You’re sitting in your seat at McKalla Place, waiting for the game to start. You watch the teams warming up on the field below, and you sip your exorbitantly expensive beer. You make a comment to the person next to you, and you know what they probably reply?
That’s because the speakers in the roof above you are turned up to eleven, and the music being played by “DJ Chorizo Funk” – a man with a funny stage name but fine taste in music – is absolutely blaring. As you start to repeat what you said, you’d swear the PA gets even louder. You give up, frustrated, if not furious.
A hype video starts on the video board. It looks cool, but the voiceovers are blasted so loudly that you can barely understand the words. More than hype, you feel relief when it’s over. But not for long: next up is Adrian Healey’s dulcet tones, turned up to beyond screaming level, advising you about how to compost cups with the “Eco” logo. You squint at your beer cup through the din: no “Eco” logo. In spite of yourself, perhaps muddled by the unending audio assault, you find yourself holding this against Adrian Healey personally.
Soon it’s time for the national anthems (two, as the visiting team is from outside the US). The singer is fantastic, giving a truly stirring performance of both. Yet you notice people – people in their twenties, not uptight old codgers – plugging their ears with their fingers because of how jarringly loud it is. Your own enjoyment of this patriotic tradition is lessened by the blood streaming from your ears. Okay, the bleeding ears part is an exaggeration, but seeing people try to muffle the sound – of a national anthem! – with fingers in their ears is a real thing that we have seen happen at McKalla Place.
As the players take their places, the supporters’ section leads the crowd in the Verde! Listo! chant. Soon after the game kicks off, and the south end literally doesn’t stop making a joyful noise the entire game. You know it takes a lot of people, making a lot of effort, but at least at first, it seems a little sad and muted following the blasting volume of the speakers above.
Dear Austin FC: we get it: you want a “loud” stadium. We want one, too, but not like this. The volume and the excitement should come up from the stands, not be rained down on them like a punishment. Please, turn the damn volume down.
Violet Crown Verdict: thumbs down