A Great Sound for a Great Gig

Last week I saw Belle & Sebastian at The Roundhouse in London. I can honestly say that it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. First of all it had the factors that all great gigs seem to share:

  • It contained a good mixture of songs from the whole of their career – singles, album tracks, old and new (unlike some people)
  • The band seemed to really be enjoying themselves
  • So did the audience

There were also a couple of surprises thrown in, from audience participation to a rendition of the Ski Sunday theme tune (!), which just added to the fun.

But one of the best things about it was the quality of the sound: it was the second best sounding gig I’ve ever been to (and first place is taken by another Belle & Sebastian gig I went to a few years ago). It was loud, but not so loud that the audio was distorted. It was loud, but not so loud that I left with my ears ringing. It was loud, but not so loud that you couldn’t distinguish the sound of each and every one of the thirteen (!!) people on stage.

I really wish more bands and engineers would take the time and effort to turn it down a little. You may be the world’s greatest lyricist, or a wonderful guitarist, but if your sound is indistinguishable from the rest of the mushy, distorted audio being forced through speakers which have no headroom left, you’re doing both yourself and your audience an injustice.

But huge thanks to B&S for a great gig and great sound. I’ll definitely try to catch you on your next tour.

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