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Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack #2888727 11/05/17 10:30 PM
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I played a wedding in Palm Springs this weekend. The bride and groom had been clear from the beginning that noise was an issue at this venue, and apparently recent ordinances codified the issue.

Anyway, we set up, decibel-checked, and prepared to play a very quiet series of songs for the idle rich.

The officiant arrived with his own PA. During the ceremony, BL said, "Funny, he's louder than we are going to be." As the ceremony progressed, a head kept peeking over the wall from next door. That was apparently where the noise-complaining neighbor lived.

Ceremony ends. We get the nod from the party planner, and start playing v-e-e-e-r-r-r-r-y quietly. LITERALLY as we start the first song, another event person comes over and says, "Hold off, the police are here."

We hold off.

Party planner comes over and says, "I have to pull the plug. The neighbor complained. They are citing us right now. No music tonight."

So we become the first band ever to be shut down for excessive noise, before ever playing a song.

We actually did end up playing a bit, later on. The bride marched next door in her wedding dress and told the complainer how it was. So we got about 5 songs in, late enough in the party that it wouldn't do anyone any good to complain. The guests kept telling us to turn up. How is that for a first at a wedding?

With tip, we each made almost four figures for this event. By my calculations, that's $200/song.

This is OK with me.

One for the books....


"
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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: MathOfInsects] #2888728 11/05/17 10:40 PM
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There's a venue that has had live music for decades. They built a Homewood Suites right next door, and guests started complaining about the noise. Cops out enough that they said next time they had to come out they'd be shut down. So sound guys had to keep the volume really low, which of course seriously affects the sound as well. No chest thumping bass for the dancers. Just sucks that someone can basically come in and shut down your business when you've been doing the same things for so long.


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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: J. Dead] #2888748 11/06/17 04:42 AM
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They're awful good sports about it if they tipped you after all that.

Was this in a private residence? Those can get really tricky - especially in the evening when noise ordinances kick in. I've seen some hosts invite the neighbors over to hopefully get around the problem that way.

I remember one where it was just me - no louder than the background music that was being played at the pool while I was setting up.

When the cops arrived, I thought "wow that's harsh".

I found out later that the homeowners had been at each other's throats for years. Another day another fight for those two.

When something happens that seems really unreasonable, there's often a back story that explains it all.

Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: Bill H.] #2888750 11/06/17 05:27 AM
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Friend of mine had a solo gig on Friday and a member of the audience asked him to turn down so he could make a phone call.


So many drummers, so little time.
Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: Lee T] #2888751 11/06/17 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted By: Lee T
Friend of mine had a solo gig on Friday and a member of the audience asked him to turn down so he could make a phone call.


Haven't had that, but I was in a band where the BL was a real dickhead in the most entertaining and delightful way. If somebody would try to get our attention in the middle of a song to make a request, he would stop the whole band, stop the song, and announce over the mic to the crowd that somebody has a question, and then ask the interrupting party what is so important. Ultimately hundreds of people would get pissed at the guy who stopped the show, and it discouraged others from doing the same.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: MathOfInsects] #2888754 11/06/17 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted By: MaskOfInsects
With tip, we each made almost four figures for this event. By my calculations, that's $200/song.


Except, of course, you play for free. You get paid to set up and tear down. (c) clpete.

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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: J. Dead] #2888755 11/06/17 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted By: J. Dan
Just sucks that someone can basically come in and shut down your business when you've been doing the same things for so long.


This is a real problem in the UK right now...

Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: stoken6] #2888756 11/06/17 07:45 AM
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This is business as usual in my town. Small provincial town in Italy full of old people, the clubs are in the city center so there's always a neighbor on the top floor calling the police because he can't sleep.

There's just not a culture of live music as a form of decent entertainment, or even art.
Music is what you hear inside theatres. Everything else is noise that prevents honest people from sleeping.
I've seen a café having to stop an ACOUSTIC JAZZ CONCERT at 9 PM. No joking.

