Sometimes we're aware of having ramped it up too much -- picture Jimi Hendrix at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival gesturing to the audience to cover their ears during his feedback prelude to 'Wild Thing'. Or Steve Vai playing at a small Hard Rock Cafe, personally handing out wads of cotton wool for earplugs to audience members standing at the front.
Sometimes, for various reasons (not excluding sensory-numbing consumption of alcoholic beverages), we have no idea that we're playing too loud. In these cases, the following are 'canary-in-a-coalmine' indicators that we are kinda pushing it:
- The Moses Phenomenon -- The audience directly in front of your amp stack has parted like the Red Sea
- The Hastily Prepared Petition -- A waitress gives you a request slip that says 'Turn it down!' And its signed by every staff member in the club
- The Lars Ulrich Syndrome -- Your drummer breaks two snare skins in the same night, each time during one of your extended solos
- The Snake Pit -- The hiss coming from your guitar amp between songs is louder than the applause of the 3 or 4 people who actually clapped
- The Haunted Set List -- The set list you've strategically taped to the floor in front of you mysteriously flaps in rhythm to your power chords
- The Disgruntled Soundman -- The soundman has symbolically shrouded the mixing board with a large piece of black cloth and is standing back, arms folded, glaring at you