Sharing an Allston building with a very bad band

Jonathan Levitt wonders:

How late is acceptable for a very bad band to be practicing in an Allston apartment building?

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11

At the very least, go talk to them before calling the cops.

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no don't

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They are so called adults who have signed leases that they are violating in addition to breaking the law. They don't deserve the courtesy, the disturbed neighbors do. Besides, the question is being asked likely because they have already talked to the Steven Tyler wanna bes. Wanting to be in a band does not give them more rights than the rest of the building. It's actually a lease violation to have band practice in your apt at 2 pm if you are disturbing the other residents.

Having been through this before with an upstairs neighbor that would have band practice after midnight (with a horn section) and parties until 5 am, the only thing they would listen to were the landlord, the management company (condo bldg), and the cops. Otherwise, they would get mad at me for embarrassing them in front of their friends, not calling them before knocking on the door (then apologizing when sober when they saw the missed calls), outright ignoring any attempts to reach them as they were partying/playing, etc. Then they had the nerve to be surprised and apologetic once the landlord got involved as though they had no idea that they were disturbing me.

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definition of masshole

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Seriously, dont be a "masshole". Just knock on the door and tell them to knock it off, they probably dont realize they are bothering people. College age kids can talk themselves into anything (oh my buddy says these walls are thick, we arent bothering anyone). Take the high road. If they repeatedly do this after telling them no more noise after 11pm, then call the cops.

Side note, bands should have to pony up for a practice space. I've had to for years.

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Ok

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Luckily not everyone is the same, and your personal experience is not a guide for future actions by strangers directed at other strangers.

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If you don't know the band,

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If you don't know the band, then you don't know what the reaction would be. No matter how nicely you ask them. The police are there to enforce the municipal noise ordinance. Better be safe than sorry. These days people get stabbed over asking to borrow grated cheese at a pizza shop.

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"These days" ??

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Try the 70's & 80's Pal.....when that actually happened. Crime in Boston now is NOTHING compared to what it was back in the 60s-Mid 90s.

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part of it.

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part of it.

c. Unreasonable or excessive noise shall mean

1. Noise measured in excess of 50 dBa between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., or in excess of 70 dBa at all other hours; or

2. In the absence of an applicable noise level standard or regulation of the Air Pollution Control Commission, any noise plainly audible at a distance of three hundred (300′) feet or, in the case of loud amplification devices or similar equipment, noise plainly audible at a distance of one hundred (100′) feet from its source by a person of normal hearing.

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There's an app

You can measure noise levels with a smartphone. I use Physics Toolbox on Android.

70 dB is not really very loud. Normal TV watching can generate noise that loud, especially during ads. If the band is disturbing neighbors rocking out at all, they are certainly way over 70 dB.

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Any Time

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The city has noise ordinances which start getting stricter at 11 PM, but also noises any time of the day are covered:

Anything louder than 50 decibels from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. is considered unreasonable.
Anything louder than 70 decibels is considered too much at any time, except for permitted construction.

Additionally however, almost without any exceptions, there are building rules regarding noise from a unit not exiting said unit and going into other units. Even loud footsteps are covered by those rules, let alone loud music. These should be provided by building/condo management in a handbook for new buyers and/or tenants.

The first step is to complain to building management and your unit owner regarding the noise. They may ask you to call and document calls to police if it occurs after hours [when management is not on site]. Unless you know the neighbors well it is strongly advised that you do not leave notes or approach them directly as this can lead to conflicts, it is better to mediate through the building management as that is the job of said management.

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Bad manners and bad music

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All these suggestions are good. The musicians are totally inconsiderate. An apartment building is not the place to practice.

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Been There

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You might want to find out if it's a zoning violation in a residential building. If they have a band name and website, Facebook page, Twitter account, SoundCloud, YouTube, etc., then you might be able to argue that they are not purely recreational but "running a business." Having lived above a hopelessly bad band (lead guitarist struggles with chords going on four years now and is a tone-deaf singer; drummer should consider birdwatching or knitting) I can sympathize!

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Ahem

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You do more than that ... Hi Andrea!

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I saw Bad Manners

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... at The Channel, and I thought they were great fun! The keyboardist had an A Clockwork Orange outfit and Buster was keeping the crowd happy.

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That depends on how bad the band is

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If they're truly horrendous, an official visit to convince them that, in the public interest, they should take up another profession may be necessary.

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You misunderstand

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This will simply persuade them that they need to play louder. Raging against the machine, and all that.

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Start by taking the high road

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Go and ask them nicely to stop practicing after X o'clock. Many people (especially, but not exclusively, the young ones) are clueless and will respond with a sincere, "Oh, sorry" and knock it off. If they choose to be dicks about it, you can always call the cops.

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Copy the Landlord on interactions

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Copy all interactions to the landlord. Write them a nice letter saying "people work all different hours and your band practice is keeping us up". If there are "quiet hours" in your lease, copy the page and add that to the note. Then copy the whole thing to the landlord and make it clear that you are doing so.

If they want to be dicks, don't escalate with them - escalate with the landlord and then the cops.

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i think

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that this is the building right next to my building

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Huh.

I guess even Allston is changing these days. It used to be a given that this is what you’re signing up for when choosing to live there.

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affordability

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Sometimes a choice isn't really much of a choice.

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Wait

Allston is considered affordable?

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Yes

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Unless you think somebody should give you a place to live, it is quite affordable for someone in college or just coming out of college.

Honey, rents have doubled in the area, but so have paychecks. Give the fake crusade a rest.

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Please tell me where I can

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Please tell me where I can work that my paycheck will DOUBLE to keep up with rent increases.