Besides, of course there are grudges and wars going on, so certain neighbors will simply call the police automatically every night, after 10 or 11 PM.
More often than not, there is not even live music, they complain of the noise of people chatting and drinking outside the clubs.

Guess why every time I travel to a music-conscious country (like US or the Netherlands), I feel I'm in heaven...

Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: nickd] #2888762 11/06/17 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted By: nickd
Originally Posted By: J. Dan
Just sucks that someone can basically come in and shut down your business when you've been doing the same things for so long.


This is a real problem in the UK right now...


Yup. A whole bunch of great and historic venues in Edinburgh are now closed due to noise complaints from neighbours.

MOI, stories like that at weddings annoy me. Those poor couples that aren't told by the venue that they have strict neighbours/sound limiters...I'd rather the police came and shut the thing down than the power was automatically cut by a sound limiter though. The latter just makes the band look bad, where as if the police come everyone can see it's out of the band's hands.

There are certain venues in Scotland now that some wedding bands will simply refuse to play at. At a particularly notorious venue in Glasgow we decided to run our gear off of a couple of power exensions that we ran through to the kitchen. The limiter only affected mains power on the stage. The staff and neighbours were none the wiser. Not a single complaint the whole night, even though the limiter light was often in the red. The little limiter light told us that the sound would have been cut off during the first dance - which was just acoustic guitar and vocals.

Why some venues allow themselves to be advertised as live (or even recorded) music venues is beyond me.

Last edited by Nadread; 11/06/17 10:05 AM.

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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: Spider76] #2888773 11/06/17 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted By: Spider76


Besides, of course there are grudges and wars going on, so certain neighbors will simply call the police automatically every night, after 10 or 11 PM.
More often than not, there is not even live music, they complain of the noise of people chatting and drinking outside the clubs.

This happened a few years ago at a little bar/restaurant near the beach here in SoCal. The city council was reviewing the venue's conditional use permit (ability to sell booze), and turned down their renewal due to 245 complaints having been logged at the police dept. during the previous year. It turned out that it was the same person calling all 245 times - a woman who rented a house across the street. Her daughter used to hang out at the bar,and the mother would call to complain because she wanted her home. Didn't matter. They still lost their license and shut down.


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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: Wastrel] #2888778 11/06/17 12:23 PM
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Love it. grin


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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: vonnor] #2888787 11/06/17 01:21 PM
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The IDLE RICH fighting each other over real estate and acoustical atmosphere. And we are in the crosshairs. This is what it's come to. frown


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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: Bill H.] #2888791 11/06/17 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bill H.
They're awful good sports about it if they tipped you after all that.

Was this in a private residence? Those can get really tricky - especially in the evening when noise ordinances kick in. I've seen some hosts invite the neighbors over to hopefully get around the problem that way.


It was a fancy luxury cottage at the base of a mountain in Palm Springs. I believe it is associated with a larger luxury resort there.

As I understand it, piecing together stuff: The next door neighbor and a couple of other members of the "HOA" (not that it seemed like we were in a development of any kind, but I guess we were) had made this place their vendetta, and had successfully lobbied to have the noise ordinance changed to basically prohibit any use of the cottage for its (INTENDED) purpose, which was exactly weddings and the like. But the cottage had a bunch of stuff on on the books, and is honoring everything they've already booked, and then no more. So the process of 1) having an affair there, and 2) getting reported by the next door neighbor, and 3) getting cited by the cops for violating the new ordinance, was apparently familiar to all involved.

The couple had rented out a local club for late-dancing to a DJ so they could get loud; we were just the pre-game show. But it was a 6-hour booking, so in theory we were to have played the full monty there--just very quietly--before the drunk rich folks piled into shuttles to finish it off at the club.

When we showed up, the bride repeated how quiet we'd need to be. It was no problem, we sound-checked literally below conversation level. The Officiant did us in with his PA; the ceremony was right next to the Next Door Neighbor's house, and that's the guy who peeked over the fence and complained.

