Alabama rock band Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires cruised into Fort Worth to play the Live Oak Music Hall this past Wednesday night (10/23). The live show ended up not only being cut short by management due to the band not "complying to house rules" aka: refusing to turn down guitar amp volume but it also ignited a social media smack down the following day.
Live Oak maintains that "repeated attempts" were made "to get the band to comply to house rules" as a response to the issue on their facebook page today.
"At The Live Oak we've always prided ourselves on respect; respect for the music, respect for the artists, respect for our customers and patrons, respect for the food we serve and the drinks we pour, and respect for our staff. When a band takes it upon themselves to destroy that respect, action will be taken.During last night's show, that's exactly what happened. Unfortunately, The Live Oak had to make a decision that should never have to be made; we had to pull the plug on the opener's set. Our sound engineer and owner made the decision after repeated attempts to get the band to comply to house rules. After the entire restaurant portion of the venue vacated due to the noise level, more attempts were made to get the band to comply and quite a few disrespectful and inappropriate remarks were made to our sound engineer and owner and, subsequently, the curtain was closed and the plug was pulled.As a venue and music aficionados, we NEVER want to have to do this, but there comes a point when that respect is an essential element to making a show succeed.All patrons who wanted a refund were issued one and we apologize profusely for any inconvenience this may have caused anyone.A special thanks to Austin Lucas for his understanding and a huge apology to him for not getting to play his full band set. We can't wait to have him back." -Live Oak Music Hall via facebook page
Cal Quinn, lead sound engineer for Live Oak and the night in question, described the volume as "piercing and unbearable" which led to the restaurant patrons on the other side of the venue leaving due to the noise. Cal's full statement he made on the Live Oak facebook page...
"It is regretful what happened last night. Sadly, it all could have been avoided by the simple turn of a nob.
This would have prevented the restaurant patrons leaving because of the amp volume and the eventual shut down of The Glory Fires set.
I gave TGF a full soundcheck (which I am not required to, but I care enough to). His amp volume was overpowering the house mix to the point of not being able to hear any other instrument including Vocals. I asked him to turn it down and as to preserve Lee's guitar tone, decided to baffle his amp so that the other instruments and vocals could be heard. He was at that point respectful and compliant. We both kindly agreed to this during soundcheck.
As soon as the curtains opened and their set started, Lee had removed the sound baffle and turned his amp up in volume. I advised him through the talkback microphone that he needed to turn his amp down and put the baffle back in its place. This was my decision to not only make TGF sound the best they can, but the reputation of the venue having proper sound quality. Lee ignored my request and turned his amp up further. I went on stage and told him we need to baffle his amp so the crowd could hear his vocals. He said, "ARE YOU IN THE FUCKING BAND?" I said, "No, but no one can hear your music over your amp. I'm going to have to baffle it or the owner is going to have to shut you down." Lee replied, "Fuck you and fuck the owner!" I baffled his amp and walked off stage only to see him pull it back off and turn his amp up further. In between each song I requested for the amp to be baffled or turned down with the warning that I would have to turn off the sound or the owner will. Each time Lee ignored me and reached over to turn his amp up louder to the point that the volume was piercing and unbearable. It was so loud that the patrons on the other side of the restaurant (behind closed doors) could not have a conversation. The kitchen manager could not communicate with his staff to make food. The bartender could not take orders. The owner (who I ultimately answer to) told me that his amp was too loud and that if he didn't we were going to need to make the decision to shut down the set. I agreed as it was costing the Live Oak business as a whole. I proceeded once more to ask and then warn Lee that he needed to turn down his amp or the show would be shut down through the talkback mic. I turned the house mix off. The owner, Bill Smith, approached Lee and requested that he turn his amp down. Lee ignored him. Bill got on stage and warned him that if he didn't, he would shut the set down. Lee refused with disrespect. Bill pulled the curtains closed and the band kept playing. Lee jumped in front of the curtains. Bill pulled the breakers shutting down power to the sound system and the amps on stage.
I answer to the will of the management of the Live Oak and I also have the authority to make those decisions myself. Since Lee was given roughly ten requests and warnings to simply turn his amp down or baffle it, and refused with disrespect, his show was shut down. I personally appreciated what the band was trying to do. It is unfortunate that Lee's ego got in the way and that his disrespect cost his (roughly a dozen) fans who came to see TGF, the whole set.
I have never had to do such a thing, nor do I ever want to again. I have worked with respectful and disrespectful artists. I do not mind either as long as they are wise enough to work with the engineer in charge of mixing their music to make it the best it can be. My job is to make it sound good; I can only do that if a band works with me. Ask any band that I've worked with and they will tell you that I am as reasonable and professional as I am talented at what I do. I will bend over backwards to make it work, but ultimately, no matter how rock 'n roll we want it to be, we still answer to the rules of the house giving us the opportunity to make any noise at all.
Anybody who wanted a refund was given one. Austin Lucas was given that money. Austin decided between him and his management to not play in the venue, but an acoustic set outside for his fans.
The show was booked by Spune (who is not being blamed) and instead of canceling that show because Spune is no longer affiliated with the Live Oak, The Live Oak decided to still honor the show and give them the opportunity to play.
The Live Oak has had loud rock bands play the music hall as much as any other, however those bands have been reasonable with the Live Oak Sound Engineers to set appropriate levels for their fans to hear their music properly.
Lee's disrespect for The Live Oak Music Hall, The Sound Engineer, the owner, the Staff and his listeners is what got him shut down.
In summation, this all could have been avoided if Lee simply turned his amp down."
Lee Bains side of #NoiseGate is a bit different which he shared with Ben Flanagan and AL.com.
Bains told AL.com his band was originally booked by a promoter that was not at the show. The promoter was Spune Productions who are no longer affiliated with Live Oak. He also mentioned that the Live Oak owner, Bill Smith, made a comment to Glory Fires band members that he was not fond of the promoter who had originally booked the band which Bains followed with "There was sort of a weird vibe in the air".
During sound check Bains stated that the sound engineer asked the band to turn down their amps and they did according to Bains. He then said at the end of their sound check Quinn the engineer came on stage and placed a "baffle" or Styrofoam block wrapped in a burlap type material on the front of his guitar amp.
Once their live performance kicked off Bains said he did not like the sound of the "baffle" on his amp so he removed it. "In retrospect, it would have been more up front if I'd told the guy soon as he put it up '"Man that's probably not going to work for me'".
Bains said Quinn came back onto the stage and replaced the "baffle" while playing their third song.
"It's kinda a big no-no to come on stage during a band's set and mess with their stuff" stated Baines.
After removing the "baffle" a second time, Bains told AL.com that Quinn told him he would cut the power during their live set. Playing through the warning Bains says he noticed the stage monitors had lost power.
"That has never happened to me, ever," Bains stated. "The only time a sound guy or a stage hand would ever come on stage is if something is screwed up."
At this time Smith the owner told the band their music was too loud and Bains responded "This is how we play. We're a rock band. You booked a rock band. If you didn't want us to play, then you shouldn't have booked us."
After the owner left the stage power to the house PA was cut yet the band continued to play through their amps on stage.
The curtain then closed on the band while still playing. "So we kept playing despite the curtain being closed and then they just flipped the breaker to the stage, completely killing the power, so all the amps are now silent," said Bains.
He went on to say that there was a contract between the band's Nashville booking agent and the venue Live Oak which did not mention any volume stipulations. Bains also said this was the first time his band had ever been accused of being disrespectful.
Fort Worth resident and Alabama native Hunter Johnson came to the band's defense on twitter kicking off what would become a day long social media mini firestorm fueled by the band, their fans and everyone with a rock n' roll inspired wit about them...
Bottom line this was a lose/win/lose/win situation for Live Oak/Spune/Cal Quinn and the band.
Live Oak lost customers that night in the restaurant, had to offer refunds to the music hall goers and have to deal with the temporary brand of not liking loud rock and roll bands. Will this really effect the venues ability to book quality bands? No, way too many great bands that just want to play for that to happen and their local fans will still come out to support them.
Spune although seemingly got away from #NoiseGate clean they still have the promoter who booked the show but didn't show up title over their head related to this particular event. Will this effect Spune in a negative way as a live promoter? Hell no!
Cal Quinn gets to deal with a bunch of commenters saying how bad he must suck as a sound engineer. In reality it's the opinion of just about every band we know that he's one of the the best in the Dallas/Fort Worth area plus he's becoming very well known in Nashville which is never easy to do! I'm willing to bet The Glory Fires booking agent has heard of Cal around Nashville or he/she will soon enough.
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires get pegged as the band that played too loud and got shut down. Does this do anything to their reputation? Hell yes! It gives them tons of street cred. in the rock world and will probably net them a few extra rock club gigs in the near future.
Opinions are like ear drums, we've all got them so give a listen to a hometown live set the band played back in July and make your feelings known in the comments if ya like!
Oh, just a quick warning unless you want to blow the speakers on your device you might want to turn down before playing! Or not?