Wednesday, 10 May 2017

May #7: The Loudest Gig I Ever Went To




6. Silver Sun - Lava

 
Wednesday the 21st of October, 1998, I went down to a regular gig haunt of mine back in the day, to check out one of my favourite bands of the post-Britpop era: Silver Sun. (The way I see it, OK Computer marked the end of Britpop in '97, This Is Hardcore was the wake in '98. Everything that came after was post-Britpop. OK?) I went with Dave - one of the two Daves who accompanied me (though rarely at the same time) on 80% of my gig-going life, most of the remaining 20% being gigs I attended solo. When we got there though, we were surprised to discover that there was another band booked in the main room. The Cockpit wasn't the biggest of venues anyway; it had an arched corrigated iron ceiling like an aircraft hanger, but you'd have struggled to squeeze more than a couple of Airfix Spitfires in there. I can't remember who the other band were, nobody I'd heard of or wanted to see, certainly. But I do remember that we ended up in the Other Room, which was basically a bar and a couple of upturned buckets for a stage. Iffypedia tells me that the second room at The Cockpit had a capacity of 250 people: if so, so does my bathroom. Anyway, the point is... it was crowded. So crowded, I spent much of my time stood in the corridor that led to the sick-bucket toilets: partly through claustrophobia, partly to give my ears some release.   

I described Silver Sun as post-Britpop to differentiate them from the obvious guitar band suspects of that era, though in truth their sound wasn't Britpop at all, it was pure power pop. They made a hell of a racket, but a very tuneful one, full of hooks the size of sideboards and glorious harmonies nicked from the Beach Boys and the Byrds. I saw them live more than once, at bigger venues or festivals, but this was the smallest room I think I ever saw any band perform in... and cramming all that noise into such a tiny space took some doing.

My hearing isn't the best. Being hard of hearing runs in the family: both my parents have hearing aids, as does my older brother. I'm just counting the days (and trying to save up). But I reckon there's a little more to my deafness than just the hereditary: all those loud gigs I attended in the 90s must have had a little to do with it. So when I do need to get myself fitted for an ear trumpet... I'll be sending the bill to Silver Sun.
 




7 comments:

  1. A great band who I also saw several times, including my only ever visit to BBC's Maida Vale studios. Silver Sun were there to record some live tunes for broadcast and/or b-sides, but unfortunately James Broad had a stinker of a cold and sounded bloody awful. I don't think any of the recordings were ever used.
    I blame Bob Mould for my tinnitus. The joint loudest gigs I've ever been to would have to be Husker Du and Sugar.

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    1. I won tickets to see Morrissey at Maida Vale about 8 years ago. Broke my arm the week before so had to give them to some mates.

      (I am considering a series of posts called Great Gigs I Did Not See... Even Though I Had Tickets For Them.)

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    2. A series that would resonate with several of us I suspect. Go for it Rol.

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  2. Ryan Adams at the QMU , Glasgow - my ears were nearly bleeding
    Sugar were pretty loud too

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    1. RA was pretty quiet when I saw him. Curiously, Ocean Colour Scene left my ears ringing for a week.

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  3. Yes, a hell of a power pop racket, sounds good to me.
    Gigs and ears, though... worst time ever for me was standing right near a monitor once when Mr SDS' band were playing. The sound man seemed to have a gripe against them and I'm pretty sure he turned the volume up to an intolerable degree as a deliberate act of malice. Afterwards I felt like I was underwater for about three hours, everything was so muffled, I have never had my hearing impaired to such an extent - it was horrific! My ears recovered but Mr SDS's have never been the same since his gigging days. We will be a deaf generation!

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