What To Wear To The Metal Show?

Growing up, musically-speaking, I was a Total Metal Guy™ in every way. If it involved some combination of massive guitar, screaming, speed, ample bounties of black clothing, anger, death, and/or band photos where all members of said band look like they could eat you whole and promptly poop you out at the gates of hell, I would most likely really enjoy it. I also liked Phil Collins, but I digress, as that is a story for another day. 

As with any musical genre or sub-culture, there is a certain coded set of unwritten rules and regulations handed down from on high by metal’s founding fathers pertaining to how one dresses, talks, acts, rocks, attends shows, etc. (Such as one does not listen to the band one is going to see while one is entering or exiting the parking lot of the venue). When I was in the midst of it, these things came naturally to me. However, I must admit to being a bit removed from it these days. 

I certainly still enjoy a good metal tune just as much as the next guy, but in terms of living, breathing, and loving the metal, it’s just not my thing anymore. I’ve mellowed in my old age. (And lost a bit of appreciation for most of the music I grew up on once I actually became a musician and understood more of what was happening). I’ve traded Slayer for Mayer. Pantera for The Philadelphia Experiment. Clutch for Coltrane. It’s the inevitable growing process of any musical appreciator, and one that I hope continues throughout my life as I constantly find and enjoy new and better music.

All that to say, tonight I ROCK AGAIN. My sister, brother-in-law, and I will be taking in the always-awesome Corrosion Of Conformity this evening. I haven’t seen COC since my freshman year of college, so this should be fun for a variety of reasons. 

1. They’re a good band, and I haven’t seen a good show in months.

2. As an avid, professed people-watcher, there really isn’t a better observation deck than a typical metal show in South Carolina. I’m serious. It’s usually the environment where you’re like, “Wait… people like this EXIST? And in MY TOWN?” Yes. Yes, they do. And they are HILARIOUS.

3. Despite the southern-soaked metalness of it all, COC had funk genius Stanton Moore from Galactic play drums on their newest album. If you’re not up on your jazz/funk drummers, Stanton is from planet I’m-Stanton-Moore-and-you-don’t-know-crap-about-music. It added a decidedly different rhythmic flavor to the new stuff that feels welcomed. Unfortunately, he’s not touring with them, but in another blast from the past moment, former Cry Of Love drummer Jason Paterson will be handling drumming duty. Ah, the south. Where all bands eventually merge into one.

4. My wonderful sister took me to my first show (Trixter, Jackyl, and freaking KISS at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in ’91 or ’92) so there’s always a twinge of nostalgia that accompanies us when we go to shows together.

So we have the setting for the evening. But what the crap do I wear to the metal show? I’ve forgotten the code. I don’t know the lingo. THESE ARE NOT MY PEOPLE. My daily cotton/denim/flip flops uniform is not Total Metal Guy™ garb. I do not meet the minimum rock requirements. I need shoes with hardened soles, like the tortured soul of the metal itself, shirts of the blackest black, midnight dark like the shade of the nodules on the vocal chords of every metal frontman (who will soon sound like a midwest Waffle House waitress throwing back three packs of non-filtered Lucky Strikes a day). I need a mullet. 

I’m woefully unprepared to rock.