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"You're TOO LOUD !!!" "You guys are the GREATEST..."

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by THORRR, Jan 19, 2014.


    THORRR Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    Parker, Colorado
    It never fails . . . Every gig I have ever played in the past half-century has had two things in common.

    Someone ALWAYS comes up and says either to the band or one of the players:
    "You're too LOUD" or "Can you please TURN IT DOWN a notch?" It never fails.

    and at the end of the night right after the last song:
    "You guys are the GREATEST" or "You're the best band I ever heard!" or something to that effect.

    The crazy thing is that even when the band SUCKS, someone will still come up with "You guys are TERRIFIC"
    What does this all mean? It means you can (and SHOULD) completely ignore these comments.

    First of all, both of these types are unqualified to make these comments. They're not sound engineers.
    They're not musicians. They just have an opinion.

    While the band may be too loud for one person's taste, doesn't mean the band is too loud overall.
    And you can't change the band for one person in a crowded room. As in all things, remember, you can't please everybody.

    Simply smile and say, "Okay, we'll turn that down for you" - they'll walk away happy and then you can get back
    to the business of making the music you so diligently learned to do at practice. Bottom line: YOU know better
    than they do how you should sound.

    As to the person (usually very inibriated) who says you guys are the best . . . . simply thank them, and dismiss their comment.
    Especially if you know the band sucked that night. Go back home and practice some more and leave your ego at the club.

    One time I played a gig with a seriously bad-sounding group, who were sloppy and out of tune most of the time.
    I was embarrassed to be playing with them. I cringed at every tune. And STILL, at the end of the night, this chick
    stumbles up to the bandstand, and with a big drunken smile proclaimed: "You guys were GREAT tonight - the BEST I ever heard!!!!"

    Where does all this leave us? IMHO we, as professionals, know how we're supposed to sound.
    We as professionals know how to play, and when a club hires us they know who they're hiring and how they should sound.

    Do what you do best, and do it well. Leave the comments and criticisms from individuals in the audience at the club and
    use your own ears and guts to tell you how you sound.

    Trying to please every single member of an audience is a noble thought but an impossible and frustrating task that can take
    the fun out of playing. Know your own mind and talent and use them to the best of your ability, and let the cards fall where they may.

    You'll enjoy playing out a whole lot more if you rely more on your talent, skill, taste, and experience to guide you along.

    Happy Playing! :hyper::bassist::D:cool:

    - THORRR
  2. For the most part , the "Please turn down" thing is a matter of personal preference. I (we)are not playing for one patron in the bar so here's my take on turn down. If it's the club owner or head bartender that's asking , yup , the volume goes down. These are the guys hiring and paying us and I want them to have us back (most of the time anyway.) If someone I know really well that I know has a good ear for it says we are too loud , I will usually turn down. I can't always hear the room from the stage and there are some people i trust with this information. If it's a patron , I'll tell them OK , go to the amp or board ,look like I'm doing something and leave everything where it was. I can't think of any time I've done this that the person made a second request.
    As to the drunk (or sober) person at the end of the night telling you that you were the greatest band they ever heard , (whether you think you sucked that night or not) A simple "Thank you" is all that's ever required.:bassist:
    StuartV likes this.
  3. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    9 out of 10 times if someone tells the bass player they are too loud, they need to dial back their mids.

    As for those telling a band they are terrific, most are drunk, but you must also keep in mind that most anything sounds good to non musical types, especially if they can pat their foot and/or dance to it.
  4. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    "Can you please turn down?" = "I'm trying to talk on my phone / hit on someone/ be the center of attention, etc. and your music is distracting from that.

    "You guys are the greatest!" = "I've had a great time tonight, and am really drunk!"

    That is all.
  5. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    If you are constantly being to told to turn down, guess what? You're too loud. I have been gigging since 1978 and of all the bands I have been in, there has only been one situation where the band was told to turn down. There is no need to kill people with volume. Being too loud will drive the audience to the exit just as quickly as bad playing will.
    StuartV likes this.
  6. huckleberry1


    Jul 1, 2013
    Mesquite, Texas
    We had a singer keep turning down our female singer who is phenomenal, awkward...
  7. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Kmonk is right on. I've been in bars where the bands were way over the top with volume. As a musician, I need my ears to work, and have no problem telling a band to turn the !@#$ down. I appreciate it when they do, and take to the street when they don't. I've seen many shows ruined by bands that play offensively loud. When we're told we're too loud we listen.
    StuartV likes this.
  8. I would argue that the audience in general has a MUCH BETTER idea of what the appropriate volume is than the band. They are your audience. Listen to them.
    StuartV likes this.
  9. VarlotTheHarlot


    Dec 12, 2013
    I'm a musician and I don't drink, so If I tell a band they were good or better than last time it's not because I'm
    Drunk it's because they were good.
    They like to hear it anyway.
    And if a band isn't listening to their fans, they won't go far- fans buy your album/merch and tickets to your gigs- if it weren't for them you wouldn't be getting paid or getting put on stage by promoters.
    Maybe listening to them a little bit is a good idea?
  10. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia

    Too loud is often actually worse than bad or sloppy playing or poor material choice.
    Much of what makes us cringe goes unnoticed or gets completely forgotten by bar patrons.