The bride FELT BAD FOR US, if you can believe it, and walked next door with her long-trained wedding dress to say, "This is my wedding, I hired them because I like them, why do you want to ruin someone's wedding day? Let them play and we'll all be gone in an hour or two anyway."

We played the "dances," which they did adorably right in front of the band, since the volume was so low that's where they had to do them. We got called off again because the cops were back to check on the levels (on their own, because of before). When the end of the night was nigh, the party planner came over and said, "The couple says there is nothing to lose at this point from you guys playing, they've already been cited and the party is going to end. Why don't you go play a bit for them." So we popped off a couple more songs.

Bride came over and APOLOGIZED, and also apologized for the small tip they were giving us, which she said had been put into envelopes in advance, and she promised to "take care of us" at another time. That's usually the kiss of death, but as it turns out, the "small" tip was $300, so no complaints here. In fact, even though it paid well, all the pay was in advance, so it was kind of a bummer to feel like we were going to be playing for "free." That bit of cash on hand made it feel like we were "paid"--which is a dumb psychological quirk, since the "real" pay was quite generous, almost a grand a piece. But money spent is invisible, money in hand is real.


"
Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: MathOfInsects] #2888797 11/06/17 02:49 PM
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We haven't done any weddings (we are semi-pro weekend warriors) but we sure have had our own issues with noise. We have an acoustic drummer so right there you are up against it for playing quiet; fortunately he's good enough and willing enough to lay off and not be a caveman and the tunes still have energy.

Definitely volume seems to be way more of an issue these days than it was even when I made my "comeback" five years ago. Certainly it's more of an issue that when I played in the 80s/early 90s the first time around.

We have gotten good at playing at low volumes, and it helps that none of us have actual amps if you ever get the dreaded "you have to turn down" from the manager. Most of these gigs are repeat gigs, we know the drill and start off as quiet as we can be in the first place. Honestly, to put myself into a patron's shoes--I get it. I hate going out and shouting at the people I'm sitting with when I see a band. As a bonus, we've picked up a couple good gigs when other bands refused to play quiet enough for the manager smile

Last edited by Stokely; 11/06/17 02:49 PM.
Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: MathOfInsects] #2888802 11/06/17 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted By: MaskOfInsects


As I understand it, piecing together stuff...


Thanks for the story Math - good read on this rainy morning smile Glad it all worked out for you guys.

Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: nadroj] #2888817 11/06/17 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted By: Nadroj
Those poor couples that aren't told by the venue that they have strict neighbours/sound limiters....
My daughter's wedding–they rented a house/venue that caters to weddings. My 2 brothers play music (1 is a pro player and his lady is a pro singer), my son also plays a few instruments and has been in bands. There were a few other musicians in the party. I brought the PA and we set up all the gear to have a wonderful celebratory family and friends jam. Before we started, we find out there's a noise ordinance and the closest neighbor has already called to complain. We didn't get to do the jam or any music at all, even recorded. I didn't want to make a scene at my daughter's wedding, but I thought for all the money they were paying for the venue, that the venue did not mention the noise ordinance and the complaining neighbor to me constituted fraud - taking money under false pretenses. I never did anything about it but if anyone ever asked me, I would tell them under no circumstances should they book that venue for any function.

Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: El Lobo] #2888820 11/06/17 05:18 PM
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Then there are the situations when cops are called, and it doesn't quite go the complainant's way:


Background story

and...

York Region police officer freestyle raps after arriving for noise complaint.

Maybe that's just our Canadian way, though. wink


"Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them."
Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: El Lobo] #2888824 11/06/17 05:39 PM
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Ha, that's awesome.

So, all through my 20s and early 30s, I was in bands that would play lots of house parties, and I can't count the number of times the police shut us down, threatening to take our equipment away if they came back. I've yet to hear of a single case of them actually doing that, but we'd all have a laugh and say the police are going to help us with tear-down and load-out, sweet!

