For more than 20 years, the Twilight Summer Concert Series has provided Salt Lake City residents with great music absolutely free of charge, thanks to great sponsors like KRCL and City Weekly. But, for the past few years, I have noticed a few rather appalling things at the series, none of which has to do with the music, and all of which has to do with the audience: disrespectful, discourteous, loud and obnoxious.
Now, this isn’t too different from your average concertgoing crowd. The thing that makes this problematic is Pratt Sound, the company handling sound production at the series, which refuses to adjust the volume of the performers accordingly.
Recently, Overkill River, a four-piece rock band, opened for Iron & Wine. They were loud and energetic, and got the crowd excited. Half an hour later, Iron & Wine, or rather Sam Beam, took the stage. He began soft softly strumming his acoustic guitar and whispering into the microphone. Unfortunately for fans of Iron and Wine, one thing was immediately apparent. The volume was way, way, way too quiet. Appallingly, the beautiful music coming from the stage was all but completely drowned out by the drunken roar of the audience.
The headlining act ended up being about half the volume of the openers, extremely disappointing members of the crowd who were there to hear the music. Throughout the entire show, the fragile vocals and guitar playing were completely buried by the noise from the crowd. People began shouting, “We can’t hear you! Turn it up!” but Pratt Sound did nothing. I wonder if the soundman was even manning the board or if he was just getting sloshed like everybody else.
People of Salt Lake City, if you are going to the Gallivan Center on Thursdays to get drunk and make noise, please have the courtesy of doing so as far from the stage as possible, so that real music fans don’t have to listen to your intoxicated buffoonery. And Pratt Sound, do your job and make sure the audience can actually hear the music. You know something’s wrong when people are complaining that Sonic Youth is actually too quiet.
Salt Lake City