AC/DC could kill off rare bird species

Do AC/DC want to send the Curlew on the Highway To Hell?
Do AC/DC want to send the Curlew on the Highway To Hell? (Image credit: Luke Macgregor/Reuters/Corbis)

Throughout their career, AC/DC have slayed audiences with louder-than-all-get-out stage shows. But who knew the band could wipe out a rare bird species?

According to Hans Uhl of the animal rights group BirdLife, the sound levels generated by AC/DC concerts are excessive and pose a threat to a bird known as the Curlew. Uhl has started a campaign to put a halt to a concert by the group at the Wels Air Field in Austria scheduled for 22 May.

Curlews can be found in select regions of the world, including the town of Wels, which is a particularly favorite nesting ground for the rare bird.

"The second biggest colony of Curlews in Upper Austria and various other ground-nesting birds must not become endangered," Mr Uhl said.

A Curlew, doing its part to make baby crabs extinct. Image: © Arthur Morris/Corbis

Uhl might be in for quite a fight, however, as all 80,000 tickets for the concert were snatched up within hours.

The staff at MusicRadar has attended more than their fair share of AC/DC concerts over the years. Aside from the usual hangover and ringing of the ears (all gone within 24 hours), we've never experienced any serious adverse effects.

Nonetheless, we consulted the All Ears website, which lists decibel levels of 120, typical of "sand blasting" and a "loud concert in front of the speakers" as "immediately harmful to your hearing." (We're not qute sure that Curlews will position themselves directly in front of the speakers - not unless they're super Hell's Bells fans.)

All Ears states that 140 dBs, consistent with a "gun shot blast" or the sound generated by "a jet engine," can result in "instant hearing loss without hearing protection."

As for 150 dBs, that which can be heard while standing near "a rocket launching pad," well, both humans and those cute little Curlews might be in for rough times.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.