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March 10, 2011

Metalheads 101: Attending Your First Metal Concert

Concerts & Grog Fests, Metalheads 101, Tr00 Metal Life

I actually cannot remember my first metal concert. Is that odd? I suppose it depends on what you mean by “metal” and “concert”. The first live music concert I ever saw (apart from a couple of Christian rock bands at the local church) was that horrid pop band 5ive in Birmingham, England, with 10 other 15 year old girls. I did not go voluntarily.

My first “real” rock concert was a band I am pretty ashamed to admit I like and so won’t mention here for fear you’ll never read this blog again. The band Incubus opened for them, as well as two local New Zealand acts, including a hard rock band who are no longer together called Savant, who I will have to play you sometime, as they’re fucking amazing. I managed to get front row centre – right on the bar – for the entire show. And standing right next to me was a gorgeous dude who ended up being my boyfriend for the next three years.

blind-guardian-bloodstock-2009

Blind Guardian Bloodstock 2009

But my first metal concert – my first real metal concert? I don’t remember. Was it the 8 Foot Sativa show at the local student bar where I had my first slam mosh? Was it Metallica’s BDO 2004 show where I waited 7 hours in the pit to be on the bar? Was it Motorhead at the St. James Theatre, where Lemmy threw a tanty about the sound and I got crushed to death by the Ogre? It’s al a blur of crazy memories and incredible music.

Between that first show, whichever one it was, and now, I’ve seen … probably a hundred shows, probably more. I’ve seen local and international bands here in New Zealand, in Australia, in England, in Europe, in Greece … I’ve been to underground shows with a crowd of 15 and the biggest heavy metal festival on earth …

I think every metalhead should see one of their favorite bands live. You don’t have to go crazy in the pit to have a good time. Metal is one of the best forms of music to hear live. That enormous sound fills the whole room, and you can’t help but be swept up in it.

Choosing Your First Concert

Ignoring what I said above about not being able to remember my first metal show, the first metal show you choose to see is REALLY important. You want to be sure you have the best time ever, otherwise you’ll never want to go back. And I’d kind of like to see you there someday, so that would be sad. I think you should choose a band you really like – a band whose songs you know well and whose fans say put on a wicked show.

I think you should choose a mid-size gig – not a stadium show, because the vibe is different and the massive crowd can be quite scary, but a club gig – 300-1500 people. And I think you should get a GA standing ticket.

I think if you can find a group of like-minded friends to go with that would be great, but otherwise, you should go by yourself. Don’t drag some poor non-metalhead along – you’ll spend the night worrying about whether they’re having fun or not, and you won’t concentrate on the whole first concert experience. You’re going to be hanging out with your people – metalheads – so don’t bring an outsider in :)

Make sure you figure out how you’re going to get to and from the concert, especially if you plan on drinking. Always have some back-up cash for a taxi in case the gig goes overtime and you miss the last bus (yes, this is a lesson from experience). Carpool or taxi with friends to keep costs down – we normally meet up for drinks first, then head into town in taxis or on the bus.

What to Wear to Your First Metal Concert

A metal t-shirt. And no, not just any t-shirt. Listen up, because this is very, very important. You CANNOT, SHALL NOT, absolutely MUST NOT wear the shirt of the band you’re going to see. It’s an unwritten law (which I’ve just written, thus making it a written law) that dates back to the heyday of metal, and you don’t mess with historical precedent.

If you buy a band shirt at the gig, put it on underneath your current shirt, stuff it into your bag, or give it to your long-suffering husband to look after. Some people wear theirs, but this makes them look silly. And we’re all about not looking silly.

Exceptions to this strict rule are few, and mostly cover festival shirts, where up to 100 bands names are printed on the back.It’s unavoidable that sometimes the band you’re seeing is going to have their logo on that shirt. The awesomeness of having attended the festival outweighs the silliness of wearing the band’s name on your shirt.

So which shirt should you wear? Apart from the rule above, pretty much anything goes. Most people tend to stick to a band in the same sub-genre as the band they’re seeing, but you don’t have to be that anal. A black shirt – any black shirt – is fine.

Sturdy jeans or shorts: if you intend on going up front, you will get hot very quickly. Do NOT wear a skirt. I’ve seen girls come out of the pit with their skirts torn to shreds.

Boots: NOT sneakers. NOT sandals, definitely NOT jandals. You will get stood on. A lot. If you don’t have steel-caps or at least strong leather boots, this will hurt.

Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet and Watch: I try to take as little as possible, so I can fit everything into a tiny, padded bag which I loop across my shoulders. It is very easy to lose things in the pit, so make sure your bag fastens securely. I pack cash, ID (if needed. I still get IDed a lot), my cellphone (if needed), camera (if allowed), and pen in case I meet up with the band afterwards. If you want to bring a camera, check the back of your ticket to see if it’s allowed. Many venues won’t allow cameras inside, and it sucks to get there and have it confiscated or have to leave the line to go back to your car.

You’ll laugh, but I also have a pair of opera binoculars I use. Blind metalheads FTW.

Don’t forget your ticket!

What to Expect in the Mosh Pit

The front area of the stage – the pit – isn’t for everyone. It can be carnage down there. However, I do think every metalhead should be in the pit, at least once, right up the front, so you can experience what a thrill it is.

Pits come in a number of different forms. Right up the front of a larger concert, you tend to have what I call “the squash” where everyone is packed so tightly together you can’t move, even if you want to. Everyone pushes forward in a desperate attempt to gain those extra precious inches to the stage, and it can become quite hot and painful. You also become intimately familiar with the anatomy of the people on either side of us.

