Last night at the Swans gig the inevitable conversation started.
The conversation happened after the gig because it was impossible to talk during the show because of the sheer avalanche of noise but post show the debate started who is the loudest ever.
It’s oen of the biggest myths in rock music that loud is good, many powerful bands don’t opt for volume, but the visceral delight of the pure power of noise cannot be denied. This Top 10 is not scientific and it reflects the thoughts of everyone who joined in the debate…
The current Uk tour has been loud. So loud that two people feinted at the gig in Manchester and you could feel the hair on your arms move and the air in the room shake – this was not just for show – it was a really effective use of the brutal power of volume.
2. Sunn O
At their recent Manchester gig people actually attempted to talk to me during the band’s show – all I could see was their mouths moving and the bands volume felt like a blizzard…
3. My Bloody Valentine
The indie fans favourite and the band that gets mentioned in all the despatches about loudest band ever. When they played ATP recently an insider told us that MBV’s decibel level was less than that of Buzzcocks who played the same day. There is no denying that they are loud, especially during the noise section of ‘You Made Me Realise’ but compared to a metal or industrial band they may not be that loud…Mogwai were also mentioned in despatches…
Famously the band whose T shirt reads ‘everything louder than everyone else’ Motorhead are certainly pretty deafening, especially Lemmy’s legendary bass which tends to drown the rest of the band out.
6. The Who
The Who were the first band who got famous for playing loud – they invented the whole notion of volume in rock and it became the standard answer in ‘Who is the loudest band?’ for a whole generation of people who didn’t even know what hearing problems were. Guitarist Pete Townshend now has tinnitus.
It’s not necessarily rock or indie music that is the loudest, it’s a mistake to think that guitars are the loudest instrument – with the space of techno there is more opportunity to make high volume and Leftfeld have one of the highest recorded volumes of any gig ever.
Faintly silly metal outfit Manowar still have the highest decibel reading of any band recorded.
9. Sonic Youth
In our survey many people claimed that Sonic Youth were the loudest band they have ever heard. Certainly a loud band but maybe some of the people we surveyed have never been to a metal gig.
10. Spinal Tap
Must be the loudest band of all time because of their amp that went to 11 out of 10…