CONCORD -- Over several weeks in May, Canyon Creek homeowners began hearing a familiar sound at an unfamiliar time. These residents, who live near Sleep Train Pavilion, are accustomed to hearing concerts at night.
But for weeks, they reported hearing music blaring from the Pavilion on weekdays, sometimes lasting until the evening and containing explicit language. And there were no bands in sight.
As it turned out, Live Nation -- the company contracted to operate the city-owned Pavilion -- had rented out the space to a sound equipment company to conduct sound tests.
One resident in a neighborhood on the other side of Kirker Pass Road used a hand-held decibel meter to capture the noise pummeling his home office. The highest level was recorded at 92, the equivalent of diesel truck traffic.
"The noise was so loud dishes were rattling off of counters," said Leslie Miller, homeowners association president.
Miller and Suzanne Davis-Lucey, who unsuccessfully ran for City Council in November, have complained that years of neglect have left the property overgrown with weeds, and a tree root in a drainage ditch could pose a flooding risk.
The noise galvanized the homeowners group, which has taken the complaints about noise, traffic and blight on the Pavilion grounds to City Council meetings.
The neighbors' concerns were heightened after learning recently the city this fall extended its contract with Live Nation for another year.
Attempts to reach a Live Nation representative were not successful.
Residents also say they are concerned the sound testing could occur again in 2013. The current contract does not prevent Live Nation from testing, though, according to an email from Joan Carrico, Concord's director of parks and recreation, the city informed the company that the testing agreement was "a problem and needs to cease."
Residents of Canyon Creek, built after the Pavilion opened, said they began hearing the testing in early May and that it lasted two to three weeks.
Brenda Traux, who said she heard the testing as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 1 a.m., thought she was "losing her mind." Traux has lived in Canyon Creek for 12 years and thinks the concert noise from the Pavilion is as loud now as it has ever been. She blames the bass response of the speakers.
"You can feel it in your body," Traux said last week. "You can't get away from it. It could be a weapon you could use to drive people out of their minds."
Rob Ainscough, the neighbor who used the decibel meter, said, "It felt like I was at the concert."
In an email to residents in May, Pavilion General Manager Tim Anderson said his staff went into the neighborhood during testing to ensure it was "not carrying over there."
Davis-Lucey said she is encouraged by the city's response to recent complaints.
Over the past week, after this newspaper began talking to residents about the blight, city workers cleared weeds from the frontage road along the Pavilion.
Carrico said the city's contract with Live Nation does not set boundaries for maintenance.
But the city will pick up the costs of the weed abatement and for cleanup of a drainage ditch along the frontage road. Live Nation is responsible for the parking lot, Carrico said.
The lot, according to Davis-Lucey, still has weeds.
"I hope we are not just going to let this go," she said.
David DeBolt covers Concord and Clayton. Contact him at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.