Further back from the squash, but still quite near the front, is the real moshing. This is the jumping, slam-moshing, circle pits and walls-of-death. I tend to avoid this area, because I am very little and oncoordinated. I trip over myself just walking down the street, so I get decimated in this ocean of gyrating bodies.

If you’ve never been in a wall of death, picture yourself facing off against an opposing army, running across the battleifeld to clash together in a great flailing of limbs. They are insanely scary but so much fun.

A circle pit is essentially a bunch of people running in a circle or crashing against the edges of a circle. They sound tamer than a wall of death, but can be their own special breed of carnage. Observe.

Behind the circle pit area is where the majority of people watch from. Most people prefer to stake out a spot with plenty of space (their personal territorial bubble) and actually watch the band. Who would’ve guessed that’s the main reason people attend concerts? Crazy fuckers.

Back behind the moshing, you can headbang if you want, you can go and get a beer or take a piss and always find your way back to your own little space. You’re also nearest the sound desk, where the best sound is.

Mosh-Pit Etiquette

In the squash, the flow of the pit goes forward and outward. So you travel quickly down the middle toward the stage, then, unless you’re on the bar, you will be quickly pushed out toward the side. You will quickly learn how to use the momentum of the pit to wriggle between the people gaps and wind your way to the front, where you might only stay for a song or two before the tide pushes you out again.

If you’re in the squash and the crowd decides to start jumping around, you can get thrown about or knocked over. This has happened to me several times and can be very scary. It’s more likely to happen the further back you are from the stage (as people have more room and it’s easier to get knocked about). But honestly, the people in pits are SO kind and considerate – they see a girl (or guy) who’s fallen down or looks like they’re in trouble, and they will help you out.

To get out of a pit, signal to the people on either side of you that you want to get out. They will lift you up and you will be crowd-surfed to the front of the stage, where security guards will pull you out. This is quite fun.

Pits are different all over the world. In Germany, my friend Johnowar and I were in a pit right up the front of Rage. John’s hat flew off and he yelled out “I lost my hat!” in English, and the people around us actually PARTED so he could look for it. Like Moses on the red sea.

In New Zealand, they would probably have pissed on it.

In all UK shows I’ve been to, I’ve found the whole front-of-stage area extremely polite and restrained, although I’m assured this isn’t always the case.

New Zealanders are insane, especially when it comes to violent pits. We can turn Iron Maiden into the most brutal pit experience imaginable. This is why we have a reputation as being crazy mother-f**kers. Even our local shows are absolute carnage.

Getting to the Bar

“Being on the bar” means you’re right at the front, so you’re leaning against the security bar. It is, apart from directly in front of the sounddesk, the best place to be at a metal show. Why? First, you get an unobstructed, front-row view of the band. This is quite important for those among us – like me – who can’t actally see that well from further back.

Second, you don’t get tossed around as much. Being on the bar means you’re able to hold on better if the pit turns into a slam mosh. If you get the bar, you can usually keep it for the entire show, whereas, if you’re even one person behind, you tend to get pushed out quite quickly.

wacken-open-air

Wacken, from the bar, looking back.

The disadvantage to being on the bar is that a) quite a lot of people want to be where you are, so they will all be sticking their hands in and trying to wriggle their elbow in to get your spot, and b) you will spend half the night with your face in the belly of a large bouncer while they pull people out of the pit. You know that brace position they teach you on planes? Yeah, it comes in handy here.

The best way to get to the bar is to be the first in the doors, and run to the front of the stage, grab your spot, and don’t move. If you can’t get right on the bar, stand directly behind the people at the dead centre of the stage – this is where the pressure from behind is greatest. Chances are, if you can hold on, and make the tide go around you, at some point during the night this pressure will push the people in front behind and you can squeeze in.

At a festival, it’s much easier, as people tend to leave after a band finishes to catch up with bands on other stages. Simply wait behind someone during the last couple of songs of a band and, when they move away, nip in at take their spot.

Once you’re on the bar, hold on at all costs. Before the squash starts, I like to unwind my sweatshirt/jacket and jam it between my rids and the bar. Heavenly comfort, I can assure you. I fold my arms over the side of the bar. This stops other people trying to squeeze in beside me.

And then, I say hello to my “bar-mates” on either side. Lots of friendships have been forced at the front of metal concerts.

Top Concert Tips

To a metalhead, closing seven inches of distance between you and the stage IS worth it.

There is no “save my spot” in the pit. If you have to leave to go for a piss or your ribs are broken, you are not going to get your spot back.

Asking people to give up their spot for you since this is “your favourite band of all time” makes you sound whiny and childish. Don’t do it. I don’t ask people to give up the bar for me because I’m blind.

Never wear a skirt in a mosh pit. Just DO NOT DO IT. There’s always a girl who does it, and she’s always the girl left standing at the end with only a torn fragment of skirt remaining.

You cannot turn a tide of people by pushing back, so don’t even try. This applies for guys trying to “protect” their girlfriends.

If you’re a girl and someone gropes you inappropriately, elbow them. Don’t tolerate that bollocks.

Don’t bring flags into the pit. The people behind you can’t see, and this annoys them. You do not want a bunch of annoyed metalheads on your ass.

Remember that in the squash some people can’t control where their limbs end up. Don’t get aggro just because someone elbows you – sometimes they can’t help it.

Be nice, and everyone gets to have a good time.

Try and catch a pick. You’ll be so proud.

Bring earplugs, even for local shows. Especially for local shows.

I’ll talk more about local shows in my next article.

Assignment

If you’ve never been to a metal show before, now’s the time, baby! Bands are touring, and your job is to find one you like and go and see them. The sooner the better. And when you’ve gone, come back and report your adventures to me.

If you’re a regular concert goer, tell us your top tips – your favorite shows. Your best-spot to stand, your favorite concert outfit. Your first metal concert experience? Your best and worst shows? What size shows do you like best? Who are you looking forward to seeing soon?