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Rents in Allston have doubled in 25-30 years

Paychecks have doubled, too.

My son is looking at apartments. The places he is looking at rented for about half what they asking now when my friends lived in the same areas in the late 80s/early 90s.

My son will be making about twice what he would have made straight out of college in '88.

So, yes, rents and paychecks have doubled together. Unless I'm missing some mysterious factor in some magic worldspace. It is possible that this isn't the case in other areas.

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The plural of anecdote is not

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The plural of anecdote is not data.

Your son's single paycheck does not invalidate the actual median wages (and cost of living) over time. Nobody cares if your son is a Lake Woebegon average. Humblebrag on facebook, Ma.

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Please show me any evidence

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Please show me any evidence at all that paychecks have DOUBLED. Seriously. I'm very curious where 100% wage increases have happened.

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Reminds me of my younger days...

When I moved back to Boston 18 years ago, I got an apartment on Harvard Ave. in Allston. My place was on the first floor and the guys in the basement unit had a terrible band. They weren't bad guys, but their music was awful. On top of that, they were just super inconsiderate. I went and talked to them repeatedly about the noise, mostly during the work week. I basically said to them, "look I don't much care about Friday and Saturday nights (it is Allston after all), but people have to go to work during the week, so can you call it quits before 10?" I thought this was a reasonable request.

They kept to the deal for a while and then just started playing until almost midnight. I called the cops and they came out and dealt with it. I didn't feel bad about it. If anyone should have felt bad, it was the guys playing music in an apartment building until midnight.

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Same exact thing

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On Mission Hill in 2008/2009. Except I was on the 2nd floor and the band would practice in the basement. Somehow it reverberated up two floors and would literally shake our television, dishes in the cabinet. Felt like a train running past.

I used the same strategies as you, eventually having to resort to calling our management company's security service. Turns out the guys stopped paying rent and were eventually evicted. Maybe they shouldn't have... quit their day jobs.

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Talking vs. The Cops

The house next to ours has always had bands. Both buildings have fieldstone basements and the houses are pretty close, so when the band plays, it's in our apt. The last three bands that lived there were actually pretty talented (one was even a wedding band) and super respectful, so we didn't mind.

New band has been there for going on three years. They practice every day but somehow? have gotten? worse? Like the Pixies going thru a psychedelic phase. ANYWAY, they would play every day until after 11 and were unresponsive to our attempts at contact, so we got D14 involved. After a dozen or more requests to the station to do something, they finally showed up....at our house. They straight up said, "You're in Brighton, what did you expect? If you don't like it, move." Which got my goat 'cause the cop was younger than we (all in our 20s) and we'd been living in the neighborhood for a long ass time. He then went next door, told the kids we had a problem, and sent them over so we could work something out. So that was pretty awkward. But we hashed it out and it's more or less resolved now.

TLDR; the band was awful and disrespectful. We talked. Now they're just awful, but stop playing at 9. So see if you can exchange numbers and find a time that works for everyone to stop playing. 'Cause D14 don't care.

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How does a rented house

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How does a rented house become a band-magnet like that? I've never heard of such a thing.

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As best as I can tell, you

As best as I can tell, you have one or two bands living in the house, practicing in the basement. A non-resident band member picks up the lease for the following year. That person moves in with a new set of musicians. A non-resident member from another band picks up the lease from the current residents and moves in with a new set of musicians. On and on and on.

Before I moved in, the hardcore band that lived there put a lot of money into retrofitting the basement to be an ideal space for practicing/throwing shows. It's actually pretty impressive--looks almost like those bunks in the house in Fight Club. The house is huge, ideal for transient musicians. Current residents also rented out the basement as practice space for a time.

Disclosure: I played in punk bands for years, so my tolerance for shitty bands is really high. That being said, the current band broke me. I now hate music.

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Years ago

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maybe 2012? I was living in Allston and I had these idiot neighbors who were obnoxious and loud and always messing with fireworks.

Then, one evening when I was in my jammies ready to go to bed, I hear/see fireworks going off and I look out the window to see these braintrusts lighting fireworks *in their apartment* and tossing them out the window at cars and pedestrians. So I call it into the police. The patrol car pulls up and calls me on the phone to buzz him into the building. I tell him that I cannot buzz him into the building because I do not live in the building. He asked for their apartment number. I said I don't live in the building and have no idea how that building is numbered. He says without building access, he can't do anything, and left.

Thankfully their lease was up in September and they moved out. But the police were no help at all.

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Live bands?

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Where are all these live bands coming from? Don't they know the days of live music in clubs is over? Geez, you'd think it was the Rat in 1976 or something! Willie Loco and the Boom Boom Band. Now THAT was a live local band worth seeing! Real Kids too.

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Going about it all wrong.

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Going about it all wrong. Your job is to start a BETTER band. Make sure you practice at the same time they do. Don't stop until 15 minutes after they do, because practicing will make sure your band is always better than them. Find out what their band is called and give your band a better version of that same name. For example, if they are called "the rockets," name your band "the laser rockets: 2 da x-treeem." Once they see that they will forever be living in your band's shadow, they will quietly disband and put more effort into finally getting promoted at Best Buy.

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Best Buy?

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" they will quietly disband and put more effort into finally getting promoted at Best Buy."

Is that where musician wannabes work now? I remember when they all used to be bike messengers, but bike messengers have kind of faded away in recent years.

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The power of "NO"

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When I lived on Sorrento Street in Lower Allston, a new roommate was moving into our 5 person apartment. He asked if his band could practice in the huge basement and we told him absolutely not and he never did.

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loudness equation

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It's not enough to be loud, they have to suck, too...

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