sensitive to sound

Last night, I went to Paradiso to see the Scottish post-rock band Mogwai live. Surprisingly, I experienced something that I hadn’t since I was a little girl, and really sensitive to sound.

When I was little, my parents took me to concerts, classical and jazz, in the Istanbul music and jazz festivals which took place every summer. They went every year, saw Chick Corea a million times, and countless other jazz artists and orchestras or ensembles. And who wouldn’t, in the lovely Istanbul summer to go to the open air amphitheater to enjoy good jazz?

But, being little and being trained as a classical piano player, I was told to stay away from loud music, loud music on headphones and anything to hurt my wrists, so my open air jazz concert experiences in the first few concerts was to feel the bass vibrate in my chest and ears and proceed to tagging on mother’s shirt to ask her to go home. I was terrified, not because I didn’t like what I heard, but I couldn’t handle the volume.

Fast-forward I don’t know how many years, I was perfectly fine listening to rock concerts in closed venues, not having any problems with the said venue and other jazz concerts. I figured I got used to it, and the vibrations did not bother me, they made me happy about music. [on a side note, two recent articles I read about the affects of music can be found here and here; very accurate descriptions of what I experience with some music (what I call “turning into a hedgehog”)] Yesterday, however, I realized it is only partly getting used to it; and partly I might be still more sensitive than others.

I was very excited last night to see Mogwai live. I had seen their Burning Live DVD during the Le Guess Who? festival back in November, and I was looking forward to it. Despite arriving late (blame Chomsky’s lecture) I found a good spot (where I could see, and take pictures without feeling like a dwarf), and already then realized that the DJ was playing decent songs very loudly. This did not change once Mogwai got on stage, and made my ears and chest feel like I’m standing in front of the speakers.

So, I tried running away. I went towards the back, I tried the first balcony, the second one, the stairs between the two balconies, and still, the only place where I could listen to their music without the feeling of getting permanent hearing damage was between the two doors of the hall in Paradiso. I don’t know if it was the sound system/sound check, the preference of Mogwai, or getting old (I’m not *that* old!), but I couldn’t enjoy the concert as I’d like to.

It’s a shame.


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