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Kiss at Ottawa Bluesfest 2009 Made History As The Loudest Live Concert Ever North America

In the age of Rock n’ Roll, becoming the world’s ‘Loudest Band’ was considered a badge of honour. At the height of rock era (say, 1970s), bands were going so far as to measure the decibals of their live music. In 1976, The Guiness Book of World Records declared The Who’s performance in an open-air stadium in Charlton, London as the loudest performance in history. It measured a sizeable 126 decibels at a distance of over 100 feet from the speakers.


Since then, some bands and live performances have tipped that scale. In the summer of 2009, Bluesfest headliners Kiss (then in their 60s) registered a sound pressure level of 137 decibals, which at the time, was said to be the loudest live performance ever. Not surprisingly, the concert was forced to lower its volume mid-show due to noise complaints from residential areas that were more than a football field away.


Only 5 bands have measured close to or above this volume during live concerts, and those were in Sweden (Sleazy Jo, 2008 at 143 db during sound check), Germany (Manowar, 1996 at 139 db), and England (Leftfield, 1997 at 137 db and Gallows at 132 db).


Despite being considered a quieter city than our larger Canadian counterparts or American neighbours, Ottawa has its own place in the high decibal hall of fame.


For a pixelated journey down memory lane, here’s a clip from the 2009 performance that made headlines:



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