Last Wednesday i went to see Kreator, a famous German thrash band. They were, to say the least, totally fucking awesome. After crowd surfing and moshing me wee heart out, i came home, bleeding slightly and totally exhilarated. It also got me thinking of, now that i am somewhat of a veteran of concerts now, the things I have learnt to do and not do. Some of these are general bits of information that any metal fan can take into account. Others are more personal and reflect the basic indignity of my lifestyle: a metal head that enjoys cycling.
1. Dress appropriately for said concert. Keys in pocket are a no no dude to potential stabbing if you should fall in the pit. People who say wear sturdy shoes are idiots. Combat boots are slight overkill. All that being said, wear sturdy shoes, you don't want your volley's disappearing. And wear ear plugs. So when your fifty and you go see an 80 year old Metallica, you can hear them. Cut off denim jacket or flannel is crucial. Band tee of band you are seeing is sure sign of a fool. I made this faux pas at Slayer in 2007. I only just got away with it. But make sure the shirt you do wear is of a band of a similar type. Do not, for example, go to see Opeth, wearing a Slipknot tee shirt. Not only are the latter not metal all, it's ridiculous to have a populist rap metal band tee shirt to a folk death metal concert.
2. Do NOT ride to the concert. Unless your palping a sweet Harley, which is the only 'bike' a metal crowd will respect. No one is gonna give a fuck if you rock up on your sweet Look, and god forbid that you should rock up on your 'sweet fixie'. Metal heads despise hipsters. With a vehement passion. They are far to genuine to put up with showmanship tomfoolery. (The fact they like Municipal Waste is a delicious irony)
3. The average metal fan looks like this:
For Gods sake, don't get him angry. We all know Blind Guardian are pompous, ridiculous German's who should have stopped before they named an album 'A Night At the Opera' featuring a fourteen minute song, but he's ignorant of this. Talk to him. Exchange views of all things metal. Discuss the nineties Iron Maiden line up, and just how much they SUCKED.
4. When the music actually begins (you can tell because the token Pantera fan, with cargo shorts and Vans, is breathing really loudly and soaking his face with beer) don't make a dick of yourself. There is a difference between moshing and fighting. Don't hit anyone in the face, unless they do first. If you crowd surf, be sure to return the favour to whoever lifted you up. And thank the bouncers! They are getting payed sure, but can you imagine how horrible it is to spend two hours lifting sweaty hairy metal heads, who haven't changed their Nike high tops since 1991?
5. DO yell things at the band. It makes them think they are still relevant and entertaining in a world that has forgotten metal and all it's pathetic fans such as myself.
6.If anyone falls over in the pit, rather than stomp on them as the Pantera fan is, help them up. It could be your face that is being crushed into the ground.
7. When you purchase beverages (you need these to overlook the place your spending time in, as well as to summon up courage to enter the pit) be nice to the people at the bar. While you are hearing sweet old school thrash from 'back in the day', they are hearing horrible distorted guitar with grating vocals, and smelling lots of smelly people. Some of them are actually quite attractive women. Don't fool yourself. They aren't impressed by your sweet Obituary back patch, but it can be pleasant looking at them regardless.
8. When the concert is over, DO fight tooth and nail for the generic pics the band will pass out. They will one day be worth slightly more than they are worth now.
9.When outside the venue, don't linger around with people you don't know or want to know talking about the 'sweet blast beats' and 'brutal vocals'. It was mediocre at best, admit it.
10. If your were stupid enough to ride your bike, DO NOT go collect it. There will almost certainly be a group gathered around it discussing 'faggot cyclists' and 'hipster cunts'. Join in the crowd and kick the bike a bit to cover your ass before you make for the train.
11. If you indulged in some sweet windmilling, your neck is gonna hurt like fuck for the next three days. No amount of pseudo massage will change this.
If you take these rules into account you might survive said gig, and even enjoy it. While metal is mostly totally ridiculous, it is certainly a passion of mine, and still never ceases to amaze me with its power to transcend the everyday. Be aware of its faults, but don't be elitist (unless they like Parkway Drive) or act superior because you see through some of metal's pitfalls. It is a great way to meet people you might not ordinarily meet (no braided hair at alley cats) and allows you to see some of the greatest bands the world has ever seen. All that said, Pantera suck. There i said it.