Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The loudest concert of all time

For the longest time, bands competed to be the loudest when it came to playing gigs. I remember reading that The Who held the record when a gig was measured at 120 decibels. Other claimants have included Deep Purple and KISS.

But they played at lullaby level when compared to the British electro duo Leftfield. They were so loud at Brixton Academy that they knocked plaster from the ceiling at Brixton Academy as the volume hit 137 decibels. Then there’s the American metal band Manowar who were clocked at 139 decibels during a soundcheck in Germany in 2008.

But no one has beat a Swedish band called Sleazy Joe who turned things up to 143.2 decibels in March 2008. That is louder than a typical military jet at takeoff.

By the way, the Guinness Book of World Records recognizes the insanity of all this and doesn’t recognize volume levels anymore.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38516 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Ongoing History Daily: The loudest concert of all time

  • I didn’t know My Bloody Valentine vies for this title when I finally got to see them, but luckily I was already wearing earplugs by then. (It was also the only show I’ve ever been to where earplugs were being handed out at the door.)

    Unfortunately, I wear earplugs because I couldn’t hear properly for three days after a KMFDM show in my early twenties.


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