126 Comments on “Metalheads 101: Attending Your First Metal Concert

marachime
October 20, 2016 at 4:54 am

me and my best friend are going to see Korn this december – it will be my first large concert and first metal gig. i’m very excited, but i think i’m going to hurt my feet walking in my madfish boots. thank you for the advice about skirts! and for the advice about elbowing wankers. I will use this page as my concert-going bible :D.

Take care, mate \m/

steff
January 10, 2017 at 2:06 pm

@marachine – awesome! How was the concert? I saw Korn a few years back and they put on a decent show \m/

Skylar
October 14, 2016 at 5:38 am

If you see someone fall in the pit, or see them tie their shoes; help them up or stand above them as to allow them to finish tying their shoes safely. Just to keep everyone safe.

Mary
October 10, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Hey Steff! best tips Ive found so far! Ive been to metal shows before, but this time I want FIRST ROW!! tho Im quite scared, Im a girl and Im going all alone to Knotfest, no boyfriend to “protect” me from being all squashed against the bars, I like your jacket idea, because I do feel they can break my ribs there! Would you add any tip to avoid that? Last time I had to ask security to pull me out cause I was running out of breath and I dont want that to happen again :( thanks!! ;)

Neil
August 6, 2016 at 1:10 pm

What’s this unwritten law of NOT wearing the T-Shirt of the band you are seeing? I started going to metal concerts in 92 and it’s always been the exact opposite from my perspective. As mark of respect and loyalty to the band you’re seeing. And it’s not just me, Hyde Park, Black Sabbath headlining. I saw literally 100’s of people wearing T-Shirts of bands that, surprise surprise were on the bill for that day!

Anna
September 8, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Thank god, im going to BMTH this month, first concert (yay!) and I bought a shirt for it months ago, same for disturbed in november, freaked out a little bit hearing theres an ‘unwritten law’ against it, because yeah I also thought it was a normal respectful thing to do

RayRay
July 27, 2016 at 9:35 am

Well, here in the US, the bands I listen to LOVE seeing fans attending wearing their shirts, and love it even more if fans wear shirts they made themselves. So, for most bigger bands here, wearing their shirts/merch is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged. I’m going to see Marilyn Manson and Of Mice & Men next month (well, and Slipknot, but I don’t actually listen to them), and I’m planning to wear a crop top I bought that says “Marilyn Manson is my Daddy” (it’s from Nikki Lipstick, and though I detest the Daddy kink, I love the shirt), an Of Mice & Men pencil skirt, some leggings I love that aren’t exactly “metal” (I dress how I want with no fucks given), and my awesome (Marilyn) Manson goth boots. Or, I may wear my Of Mice & Men leggings with a punk skirt I recently picked up. I’ve had to arrange accommodations with the venue due to something I’d rather not discuss, so I’m quite sure I’ll be safe in terms of wearing a skirt. I want to look sexy, and I have no shorts that help me achieve that. They all give me a muffin top, even if they’re my exact size or even a bit bigger.

Patrik
June 20, 2016 at 1:33 pm

So I need to buy some fucking boots, I have some black t shirts and I’m planning on getting some t shirts (just some band that I appreciate). My first concert will probably be Amon Amarth in November so wish me luck :)
Also there are some great advices, but I don’t understand the T-shirt thing. Can someone help me?

steff
July 14, 2016 at 3:56 pm

@Patrik – Amon Amarth will be an awesome show! I am jealous, haven’t seen them since 09 \m/

The t-shirt thing, as I’ve said in other comments, seems to me as though it’s a very “old school” thing that may have been centric to my side of the world and isn’t really a thing anymore. I’m seeing more and more t-shirts of the band playing at shows, and no one gives a fuck. Wear what you want as long as you feel comfortable. I reckon you’ll be sweet \m/

Michelle
September 17, 2016 at 2:09 am

My first concert is Wednesday to see Ghost. I’ve only seen local metal bands, so the pits are generally smallish. I’m an average built 5’2 chick who loves the pit at local shows. Is it best to stay out of the pits 9F the upcoming ghost show?

Carmen
September 25, 2016 at 10:31 pm

shit I want to see Ghost so bad!! I saw gnr over the summer nod I’m seeing Megadeth, Amon Amarth, Suicidal Tendencies, Butcher Babies, Metal Church, and Havok this tuesday! I’m so excited for it

Jordana
November 7, 2016 at 11:51 am

I’m seeing Ghost on Thursday! It’s at a seated venue, but I’m so stoked. :)

steff
January 10, 2017 at 2:03 pm

I am so jealous! How were they?

Hussien
April 8, 2016 at 1:25 pm

hey thanks for the great tips, hoping to see disturbed on november in sydney.
any idea how long it would last? (it starts at 7 pm and im 15, really don’t want it past 10 but just want an idea)
where would i be able to place my backpack? i don’t want to haul it around, especially since i’m hoping to try the wall of death (i’ve done it before with my classmates XD)

thanks so much, steff

steff
July 14, 2016 at 4:07 pm

@Hussien – That’s gonna be a great show. They’re coming here as well, but I’m heading to Aus for Symphony X so cannot afford it. It will probably finish around 11:30-midnight. Doors may open at 7, but you have opening bands which might start around 8, Disturbed probably go on around 10ish. Really depends on what the promoter is doing.

This will depend on the venue but I really wouldn’t count on a bag check. I usually just stuff everything I need into secure pockets. You don’t really need much (I have my phone, my EFTPOS card, ID, blind card (in case bouncers think I’m stoned) and sometimes some binoculars around my neck.

