I went to see a friend play at a music festival last night. I had heard his band several months before. The talent and the quality of sound at that event was amazing. Last night was not the same story. And I think it was largely because of the Front of House engineer.
The house system was for the most part top tier. But the sound! It was horrid. I expect these environments to be really loud but this one easily topped 120 dB SPL. Absolutely ridiculous given the size of the audience and the location. And aside from having my ears attacked by overly aggressive SPLs, the quality of the sound was way off. Harsh, brittle mids overwhelmed the musical content. Although there were at least 16 subwoofer cabinets, there was little bass content.
The band did not come across very well as a result. The listening experience was basically unpleasant.
Two observations: 1) always take a qualified sound person with you to every concert and 2) turn it down.