Loud is …

so lately I’ve been working with a group which varies from a trio to 6 piece band.  Wherever we go, we get compliments on the sound, many of which are along the lines of, “it was just the right loudness”. Mind you, the real, measured levels vary from around 93 to about 105 Db.  That’s right, I adjust the level to the venue and audience.  For the older crowds, we don’t kill but you know there’s a good band playing.  For the college age venues, we’ll kill you with the best while providing a high quality mix.

SO, why is there always the push to play LOUD?   There’s the argument that certain guitar amps sound better loud but today most (if not all) of that sound can be achieved in the early stages of the amp and then the master volume turned down to a useful level.  At larger concert venues (say 3000 and up) it probably makes no difference.  But how many bands play to much more than a few hundred?  In those venues, the loud guitars and drums force a minimum level that may be inappropriate for the audience.  If not, vocals are lost.  So who exactly is deciding and why?  I’ll post my thoughts later but would like some feedback (verbal not audio) on the issue.