Jasmine
August 11, 2016 at 8:18 am

Disturbed is a great band to see live, I just saw them for the second time 2 weeks ago. If you have to carry a backpack, I would recommend a rope bag. They are small, lightweight, and you don’t have to worry about zippers getting ripped open, especially if you are moshing or in a death wall. I’ve been in quite a few myself and haven’t had a problem.

F.Las
March 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm

I’ve never been to a metal concert before. My first time would be this April 2016, in Wembley. Babymetal. No tips for seating ticket? Thanks for the tips anyway

Alyssa Oliver (@AlyssaAOliver)
March 29, 2016 at 10:03 am

I’m so glad I found this. I’ll be attending my very first “real” metal show in April. (Amon Amarth, Exmortus, and Entomed A.D. I’m beyond stoked!) You’ve made some incredibly brilliant points that I have either never thought of, or just never heard of. Thanks for the advice!

Theo Cook
March 27, 2016 at 2:11 pm

I’m about to attend my first metal concert. It’s the Metal Alliance Tour and has, among other things, dying fetus, which is my favorite metal band and third favorite all over band. I have been to other concerts but I did not know that you aren’t supposed to wear the shirt for the band your seeing so thank you for that information.

Lauren
February 22, 2016 at 9:41 am

I am SO excited!! My best friend and I are going to see Cradle of Filth in Chicago next week! He’s not as excited as I am, but he can %@$# off :) I’ve been in love with Danny Filth since I was like 16 or 17 (I’m now 25) and this will be my first metal concert!

steff
March 1, 2016 at 11:25 am

@Lauren – AWESOME. That’s gonna be a great show. I saw them in 2007 in England, they are such professionals. You will have a blast!

grace
February 10, 2016 at 11:06 pm

I am going to see black sabbath later in the year it will be my first concert and I had no clue what people wear so this was awesomely helpful to me! I am only 16 and not a huge girl so I think I will avoid the pit haha! Thanks so much!

steff
March 1, 2016 at 11:29 am

@Grace – That’s gonna be so awesome. What an incredible first concert. I’m seeing Sabbath on their NZ tour, as well. Let us know how it goes!

Dee
January 16, 2016 at 12:31 pm

this is nice help. I used to love punk n metl. but i kinda drifted from it. its been like 5 years since ive been to a show and im really missing it. i guess becuse im 110lbs 5’2″ nd i just got bored at shows bc im rambunctious as hell but im just to small for pits n moshing. i just got tired of hanging back, even when at a great show, i just got bored bc i love to push around. but as much as im into more intensity then that, i just get wrecked even if i’m smart about it. even just the centrifugal force of people running around me throws me off big time, and i end up spending my time navigating everyone elses current trying not to get swept away, just trying to stay up right, it become to much of surviving. i started to just hang out closer toward the front, where offten times tottall hunks would help give me defining space….i dont relly like having dudes help me hold my own, i do pretty well for a tiny chick, especily in the squash but i guess having a hunky tattooed babe around isnt that bad….sometimes i see other smallish people or chicks n really wana thrash aroud with them, but too often they are scared of it even with me…lame. trying to figure out how to get back into it without feeling totaly let down bc of my size

Rachel
January 12, 2016 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for this ! Going to my first proper concert with friends later this year, I’m a bit nervous, but this article really helped, especially with regards to standing and attire within that (as i’ll be standing)

By the way, is there any reason why I shouldn’t wear band merch of the band I’m going to see?

Winter
December 4, 2015 at 5:35 am

These are all tips I abide by. I was introduced to metal by a boyfriend, and his local band was my first show. I have a tiny belt-pouch that holds I.D. and cash. I try to avoid bringing my phone if at all possible as I’ve had more than one break in my pocket- if I meet someone I want to connect with there’s always paper. I’ve broken many pairs of glasses in the pit, or left them at home and been unable to see the band, so contacts are your friend if you need them.
Although as one moves beyond their first metal show, it’s ok to play with your outfit a bit more.
Skirts are fine if you wear shorts underneath and-like anything you bring into the pit- don’t care if it gets ruined. (I’ve had shirts ripped in the pit. No piece of clothing is safe.)
And while I’m a bullet belt and boots kind of girl, my boyfriend swears by his leather converse as pit shoes. Sure, getting stepped on is unavoidable but if you can handle it apparently they provide more mobility and are less painful for the crowd if you go crowd surfing.

steff
January 12, 2016 at 4:01 pm

@Winter – thanks for the comment! I’d never thought about converse, but you’re totally right. The usual heavy boots I wear bloody HURT if a person is crowdsurfing in them (I’ve been kicked enough times to know). But converse are sweet as :) What a thoughtful boy you have! \m/

Scarlett
November 25, 2015 at 5:24 pm

i love this i’m going to local gig on the 4th, this is my second my first was rad there was only 30 of us adnit was so good, so ill let you know

steff
November 25, 2015 at 5:46 pm

@Scarlett – AWESOME! \m/ Do let us know!

