Why Did The Live Oak Pull the Plug on Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires this Week?

Categories: DFW Music News

Marc Millman
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires at a previous show.

Hoo boy. On Wednesday night, during a set performed by Alabama's Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires at the Live Oak Music Hall and Lounge in Fort Worth, the management of the venue felt compelled to close the curtains and then switch off the power completely on the rowdy R&B garage-rock outfit as they opened for country-roots artist Austin Lucas.

Things got so out of whack that Lucas ended up playing solo on the venue's outdoor patio, though he had a full band ready to play. According to Abbey Alexander of the Live Oak, the decision for Lucas to play solo and outside was a joint one between Spune, who originally booked the show, and Lucas' management.

On Wednesday, around 9:40 p.m., tweets started popping up claiming that Bains' band had been shut down for playing too loud -- plain and simple. Tweets that either came from both the Live Oak itself and from other patrons claimed that the band's cranked-up amps emptied out the dining room of the multi-purpose venue.

Either way, Live Oak sound engineer Cal Quinn found himself trying to please both a rocker and his boss, the venue's owner, Bill Smith. Quinn said that Bains was asked 10 times during the set (which he says was attended by a dozen people) to turn his amp down and/or replace the baffle used to muffle the amp that had been placed there before the show, per an agreement made during soundcheck. (In an interview with AL.com posted Thursday, Bains says he agreed to put the baffle on his amp, but changed his mind later.)

When reached via email last night before his show in Austin, Bains told DC9 at Night that Quinn did not, in fact, tell him to turn down 10 times. "False!" he says. "I turned my amp down to an agreed level in sound check and left it there, though I did take the baffle he [Quinn] put up at the end of sound check."

Bains and Quinn agree that both Quinn and Smith made repeated trips up to and actually onto the stage in order to get the band to bring things down a notch.

While bloggers and other artists (the band American Aquarium and Chris Porter of Some Dark Holler are a couple of more expressive examples) have been critical of the Live Oak for shutting down a rock band for being too loud, the Live Oak maintains that it was more than mere over-amplification that led to this mess. Citing non-compliance and disrespect as some of the reasons the show was curtailed does seem odd, and is highly unusual, regardless of who cussed or which direction the volume knob was being turned.

More than anything, this whole thing raises all sorts of questions, less about the particulars of the events of Wednesday night, and more about concert etiquette in general, and what to do when egos, musical expression and customer service come crashing together.

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Who? What? Where? Who cares? 

Those are the only questions being raised for me. 


So, 12 people attended a show, the power was cut for noise and this makes news. 12 people. Observer writers are either hard up for stories or just not trying hard enough to find something worth writing about.


As someone who plays in a band that has been described in the pages of several local music publications. blogs, and Websites (and I believe even the Observer maybe 4-5 years ago) as the loudest band in DFW, I personally run into this issue at about 3/4 of our gigs. There is a fine line and even I will admit that - we have to understand that sometimes the PA is just not enough to handle a loud rock band, and let's face, who wants to see a quiet rock band? Fans of certain music styles are looking to have their ears bled and chests rattled - especially fans of stoner rock, doom, garage rock, sludge, and the likes. It's a part of the experience. If a venue is trying to be both a dining establishment and a live music venue on the same night, shame on them. Also appears to be case of improper booking (why have a country roots band with a garage rock band? - not sure in what universe that works). Been there, done that. Venues that don't do rock shows are usually the first to freak out. The second kind to freak out are the bars that have only cover bands (i.e. the human jukebox), they are used to having a lower volume band belt out covers in the background so patrons can sing along to their favorite songs. An original band is not the same thing nor do they bring that kind of crowd. And let's remember this venues - most venues are relying on the BAND to bring in the business, not the other way around. Why make the experience miserable for the band and the fans. If they don't like what's up or they know the band is pissed, they will leave and head to another club. I've seen that happen several times also. Ends up being a crappy gig for both the band and the fans. Then you have what is usually an inexperienced sound guy who wants to control EVERYTHING and really has zero business working a board. Stage sound, to loud bro, turn it down lol. Really, I can't even hear myself and my vintage 120 watt amp doesn't do low - it's zero to a thousand decibels. The guys that get us to sound the best are the one's that understand what we are about and let us do our thing - venues such as the great Trees, Curtain Club, Tomcats West in Fort Worth for example all know how to run sound and work with the bands and the equipment they have for maximum results. Some of the smaller Deep Ellum venues do a good job as well. We played one venue in Tarrant County where the crowd was up front rocking out and having a good time and at the end of the first song, the owner came over and freaked out, massively. Issue - to loud and the bar tender could not hear the orders coming in and threatened to leave so the owner had a conniption fit. It was a PRIVATE PARTY and we were part of the entertainment. I mean, come on lol. I thought one of our fans was going to get into a fight with the guy!


Sounds to me like Live Oak needs to sort out whether they're a venue or a restaurant.  Can't server two masters.  Play rock and roll or serve dinner with conversation.


This sounds like a baffling situation!

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