold Supporting Member

    If you haven't been shut down for playing too loud, you're doing it wrong!
    Giffro, TexasHeat and Pauly 4001 like this.
  15. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    We played a guys 40th birthday party at a pub where we played quite regularly. He had a marquee set up in the car park for us to play in because the rooms in the pub are tiny. It was Saturday night so we timed our sets so we finished just before midnight.

    We finished our last song and the birthday boy comes staggering up with a fist full of notes and offers to double our money if we play another set, well how could we refuse!

    About 4 songs in a guy from the Environmental Health dept. walks in with his db meter and informs us that they've had complaints from the neighbours and we are too loud and have to stop.

    By this time the birthday boy is so drunk I don't think he noticed that we had stopped playing, he never came to complain if he did.

    I think I was about 62 y.o. when this happened. :bassist:
    Giffro, Mr_Moo and The Owl like this.
  16. Far too many times to list, or even remember.

    It is galling when the stereo between sets is louder than the band. People.
    Giffro and Mr_Moo like this.
  17. At least a dozen, from house parties to outdoor concerts to clubs to wedding receptions.

    Funniest story was a wedding reception where some old bat said the band was too loud. So we turned down. Then she came back and said the bass was too loud. So I turned down, then she came right back and said bass was still too loud, so I turned my amp down as low as it would go, and she still complained, even though I could hear my amp on stage. So I shut the amp off and here she comes again. "Lady - see that little red thing on my amp? That's the power light. When the amp is on it is lit. You don't see it lit do you? You don't hear it make any sound do you? Here is what it looks like lit (Turn on amp, then turn it off) So what are you complaining about?" Band leader comes over and tells her "we turned down and you didn't like it. We got paid already so we are quitting, and you can tell the bride what you did." Groom comes back in right at that time, with a ***, and asks us WTH is going on. BL points to old bat, and tells the story. Groom says,"she's not even in the family- she came with a friend of family. Ignore her and turn up!"
    Giffro, Mr_Moo and Pauly 4001 like this.
  18. basted


    Jul 22, 2017
    Hobart , Tasmania
    We have played outdoors at a party for a friend of ours who has a pool with a big deck around it in a fancy suburb. Two cops came and told her we had to turn down or they would confiscate our gear. She came down and said to us its all cool keep playing. An hour later five cops showed up and shut us down mid song.
    We played there again last Saturday night and felt disappointed that the cops didn't come.
    Another time we were setting up to play at a Yacht club. The Commodore came over and told the drummer to turn down his kettle drum?!?
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
    Giffro and Mr_Moo like this.
  19. LOL - I did a back yard party - cops show up and sat and listened to a few tunes, before telling us to turn down or shut down. One of the cops was engaged, and he used the call to audition us for his reception. We got the gig.
    Mr_Moo, jeffbrown, Splash7 and 2 others like this.
  20. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Richmond , Va
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 3, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.