Jacob
November 23, 2015 at 1:57 pm

I’am going to my first concert in a few days and i was a bit anxious, but your article is great. Thank You
!

krishna
November 22, 2015 at 7:18 pm

thanks for this!! i was super anxious about going to my first concert at first but i’m pretty hyped now, and i have some awesome tips to save me a whole deal of cluelessness :-)

steff
November 25, 2015 at 5:45 pm

@krishna – YEAH \m/ Glad you’re feeling psyched now. Let us know how it goes!

helen
June 9, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Hi I just got done reading your bog and from what I understood its not good if you where a shirt that represents the band your seeing? I am going to a concert in September for my bfs birthday and he a true metal fan. I am a metal fan as well but not as much as him. We will be seeing the awesome bands 5 Finger Death Punch and In This Moment and Papa Roach. I love them! It will be my first metal concert and I am really nervous on what to where. I was thinking about wearing an exo skeleton tank top with black jeans or my Harley Davidson knee shorts and studded skull belt. Would that be a good outfit to where?

steff
June 18, 2015 at 1:16 am

@helen – that outfit sounds perfect. Really, you can just wear what you like – the important thing is to be comfortable and ready for anything \m/ You are going to have an absolute blast!

sondage rémunéré
May 2, 2015 at 6:03 pm

C’nid chastement un de laquelle s’reste défini parce que France

Katie Crandall
April 14, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Hi! My first metal concert was actually Mayhem Fest last year. I was 13 at the time and it was a lot of fun. The people at these concerts are the best, and will always lend a helping hand, just like you said. Since then I have attended 6 others and they were even better. Thank you for sharing this advice, as I will use it in my upcoming Slipknot concert in August and then to heavy Montreal!

Joe
April 6, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Nice post :) BTW, how early would you say id need to be at the door to get a spot at the bar at a Metallica show?

Aris
April 16, 2015 at 11:58 pm

Metallica don’t play in clubs for almost two decades now so there’s no door or bar! They only play festivals and stadiums.

Aris
April 17, 2015 at 12:07 am

And suddenly I realised that “bar” in that case means the security bars in the front of the stage hahaha!! My bad, sorry! I thnk going two hours earlier gives you a better chance to be near the entrance and be one of the first to get in the stadium! People usually start running to catch a place at the front!

Cal
February 12, 2015 at 7:39 pm

My first “true” metal show was super recent. I saw GWAR, Corrosion of Conformity and American Sharks. It was amazing, but I wish that I had read this prior to going. I invited a totally non-metal friend to come with me, because they had a car and it was a big mistake. He nearly broke his nose in the pit, pissed off a group of scary ass old-guard metalheads, and couldn’t wait to get out of there. I swear to God, he didn’t know what an encore was. It was brutal (both physically, and because of my buddy), but I wouldn’t trade being sprayed down in blood and ooze that night for any other first-time show. I saw DTA, Obituary and Rivers of Nihil the weekend after on my lonesome, and it was a markedly better experience. Scary ass mosh and a couple of people had to be carried out, which was awesome as hell. Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth and Tribulation in two days is going to be my most intense endeavor yet. Bringing along a first-time concertgoer but they are a true headbanger, so I’m totally pumped.

Serena
February 8, 2015 at 3:27 pm

I’m going to my first concert in August I kind of bought the tickets really early (6 months ahead of time) I’m so excited i am taking my boyfriend with me although he is not as much of a fan as I am. We’re seeing Slipknot, Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine, and Motionless in White. I’m super stoked especially for Slipknot and LOG

steff
February 9, 2015 at 3:10 pm

@Serena – that’s awesome! I hope you have an amazing time! I’ve seen both Slipknot and Lamb of God live before, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. \m/

Darren
July 9, 2016 at 1:31 am

I was also at that concert it was amazing today is disturbed and breaking Benjamin!!

steff
July 14, 2016 at 3:46 pm

@Darren – wicked! Hope you have an amazing time \m/

Pixie
January 23, 2015 at 11:46 am

Thanks for all the great tips – off to Prepare for Hell tomorrow in Cardiff (got hubby Meet n Greet tickets for his birthday!)- feeling much better after hearing this from another girl!!

steff
February 9, 2015 at 3:23 pm

@Pixie – awesome! I hope you had an amazing time \m/ How was the meet and greet?

Ben
November 15, 2014 at 10:31 pm

My first concert was a Rush concert, as this is my favorite band. They ruled. My first metal concert was a Black Sabbath concert last year, but it was extremely tame. It was amazing, though. There couldn’t really be much of a mosh pit because we were on angled ground. At the bottom of the hill we were on, there was seats. So, yeah.

Ben
November 15, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Forgot to mention that I am going to my first true metal concert in two weeks. I’m seeing Exodus, Slayer, and Suicidal Tendencies and it’s a general admission show. I can’t wait for it, it’s going to rule.

Brittany Judd
November 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm

I’m going to my first metal show next Friday 11/21! Prepare for Hell tour at Bridgestone Arena here in Nashville, TN. I’m a country girl but I have a friend from Vegas coming in town for the concert and he offered to take me. Thank you for writing this article because I am SO lost as to what to expect and more importantly what in the hell to wear!! :) I’m sure it’s going to be awesome and knowing my friend – we will probably be on the floor in the middle of everything and everyone.

Tim
November 3, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Going to my first show tomorrow night actually, Amon Amarth, Skeletonwitch, and Sabaton in Lincoln, NE, then Slipknot and Korn in Omaha, NE on Thursday (my neck is gonna hurt), I’m so pumped, but also so nervous. I really appreciate this post because I have no idea what to expect (the biggest concert I’ve ever been to is Green Day) especially as I’m going by myself and I have a standing GA ticket. Anyway, thanks, and here to an awesome week.

Tim
November 3, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Here’s** to an awesome week.

Lydia Billions
September 9, 2014 at 11:36 am

I’ve been to plenty of concerts before. But, never a metal concert. I’m going to my first in November. I’m going to see Slipknot and Korn ! I’m super excited about it. Just the fact that I have never been to a metal concert made me a little nervous because I got floor tickets. I’m glad I found your article, makes me feel a lot better!

steff
September 11, 2014 at 7:41 pm

@Lydia – awesome! I hope you have an absolute blast, and tell us all how you enjoyed it!

Ethan Beattie
September 24, 2014 at 10:14 am

I’m in the same boat, just bought a ticket for a show 6 days from now in Portland, Maine (5FDP, Volbeat, Hellyeah, and Nothing More). So glad I found this blog. Thanks!

