Worst Sounding Gigs

Great Wired article on the RAH issue.

In essence it was a building designed to socialise and be seen in rather than listen in.


Thanks for that link. Very interesting. I’ve seen quite a few rock gigs at The Albert Hall over the years. The sound has been very variable from good, Tom Petty,Fripp&Sylvian. OK,Banshees,Costello,Steve Winwood,Bryan Ferry. Poor Donovan,Ray Davies,House Of Love,Morrissey.
There are others I can’t recall at present!

Just about every gig I’ve ever been to at the Concorde 2 in Brighton. Popular venue but always terrible sound, at times dangerously overcrowded and full of pissed up students pushing and sloshing sh*t lager everywhere.
My queen still has a dodgy ear from the sound at a Toots gig there many years ago and some neanderthal threatened to head butt me at a Steel Pulse gig! Certainly not in keeping with that bands message & philosophy! :rofl:
The original Concorde above the Aquarium was a great little venue though.

Despite living in the area for a long time now I have managed to not go to any gigs at the Concorde or no. 2. After your review I am in no rush to try!

Hi Lontano, if you like small intimate venues (just 200 seated or 350 if standing), just along the coast is the Shoreham Ropetackle Arts Centre. Great little venue staffed by friendly volunteers, laid back friendly punters, some surprisingly good bands (including sometimes biggish names doing low key warm up gigs prior to touring major venues), comedy and cinema. Obviously suffering from the economics of Covid not much happening at the moment but hopefully will get back to a full programme soon, keep an eye on the listings.
The only negative is that it has an early ish curfew of about 11pm.
Had many a great night there since moving to this neck of the woods after living in Brighton about 40 years.


Thanks - That’s another I’ve not yet tried but waiting for the right event. Easy to get to- I drove past it this afternoon. We go to Turner Sims in Southampton often as it hosts so much excellent jazz and sound is superb.

I’ll lookout for some Ropetackle gigs when they resume…

1 Like

Joe Bonamassa at Leeds First Direct Arena, few years back.

Doesn’t matter if the sound system or venue PA is good, bad or indifferent, Bonamassa is always going to sound absobloodylutely bloody awful.

…I’ll get me coat :sunglasses:


Jazz is well catered for there, Courtney Pine has played regularly and always a highlight, other recent highlights for me have been Jimmy Lindsay, Georgie Fame, James Taylor Quartet, Maroon Town, Eliza Carthy, Limehouse Lizzy, Gilad Alzmon Orient Ensemble, Graham Parker, Earl Sixteen, South Coast Soul Revue…

1 Like

Some year’s ago, my wife bought tickets to hear Elton John live at an open air concert at Mercedes World at Woking (so basically a stage and large numbers of chairs in a big car park). We were about 200 yards from the stage, but there were lots of big screens and loudspeakers.

He was on good form and sung lots of old favourites, but the sound system was execrable and worst of all, about 15 yards away, there were a bunch of bored security guards, with their radios turned up loud, just passing the time with each other. It destroyed any sense of occasion. The only good thing was that the traffic when we left didn’t get too bogged down and so we got home reasonably quickly.

It made me think that us classical music fans have it much better.




Anything at The Cambridge Corn Exchange. Motörhead, Marillion, Mariza, (do they only book bands beginning with ‘m?’ And Steeleye Span. Never heard a good sound there.

1 Like

Bob Dylan in Blackpool in 2013 (I think…doesn’t time fly). Well it looked like Bob Dylan but could have been anyone singing, couldn’t make out the songs never mind the words! I asked the “sound engineer” if he could do anything to make it bearable. His response was “ do you even know the songs?” When I told him that I had every album he’d made, the cheeky so and so asked me to name the opening track on Tempest! I told him “Duquesne Whistle but I hadn’t planned on listening by memory!” He walked off and a few noises later we left.

Rory Gallagher at Hull city Hall in in 1971. He was nearly an hour late for the Gig because of a traffic Jam just south of Doncaster, but that was OK, we knew he was on the way, the support band stretched their set to cover the delay. When Gallagher finally arrived, there was no apology and even made a rude and pretty uncalled for comment about the support. He then turned the sound up, so loud that no one and I do mean no one could hear the music let alone lyrics. We were kids in the 70’s, and we were used to high volume Rock, but this was painful. Then to make matters worse, he only played half a set than left the stage without a word to the audience. I remember my pals who had been Gallagher fans, all went home solely disappointed.

Badly Drawn Boy in Sydney around 2002. He kept stopping part way through songs to moan about the PA system and how he was going to donate the venue 20k to buy a new one blah blah, clambering all over the speaker columns before quitting altogether part way through his one hit from that movie with Hugh Grant.

Seems he did this at a lot of gigs. Completely full of himself, or maybe if I’m being generous it was part of his schtick, I don’t know. Memorable though so I guess it was good from that perspective.

Bob Mould at Manchester Academy. The only time I’ve walked out of a gig.

Kings of Leon at Liverpool arena, so quiet you could hear the crowd talking. Come very close to leaving it was that bad. On the other extreme, Fish in Haddington which started off great but for some unknown reason the guy on the desk turned it up full and ruined it

Stabbing Westward opening for Killing Joke in Düsseldorf in 1994. The bass throughout the concert was so intense that we had to retreat to the back of the venue. After the event, my then mild tinnitus worsened perceptibly and it took weeks for it to abate.

As we were leaving we passed a young woman who had thrown up outside and was being helped by some Red Cross staff. A friend of ours who is a doctor stopped to ask if she could help. We thought the young woman was drunk. In fact she was sober, but dizzy from the low frequency bass closer to the stage and still unable to stand without help.

1 Like

Ian Gillan, Southampton Gaumont, 1980.

My friend had pre-warned me to stuff my ears with cotton wool to protect them from the loudness, which I did. But even so, my ears were still ringing two weeks later.

Well, Gillan did like to have “everything louder than everything else”.

Today Is The Day and Voivod gig years ago in Poznań, Poland. It was really sad since I was a big fan of TITD and they sounded soooo poor. And both bands played before Neurosis which (as by magic) sounded fantastic! So it was due to some moronic decision by some audio/business people to wreck the show. Ok not 100% bad - Neurosis was really special in the end.

U2 Zooropa tour at Wembley Stadium - just a murky, swirling, confusing barrage of sound. Dreadful

1 Like

That’s just U2 :grinning: