Yesterday I went to the “Rock the Bells” concert with my 18-year-old daughter. It was an all-day affair that featured some of the biggest names in hip hop, including A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, Mos Def and De La Soul.

And it was too loud.

I mean, it was so loud — there were walls and walls of speakers blasting at the audience — that your entire body vibrated. Your lungs quivered. It made me cough. And worst of all, the bass was so overpowering and painfully loud, you couldn’t hear any of the songs’ melodies and the singers had to scream into their mics to be heard above it. Which I found to be such a shame, because these bands have written some beautiful, dance-y, jazzy, groovy melodies, sung with emotion and humour. The only set where you could actually hear some of the melodies and the dancy bridges was when A Tribe Called Quest closed the show (and they were amazing, I might add).

My daughter rolled her eyes at my old lady complaints, and blanched when I joked I was going to tap the sound engineer on the shoulder and say: “Son, could you tone down the bass a bit? I want to hear the music!”

She pointed out to me that ear-splittingly loud bass is a hallmark of hip hop concerts, similar to the cacophony at a Megadeth or Motorhead concert. I wouldn’t know, thankfully, having never had the pleasure.

I did a quick Google search of “Rock the Bells” and “too loud” and found the odd blog post here and there, so I guess I am not the only old lady to complain. My friend Dana reported that it was an outdoor venue at the Chicago show the previous night, so I wondered if perhaps bringing it indoors on a rainy day was part of the problem. In any event, I feel like a really old lady, and wonder if my concert-going days are over.

Have any of you young people ever been at a concert that was simply too loud? Or does Granny just need to stick to her iPod?

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