Kristyn
October 20, 2014 at 6:58 pm

I’m going to Korn and Slip Knot too and it’s my first metal too! I wasn’t brave enough to get pit tickets lol Thanks for the tips!

Shing
October 25, 2014 at 10:40 am

I have been to some concerts, eg. Metallica, Lamb of God, and Summer Sonic(somekind of festival) in china. Apart from Lamb of God’s concert, the others are pretty calm, not much of mosh pit at all. But I’m going to the Knotfest in Japan this Nov. As I can see tickets are selling really fast and I’m pretty worry that this time I will be a real Metal experience.

Shing
October 25, 2014 at 10:40 am

I have been to some concerts, eg. Metallica, Lamb of God, and Summer Sonic(somekind of festival) in china. Apart from Lamb of God’s concert, the others are pretty calm, not much of mosh pit at all. But I’m going to the Knotfest in Japan this Nov. As I can see tickets are selling really fast and I’m pretty worry that this time I will be a real Metal experience. Hope you enjoy yours too!

Koda
January 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm

I’m going to see Slipknot and Hatebreed in May and I’m super pumped!

steff
February 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm

@Koda – wicked \m/ I’ve seen both before and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Jenni
August 27, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Wait……I never knew there was an unwritten rule about not wearing the shirt of the band you went to see. I mean, I always did it….mostly because I didn’t HAVE a shirt of any of the bands I saw until after I saw them. But when I went to see Alestorm (AWESOME fucking show) I didn’t wear any band shirt. I dressed up in black and wore a pirate hat, but I bought one later and put it on right then and there. And the people I went with wore Insomnium shirts and we saw Insomnium that same night. Guess they didn’t know about that unwritten rule either….

steff
August 28, 2014 at 6:32 pm

@Jenni – I think it’s an old thing, and possibly a “South end of the world thing”. All the older metalheads I know are very against wearing the shirt of the band at a concert (with the possible exception being putting on the shirt you just bought so you don’t have to hold it). But I don’t see the same thing in younger folk, and the times I’ve been to shows in Europe I’ve seen a lot of the same shirts of the band playing and no one cares. I was bought into the scene by older metalheads so I’m pretty staunch about this, but the truth is … no one cares :) Wear what you like, especially to Insomnium (I’d love to see them!).

recherche d emplois
August 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm

In fact when someone doesn’t be aware of after that
its up to other visitors that they will assist,
so here it takes place.

Micha
August 17, 2014 at 12:26 pm

My first one was Carcass on their Heartwork Tour 1994 in Hannover / Germany. I was 14 back then. Since that concert I was on 200+ shows and festivals around europe. The last gig I really enjoyed was Skyforger + Obtest in Bitterfeld / Germany 2002.
After that show I visited concerts very rarely. My last show was Carcass 2013 in Berlin. The scene has changed a lot and the spirit isnt`t the same as it was in the 90ties… Or maybe I have changed, don`t know…

steff
August 18, 2014 at 2:03 am

@Micha – man, that 1994 Carcass tour must’ve been something incredible. I saw them in 2009 in England, quite impressed. I’m sad to hear you feel like the scene has changed over there – we love going to Europe and seeing shows there and going to festivals because it’s so different to what it’s like here. But maybe all us kiwi invaders are the problem … :)

Solbolt
July 20, 2014 at 5:04 pm

My first concert was at Nokia theater with Slayer and Marilyn Manson. I was 14 I think. My next concert was Lamb of God, Devil driver, soil work and I think killswitch was there. I was really there to see LOG . I didn’t really know Devil driver as well but I met Dez with my friends at the time. We got a picture with him. DD later became one of my favorites along with Soilwork. I remember the group of friends I was with …we traded pit tickets so that we could get pit for Lamb Of God. We watched the other bands from seats pretty high up and there was this really drunk guy offering me and my friend drinks the whole night. We totally didn’t take them when he showed up with them. We just looked at each other and put it under the seat. When I finally got into the pit I remember it being so crammed and fun. I moshed and was hit in the head by some dude crowd surfing with steel toe boots. It was so metal and still one of my favorite shows to this day. Most of the other concerts were just as fun. I’ve been to slipknot twice. I honestly hate where the band is going now but the shows were great because they played the stuff I liked and my friend broke his toe. I was racked in a machine head pit 2008. I’ve been to Hed PE and those are usually pretty chill but can get pretty dope at parts. Most of the other shows I’ve seen were smaller venues , which is what I grew to like more so. The whole death core, hard core scene and the (roots) of the djent stuff was what I enjoyed with white chapel, veil of Maya, born of Osiris. The moshing isn’t as intense but there are the hard core dancers that flail around. These shows always ended up in small places and its easier to get to the bar. I usually followed most of these rules when it comes to what I wear? I usually just wear a tee and don’t tend to wear the band I’m seeing haha. Its funny a girl I took once was like how are you going to wear ” insert band name here” to a “insert band we were seeing”. I love the culture. Standing in line is great because sometimes you get next to the cool people that will joke with you or share alcohol. Last time I saw Born of osiris and yelled “CAMERON” he looked at me and I said “can I have your drum stick!” He handed it to me and I later got a picture out side with him. This was almost a year ago now! I need to go see a show damn it!

luna
November 20, 2013 at 2:31 am

I,VE GOT A QUESTION PEOPLE. I’m gonna be seeing Helloween + Gamma Ray in two days, seats arent numbered, of course. So, doors open at 7, but I know I should queue like for a while so that I get a good spot–hopefully right at the center. How many hours earlier should I arrive so I’m first in line or so?

Sorry for my shit-English, by the way.

