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Maybe They Have Bat Ears | Manolo for the Big Girl

Maybe They Have Bat Ears

There’s a nice coffee house about two blocks from my house. It’s a pleasant, relaxed place to get a good cup of coffee or tea and a decent snack (everything from dainty madelines to hearty sandwiches, and an all-you-can-eat buffet on friday nights). Several clubs and organizations meet there regularly to discuss things like organic gardening, knitting, etc. In short, it’s a great neighborhood hangout.

They also have live music. Last night, the act on the bill was Oak Ash and Thorn. I’ll give you a moment to go check out their website. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back.

Familiar with the concept, now? Good. And for those who didn’t check the website, all you really need to know is that this is three guys who sing English folk songs (mostly about beer) a cappella. The only instrument they have with them on stage is a soprano recorder much like this:
which they use more or less as a pitch pipe.

There was a sound system, yes. Three microphones, one for each member of the band, but they were only turned up high enough that the songs could be heard in the back row of a room that holds, maybe a hundred people when it’s crowded. It was low enough that if you were in the way back of the other room ordering a coffee, you could hear that there was music but the words weren’t clear.

And yet someone called the cops because of the noise.

Seriously?

When Mr. Twistie’s rock band played there two months ago – and four months ago – nobody called the cops. That’s for a four man electric rock band with a pretty darn loud sound system.

Nobody called a few weeks ago when Avalon Rising (five members, much louder sound system, electric guitar and bass) was there playing their special brand of souped-up Celtoid music mixed with Jethro Tull covers.

But we were there when the police arrived because Oak Ash and Thorn singing The Wind and the Rain from Twelfth Night were too loud.

The mind boggles.

That is all.

Oh, except for this: support your local music venue! Good live music is not a nuisance.

7 Responses to “Maybe They Have Bat Ears”

  1. living400lbs September 25, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Okay, I’m jealous. I get to see live music, yes, but I’ve only seen Avalon Rising once at Baycon ;P

  2. avirr September 25, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    Oak, Ash, and Thorn, old favorites!

  3. Twistie September 26, 2010 at 2:17 am #

    @livng400lbs: would now be a bad time to mention that Mr. Twistie and the fiddler from Avalon Rising go way, way back?

    @avirr: God bless the human elbow!

  4. Margo A September 26, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    Twistie, the more of this stuff you post the more I’m convinced that we must have met. I keep running through faces from my Ren Faire days in my mind, trying to figure out which one might be yours.

  5. Mifty September 26, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    Not to be a wet blanket, but of course good live music can be a nuisance.

    It’s the coffeehouse’s lookout to be considerate of the neighbors, and presumably they usually are. And if the neighbors haven’t complained about more numerous and highly amplified bands, then those people probably aren’t just touchy about any noise. So something may have been genuinely wrong that particular night.

    If a show by a three-man vocal band is leaking enough noise to get the cops called, it may be time for the band to look into how they are setting up their sound system. What you heard in the venue may well not have reflected what could be heard outside the door, or halfway down the block. The band may just need to have a talk with their sound engineer (or consult with one if they don’t have a regular person) and set up more appropriately for the venue.

  6. Twistie September 26, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    Actually, this was the most minimalist sound system I’ve ever seen and these guys have been hauling and setting up their own gear since the mid-seventies. Nope, it wasn’t louder outside than in. I may not be an expert in sound equipment, but I know enough to know that a single small amp running three vocal mics set to a low level isn’t going to be heard over a great distance. When Mr. Twistie got to the show about ten minutes before the cops, he didn’t hear the music at all until he was almost in the doorway.

    Also, it was eight-thirty pm.

    Someone was just being a jerk.

    I absolutely agree that if it was the middle of the night and the music could be heard down the block, that would have been a nuisance. That just wasn’t the case here.

  7. Twistie September 26, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    It certainly is possible, Margo A.