Irish shoegaze legends My Bloody Valentine are consistently cited as one of the world's loudest bands. It's a difficult thing to measure and rank, of course: pure decibel measurements go some way to helping us but, by that metric, Manowar are the world's loudest band. There's some subjectivity to it. Standing in the crowd for an MC5 show some time in 1965 would probably feel louder than a Britney Spears show in Vegas today, regardless of what any handheld gadget might say. My Bloody Valentine, who have built a career on immersive, all-consuming noise, are, by any measure, terrifyingly loud.
It's with this in mind that we should read MBV drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig's letter to the Irish Times from last week. It's an eloquent note, opening with the idea that "An acceptance of muted culture is a dangerous place to be" before pivoting to talk about the sound levels at a show at Dublin's 3arena that, goddamnit, really should have been loud.
This is where I wanted to be at Black Sabbath last Friday and Neil Young a few months back. Instead I had to deal with the fact that the volume would not be turned up and the likelihood of reaching ecstasy was slim.
There's no reference in the letter itself to Ó Cíosóig's career as a drummer in A Very Loud Band; there's no suggestion that maybe he has an inhumanly high threshold for such things. What we get instead is a perfectly constructed letter from a man in his 50s, complaining that nobody is willing to test out orgasmic noise or let loose anymore.
I couldn't even mutter curses as it would have annoyed people around me!
Hell yeah. Read the letter in full here.
Photo via MBVOfficial on Instagram.
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