Slayer
November 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I’ve been going to metal shows for awhile now. I guess there are “rules” which I used to follow but now I don’t care as much. I go to have fun and listen to some metal! I can agree with some tips though. Bring the smallest (least delicate) amount of stuff as possible. Wallet, keys, cigs, ticket, cellphone if you dare (had a few smashed). Boots are nice, but sneakers are ok. I’ve gone to a few shows after work wearing a suit and tie. I still went into the pit (with my other suited friend) and had a fucking blast. One thing I wish got done more often was patch vests. Collect patches of shows you’ve gone to! In a few years you will have quite the collection. Makes a great conversation started while crammed in the “smoking area” outside of smaller venues.

Protectioncircle
November 12, 2013 at 7:14 am

Im 16 and i cant wait to go to a manowar concert

steff
November 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm

@Protectioncircle – I’m 28 and I can’t wait to go to a Manowar concert!

victor
September 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm

My first metal concert was Ensiferum in São Paulo 2013, one of the best experieces ever

Fiona
September 24, 2013 at 6:28 pm

My first concert was AC/DC & Judas Priest in Offenbach Germany in 1979. I was 17. Nowadays I can’t get anybody I know to go to a metal concert with me…. Maybe cuz I’m in Utah! Very sad :0(

sepultura11
September 24, 2013 at 12:09 pm

My first metal concert was Suicidal angels and Exodus,suicidal angels did the wall of death 2 times,and both times i was in the front row,and exodus made a wall of death on the last song “strike of the beast” i was right there in the middle,it was AMAZING !! unfortunately i broke my vertebra after the show when i fell from a high wall,and spent a couple of extremely boring days in a hospital,but the show was so fucking amazing it didn’t bother me at all and i didn’t regret it :D

Caitlin
September 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm

My first concert ever was an Amon Amarth show back in August. A few days ago, I also had the privilege of seeing Iron Maiden and Megadeth live. I never went to any concerts before them because I’m a teenager who had to go with her parents, ha.

steff
October 4, 2013 at 3:15 am

@Caitlin – your first concert was Amon Amarth? What a concert to start with! Phew! I am quite jealous :) Hope they were awesome as usual.

Colby
September 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm

The first concert I remember going to which I’m not proud to admit is for NSYNC from their “No Strings Attached” tour back in 2000. I didn’t choose to go to it, my mom was a big fan of them back in the day and pretty much dragged me and my brothers to it.

The first real metal concert I went to was just last year when I went to see Iron Maiden on their second night at the Verizon Wireless (Irvine Meadows) Amphitheater. This was during the first leg of the “Maiden England” tour so they were playing a lot of their 80s classic hits, along with “Afraid to Shoot Strangers” (was really surprised with this one) and “Fear of the Dark” from the “FotD” album.

I personally have to disagree with the “wearing shirts of the band you’re seeing” comment, since I do it all of the time, and I see tons of other metalheads doing the same thing at concerts. Otherwise, interesting article.

steff
October 4, 2013 at 3:19 am

@Colby – that’s OK about the NYSYNC – you were there under duress.

Maiden are pretty incredible live – I’ve seen them 3 times now – twice on their recent Back Through Time tour, and once on the Dance of Death tour in England. Just consumate professionals in every way. Fear of the Dark is still one of the best live experiences ever. EVER.

I think I said this in the article, but that shirt thing is quite contentious. It was a hard-and-fast rule where I grew up as a metalhead, but in other places I’ve seen the exact opposite. So I try not to let it bother me :)

viagra
July 16, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Hello! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

Natural Quiet Tinnitus
June 21, 2013 at 8:07 am

Awesome website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get suggestions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

Rhys
June 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

My first metal gig was 2005, Trivium at the London Astoria (RIP) and it was brutal! Great pits, entertaining and awesome crowd. Been to many many more since, festivals, stadium gigs and I will probably continue to go for many years. Only piece of advice I could give is earplugs: WEAR THEM, so many kids going to these venues with no ear protection with no idea what damage it does to their hearing, I have had to learn first hand. It’s not the most ‘metal’ of things, but the way I see it, bands wear em, so should the fans! At least then your hearing will be preserved for another day, another gig and another band \m/ p.s. don’t wear those foam ear plugs, they dampen the sound and put you off wearing ear plugs, spend the money on a decent pair and save yourself issues in the future.

Kim
June 12, 2013 at 7:19 am

My first festival experience will be tommorow. :-) UK rock/metal festival with Rammstein/Iron Maiden/Slipknot headlining (*very un-metal jump of joy*) but my first gig experience was Alkaline Trio, who I’d ended up right at the front of the stage for before I realised that I was going to get completely squished. I was young and naive.

Tyler A
May 2, 2013 at 6:58 am

I went to my first Metal show about a month and a half a go, this was the first annual Backen The Globe festival in Alice Springs, Australia (it was a small show 150+). I headbanged for 6 houes straight with m best mate and moshed since the pit opened till it closed. I wish I brought ear plugs because ‘ve had a constant ringing in my ears since them which I presume to be tinnitus. I don’t regret it though, the two day long stiff neck was worth it, the day after the show my neck was so swollen it looked like I was George Fisher. I also caught a pick from one of the bands that put on an insane show. I vomited 3 times and the last time I vomited it was almost pure black which I thought was fucking brutal.

Reya
April 28, 2013 at 9:42 am

My first concert was a Deathfest, with Cannibal Corpse headlining and Whoretopsy (my new addiction), Impiety and Lacerate opening. The moshing was insane and I had a sore neck from 5 hours of headbanging. It was the best feeling ever. I love the rush I get in the mosh pit, however, the metal crowd here isn’t very big and I counted a total of 5 girls in the concert with over 800 guys. As the only girl moshing, it wasn’t a very fun experience. I made the mistake of going alone and spent the whole night being ‘touched’ and hit on. Being petite isn’t also very helpful in the mosh pit, I got pushed over a few times and sprained my ankle. But all of these little things made the concert just that much more special. Not only that, I got at least one guitar pick, and George Fisher even invited me to party with the band afterwards. Since then, I’ve been going to every metal gig, making a bunch of friends and having a totally brutal time with my boyfriend.

