Hey assholes! I can’t hear shit in here! This girl is really cute and keeps trying to tell me her name. But I can’t hear a word she’s yelling in my ear. Turn the goddamn music down, assholes!
One of the major obstacles we run into in our travels is the volume level of music in bars and clubss worldwide. I just cannot understand why DJs and bands feel it necessary to blast their music at roughly the same volume as a Boeing 747 taking off down the runway. These assholes really screw things up for everybody else, and they’re turning it up more and more every year.
Now I myself am a musician and play in bars from time to time in bands and as a DJ, and I do want people to actually be able to hear me. I like music! But what a vast, vast majority of these dumbass bar bands or DJs don’t seem to understand is this:
Hey retards! The people here didn’t come to hear your lame covers of Sublime or Van Morrison or Michael Jackson mashups that ruin his music or whatever other unoriginal crap you’re playing. Your music is supposed to facilitate socialization and provide background entertainment. Turn that shit down! If I’m all the way at the other end of the bar I shouldn’t have to shout in someone’s ear to talk to them. I have to bring earplugs wherever I go go out because chances are that if I don’t my ears will be ringing all night after I leave.
Boris and I were in a club in Belgrade once a couple years ago that was filled with great looking Serbian girls. Great situation, right? Wrong. There was a band playing that had turned up their amps to 11 and were playing nonstop this horrible Serbian cousin of Bulgarian Chalga, called “pop folk”, or “turbo folk.” Imagine highly amplified Borat music with a band of 8 people in a smallish boat bar on the Sava River. It was impossible to have any conversation when they were playing, and they never stopped playing; each tune was segued into the next like some epic medley of Balkan redneck music. They never even took a set break! The experience could best be described as “a non-stop wall of sound.” When people seemed to get tired of playing, they had reinforcements come and hot swap on vocals, drums, etc. without even the slightest pause. We tried to meet some girls but got really tired of shouting, “Charlie! My name is CHARLIE!” This is one reason why we bring a notepad with us when we go out by the way. These assholes assaulted the bar at full volume for hours without even ten seconds of peace. Obviously we didn’t stay but at the bar we went to next door we could hear them just fine playing until the end of the night. I believe the name of the group was The Cockblock Philharmonic.
When you’re traveling there will be a language barrier anyway. Loud music makes comprehension in a foreign language exponentially more difficult. In loud clubs this is a huge problem when you’re trying to get to know a girl or make friends the mafia kingpin with 10 Russian model escorts, etc . The choice in this situation with a girl is to take her somewhere quieter, or just forgo conversation and dance or make out with her. My favorite clubs to go to are these so-called “silent discos” where everyone is issued wireless headphones. Then you can chose your volume and often can chose between more than one DJ. If you see someone you want to meet, you can just take off your headphones and have a regular civilized conversation instead of having to shout in someone’s ear.
Do you know any old people? Have you noticed they’re totally fucking deaf? Old people can’t as a rule hear very well at all, and they come from a generation from before there was super loud amplified music in every bar. Our generation is going to be totally deaf when we get old. Long term exposure to loud sounds causes permanent hearing loss. Even the movies are super loud. When Raul and I went to see that steaming pile of horseshit called Avatar, the movie was so fucking loud I put in earplugs.
Side rant no. 1: if someone gave you $250 million to make a movie, could you have done worse than Avatar? That motherfucker James Cameron hired PhD. linguists to create a whole new language for those stupid blue people complete with full grammar and a dictionary. He hired PhD. botanists to invent plants that didn’t exist complete with Latin names and the full classification hierarchy they use for real plants. He had new cameras invented to film the movie. But apparently he didn’t have enough money to hire one decent writer to write a plot that hadn’t been done a million times before? “Big evil industrialized nation invades the land of a primitive and innocent tribal people to steal their resources and destroys the land in the process”, the only difference being that the tribal people are blue. Big fucking deal! I want to sue that guy for 2:45 of my life back. I will say that Raul and I were stoned off our asses when we got there and really enjoyed the IMAX 3D for the first half of the movie but it was so long that we lost our buzz and then to add insult to injury missed all-you-can-eat sushi happy hour sitting through the rest of that piece of shit. Fuck you, James Cameron!
I did think it was funny how much our Bulgarian girlfriends loved that movie though. “It was so good, because, you know, it had a really deep message, too.” Admittedly, this does come from the same girls who throw napkins on the floor at Chalga clubs. The Bulgarians also really liked that Will Smith movie Hancock, so that gives you some idea of the general level of cultural sophistication in Bulgaria.
DJs are even worse. These guys turn up their shit so loud that even with earplugs my ears ring after going to a club. I think that the problem is that many no-talent DJs think they’re gods these days and are sure that everyone in the club came to see them, not all the hot 18-year-old Eastern European girls in miniskirts and high heels. Dumbasses! A lot of these guys are just pretending to play anyways, with their turntables hooked up to their Macbooks, etc, and have close to no musical ability. I know this firsthand; it took me a week to learn how to pick a setlist and pretend to DJ at a club.
Side rant no. 2: have you guys heard this bullshit called Dubstep? It’s all the rage these days in the electronic clubs and is one of the worst “musical” fads ever. In its typical form it bears no resemblance to music whatsoever and yet these dubstep clubs are thronged with ditzy little girls totally fucked up on MDMA. On second thought, never mind. I love Dubstep!
So let’s start a world movement. Let’s call it – Turn the fucking music down, assholes! When you go to a club with super loud music, complain, nicely, to the manager. Just say it’s impossible to talk to all the beautiful girls and impossible to order a drink at the bar. If enough of us start doing this, maybe we won’t have to be walking around with giant ear horns when we’re old like Beethoven. And in the meanwhile, if you want to be able to hear your grandkids’ stories about their virtual reality My Little Ponies, bring some earplugs when you go out.