Anyway, the punchline. At one of these parties, we stopped at like 8pm, put all the instruments away, and everyone went to a restaurant to chow down. So the cops show up at an empty house, no noise, no band, no people, and left this note taped to the front door.

Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: OB Dave] #2888826 11/06/17 05:54 PM
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Damn that's a nice payday though!


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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: OB Dave] #2888839 11/06/17 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted By: OB Dave
Ha, that's awesome.

So, all through my 20s and early 30s, I was in bands that would play lots of house parties, and I can't count the number of times the police shut us down, threatening to take our equipment away if they came back. I've yet to hear of a single case of them actually doing that, but we'd all have a laugh and say the police are going to help us with tear-down and load-out, sweet!

Anyway, the punchline. At one of these parties, we stopped at like 8pm, put all the instruments away, and everyone went to a restaurant to chow down. So the cops show up at an empty house, no noise, no band, no people, and left this note taped to the front door.


rumors abound that a couple times it was the band that called the cops so the could gtfo and go party with pay. (i'm not sayin ...)


The baiting I do is purely for entertainment value. Please feel free to ignore it.
Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: MotiDave] #2888843 11/06/17 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted By: MotiDave
Originally Posted By: OB Dave
Ha, that's awesome.

So, all through my 20s and early 30s, I was in bands that would play lots of house parties, and I can't count the number of times the police shut us down, threatening to take our equipment away if they came back. I've yet to hear of a single case of them actually doing that, but we'd all have a laugh and say the police are going to help us with tear-down and load-out, sweet!

Anyway, the punchline. At one of these parties, we stopped at like 8pm, put all the instruments away, and everyone went to a restaurant to chow down. So the cops show up at an empty house, no noise, no band, no people, and left this note taped to the front door.


rumors abound that a couple times it was the band that called the cops so the could gtfo and go party with pay. (i'm not sayin ...)


That's genius. I'm using it.


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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: MotiDave] #2888845 11/06/17 07:43 PM
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We apparently have the same guy who always makes it a point to be at our soundcheck to an empty echoing room and tell us it's too loud every time we play this retirement community. I actually sent the band leader an email with a joke "You guys are Too Loud!"-545PM a week before the event. Sure enough Mr Too Loud shows up at 543 Sat- 17 minutes before the venue opens and this time has a decibel meter. We of course never get a single volume complaint when the venue is full of people. It's not a loud band anyway. It's the same BS when someone is checking a mic or a bass drum or snare. One thing by itself is loud and annoying- so you get people saying "That's too loud!!" But in the context of the rest of the band, or when a venue is full of people is Not Loud. The Bozo has no business being there anyway and was asked to leave.

Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: Sven Golly] #2888858 11/06/17 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted By: Sven Golly
Then there are the situations when cops are called, and it doesn't quite go the complainant's way:


Background story


and...

York Region police officer freestyle raps after arriving for noise complaint.

Maybe that's just our Canadian way, though. wink


like like coffee Not bad, not bad at all. laugh

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 11/06/17 09:17 PM.

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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: Mighty Motif Max] #2888924 11/07/17 09:26 AM
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Nice money MOI! I feel bad for the bride though. Pretty cool how she handled everything.

I was playing a gig earlier this year at a restaurant/bar and the owner told us there's a town decibel ordinance and that if he gets fined he'll fine the band $100. I had a bad reaction to this as it wasn't what I agreed to when I took the gig. If those were the terms we should have been told in advance so we could have declined the gig. It was the idiot restaurant owner's fault, not the bandleader's. I told the bandleader I'll finish this gig and the other two I've got on my calendar but won't take any new gigs at this venue. What really bothered me was that we were a jazz trio and not loud at all. The bandleader did a few more gigs there without me and eventually told the restaurant owner to f@$% off. Seemed like an appropriately ugly ending.

Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: Al Quinn] #2888930 11/07/17 10:39 AM
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Problem is when you are told to turn to down at any point that is where it can really hurt a band. People get paranoid of being too loud and you can't put your best foot forward.


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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: JohnH] #2888937 11/07/17 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted By: JohnH
It's the same BS when someone is checking a mic or a bass drum or snare. One thing by itself is loud and annoying- so you get people saying "That's too loud!!" But in the context of the rest of the band, or when a venue is full of people is Not Loud.

This.

We dealt with this exact issue all the time. And we were not a loud band, either.

One time, at one of the last times we played a certain bar, our guitar player (and sound tech) was checking his guitar, and a patron complained. Guitar player (after several years of hearing these complaints at this venue) had enough, and says, "What? I'm a musician, I'm f***ing deaf!!"

Didn't matter, we knew we were going to be done playing there soon anyway, due to other issues (mainly drunk bar owners complaining that we were too expensive, yet they kept hiring us). confused


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Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: Skinny] #2888943 11/07/17 11:34 AM
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I've got some great ones. A Wedding venue with a glass Garden Atrium. We had to set up on a balcony and split the band because the Bride would be entering from a door behind us and going down a middle staircase. Then we had to all plug into a direct box which fed some small speakers hidden in the fake trees in the room. We begged to keep our monitors. Best part was when the Best man was doing his toast a Motorcycle Group went by on the street right outside the Atrium and drowned him out. We wound up cranking the monitors and facing them to the crowd when the dancing started. People kept looking up at us and asking us to turn up.
Or when doing a solo in an upscale neightborhood where the owner was a contractor and had set up a huge tent attached to his house. Sure enough the neighbor complained, cops came and threatened a fine. Home owner asked if I could cut the bass. I said "Sure" cut it down and it sounded like S***. Owner said "screw that I'm paying 20K in property taxes here so let them fine me." No problems the rest of the night.
Lastly when someone comes up to me while I'm playing keyboard softly and says " can you turn it down , we can't talk"
I answer "We're talking now aren't we?" Blank stare and they walk away.
Sometimes if they can hear you at all its too loud.

Last edited by Keysguy; 11/07/17 11:37 AM.
Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: nadroj] #2888948 11/07/17 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted By: Nadroj
I'd rather the police came and shut the thing down than the power was automatically cut by a sound limiter though.

[....]

The little limiter light told us that the sound would have been cut off during the first dance - which was just acoustic guitar and vocals.

This must be a UK phenomenon with a "limiter" that automatically cuts power like this. I've never heard of this in the USA – although the venues I play are typically music clubs & theaters in non-residential areas so maybe I've managed to avoid seeing this.

Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: Keysguy] #2888950 11/07/17 11:48 AM
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What I like is when they put the "grandparents' table" right next to the bandstand. Good planning there! wacko

Re: Crazy Gig: When Noise Police Attack [Re: Outkaster] #2888968 11/07/17 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted By: Outkaster
Problem is when you are told to turn to down at any point that is where it can really hurt a band. People get paranoid of being too loud and you can't put your best foot forward.


That, and it's really hard nigh on impossible to just "turn down" a PA and have it still sound ok, especially if stage volume is an issue. It's less of an issue for us now but there's still acoustic drums to consider. He's good enough and willing to back off the sticks and that's all we can do. I've played with drummers that can't or won't do this. Some will try to be quiet but can't maintain the groove and energy. One pro fill-in guy played incredibly quietly yet with energy, it was amazing. I was 6 feet from him on a quiet stage and with my non-custom IEMs (that normally let enough drums in via bleed that I don't need to put them in my mix) couldn't hear him at all. He had to go in my IEM mix grin

Unfortunately the cries of "too loud, turn down" from management have typically come after we've started playing, so any adjustments have to be done during the set, which really sucks.

This is all why we play as quiet as possible from the start. Doesn't affect me as I'm direct with IEMs and can bang on keys as hard as I want LOL!

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