    If the band is too loud, you will see people leaving, usually the women first, quickly followed by the men trying to take them home.

    I can't begin to count the times I've been going into a venue to check out another band and been passed by a group of women leaving and commenting on how "******* loud" the band was.

    As far as the 'you're the greatest' comments, just say a big heartfelt thanks and enjoy the fact that you've done your thing well.
    Drunk or not, they pretty much always mean it, and deserve an honest and sincere thank you.
    It's common courtesy, and just plain makes everyone feel good, and costs nothing, so why not?
  11. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    Considering the fact that most musicians have had their hearing impaired through years of playing live and going to shows, i'd say the crowd is usually better aware of the proper volume you should play at. Personally if my ear is tickling, you're definitely too loud. And being too loud means your sound has no definition and i cant really hear what you're playing and its being a disservice to your music. Most bands do play too loud.
  12. Volume is a very specific thing. I've asked band to turn down some, probably because I didn't come to see them play, and no matter where I stand in the place I can't have a conversation with anyone. And most of them react the way much of you said you do. Then I go spend my money elsewhere.
  13. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    I mix our band from the stage. I don't get told we're too loud very often, but I do get a lot of advice from people "who used to be in a band back in the day", about the mix..."the bass/guitar/drums/vocals (delete as appropriate) need to come down a bit"...Last night, during the band break, the unofficial, self appointed bar room sound engineer was telling me about the EQ, compression and levels I needed to tweak the lead vocals. I nodded, told him I would fix it and waved my hands over the desk....got the thumbs up from him at the start of the second set...I hadn't done a goddam thing.

    We do get quite a few people saying we're the best band they've heard for ages, they may be drunk but since some of them are the bar owners who're telling us that while re-booking and others are people pulling out their wallets offering us private bookings I tend to believe them
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  14. peledog


    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Guitarists and their volume pedals - always messes up the onstage monitor mix - and the FOH - if the club/bar owner says to turn down, you turn down.

    When the club is packed, the sound guy will turn up the FOH a bit, when it's empty - the sound will come down.
  15. THORRR

    THORRR Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    Parker, Colorado
    One of the things I forgot to mention in the original post
    was something that happened at last nights gig.
    We were playing a country club celebration for new members - very upscale gig . . . and because of
    the advanced age of the patrons we started off playing super soft. In fact, if my bass were any softer, it would've been OFF!

    We were playing at a whisper - nothing radical or offensive.

    Wouldn't you know, we were asked to please turn it all down.
    We were stunned, since our overall volume was "living-room-soft" already. Incredible.

    That's what inspired me to start this thread for your feedback.
    Of course, we thanked them, and made believe we
    turned it down and all was fine after that. But at the low low volume we were at,
    their request was indeed ludicrous.

  16. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    Had that happen at a New Year's Levee, the PA was pulled down all the way, singer just sang AT the mic, drummer used brushes, and I played as softly as my barely on amp allowed, yet the old folks walked around with tissue stuck in their ears.
    I could hear the unamplified twang of strings over both of our amps.

    Not much you can do with that situation, except wait for break so you can read the book you brought (quietly).
  17. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    At one gig - outdoor party - my sister, and sister-in-law, within five minutes of each other made comments on my band's sound. My sister-in-law said it sounded great, perfect volume, etc. My sister said we were too loud. I asked my sister if she could give more detail of what she was hearing, was it one instrument or another or what. She said the vocals were "too piercing." We adjusted the EQ on the PA, took out a lot of the highs and a little of the mids, but left the volume as it was. "That's great! Perfect!"
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  18. Betrayer_Bass

    Betrayer_Bass Profanity Fish. Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    Endorsing: Spector basses, Winspear Picks, Spector Formula 603 strings
    Once at a gig, a friend of the band (with no musical inclinations) came up to the stage and told me "The bass sounds like crap!" So I told him to go talk to the sound guy, nothing to do with me. Left me feeling like crap for the rest of the set though, I was rockin' it before that. :(
    Mr. Lovejoy likes this.
  19. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    This is why we try only to play at clubs that feature live music, so the patrons are there to see a band and we don't feel like we're interrupting their conversations.
    abbub and D.M.N. like this.
  20. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef Formerly "thebrian" Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    But how many of you have been told to turn up? That's always nice.