Félix
April 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm

My first metal show, a festival, actually, was 3 years ago, so I remember it fine. Rock in Rio 2010, in Lisbon, Portugal. Soulfly, Motorhead, Megadeth and Rammstein, in that order. I wore jeans, a black t-shirt and crutches. Yeah, crutches. My knee was messed up, but I still went, alone :(, and stood in like 3rd row, with the moshers slamming into me and a WOD at one point. During Motorhead 2 pits broke out and I stood in the middle, still loving it. In the end, I decided it was better to go grab something to eat and rest a bit, so I watched the final acts from afar. The crutches ended up all bent :b . Still, it’s a day I old very dear. If you have second thoughts about going to a metal show, don’t. Metalheads might look scary but they (we?) are all very friendly, and in front of the stage it’s all one big family. As the moshers saw my clutches, they were really careful not to hit me and were all very helpful. I think it’s even safer than any other show I’ve seen

Félix
April 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm

My first metal show, a festival, actually, was 3 years ago, so I remember it fine. Rock in Rio 2010, in Lisbon, Portugal. Soulfly, Motorhead, Megadeth and Rammstein, in that order. I wore jeans, a black t-shirt and crutches. Yeah, crutches. My knee was messed up, but I still went, alone :(, and stood in like 3rd row, with the moshers slamming into me and a WOD at one point. During Motorhead 2 pits broke out and I stood in the middle, still loving it. In the end, I decided it was better to go grab something to eat and rest a bit, so I watched the final acts from afar. The crutches ended up all bent :b . Still, it’s a day I old very dear. G

successocelot
March 18, 2013 at 4:21 am

my first metal show was Dethklok, Mastodon, Converge, and High on Fire, in Chicago back in ’09(?), practically on the bar all night. i was deaf and sore for the next couple days. unfortunately i was not into any of the bands except Dethklok at the time, i am now a huge Mastodon fan, and am digging some High on Fire these days too.

favorite show? SABATON!!! best show i have ever seen. they played a crowd of less than 100 like it was an arena. such good showmen. Joakim Broden is awesome, never let the energy in the audience go down. and very interactive too, fist bumps to everyone close to the front. i was already into Sabaton, but i became a huge fan after that show.

some good memories. seeing Judas Priest perform Painkiller live was great, and Oderus Urungus of Gwar pissed blood all over my face! my vest still has some of the stains. and i got to mosh with the bassist from Job for a Cowboy… while he was playing!

a metal concert is truly a unique experience, nothing else like it in the world.

successocelot
March 18, 2013 at 4:29 am

and i am looking forward to 70,000 tons of metal!

The Smiley
February 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I am 14 and going to my first concert in April with a bunch of metal heads i don’t really know from my school and this blog has really reassured me cause I am the youngest of the group and least experienced. Thank you in advance for all the tips really looking forward to it now :)

Meg
January 14, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I will be going to my first ‘core’ gig this Saturday…I know, I know, not ‘metal’ but I think the aspects of the gig will be similar. Nothing like the local metal gigs I usually go to…obviously. Basically I think I got most of it nailed, the uniform and crap. I just had one quick question. It seems like ‘the bar’ is the best place to be. How much earlier than the actual gig should I get there to secure a place?
I’m 13 (and female) by the way, but I’m going with my dad (who actually hates metalcore haha but I’m dragging him a long lolol. He listens to heavier stuff, so I think it may be a bit of an annoying experience for him )
Thanks in advance,
Meg :)

Asator
December 6, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Good tips. However, I really do not understand the whole, ‘never wear the shirt of the band you are going to see’ thing. I understand that everyone already knows you like the band so there is no reason to wear the shirt, but does it really matter? Like, at all? My first metal concert was Blind Guardian (amazing show by the way), and about half of the people there were wearing a BG shirt. Later that year, I saw Amon Amarth (also an amazing show). Same thing, many of the people were wearing AA shirts. I was wearing my Insomnium shirt, camo cargo shorts, and black shoes. At the concert, I saw someone who (get ready for this, cause it’s big) was wearing a WHITE SHIRT. A white shirt, to an AA concert! (please read with extreme sarcasm)

I get it. There is supposed to be a metal “uniform”, if you will. Hell, I always wear the typical metalhead “uniform”, and never anything other than that. But If metal is all about doing what you want and not caring what people think, then why does it matter what someone wears to a concert? I’ll admit, If I was going with someone, I would want them to look like they somewhat fit in. I don’t think it matters all that much, and I don’t think it should matter either.

These are some great tips, I just disagree about the clothing part.
Sorry if this was long or has already been said, but I needed to vent.
/rant

steff
December 10, 2012 at 11:48 am

@Asator – thanks for reading and commenting. Fair call on the clothing thing! You are right – it actually doesn’t matter. In my experience, metalheads love to take the piss out of each other, and themselves, and it serves more as something you can mock your mates about when they show up in the band shirt than anything else. Also, I think it’s definitely an older metalhead thing – people from my husband’s generation are very staunch about it, but I see most younger folk attending shows these days wearing the band t-shirt. I think the thing about it is that it makes you seem overly like a fanboy/fangirl, but, as you said, it doesn’t really matter.

It’s also probably regional differences thing. The whole t-shirt thing used to be SUCH a big deal over here, but when I first travelled and saw shows in Europe, there was always tons of folk in the band shirt, and they never got mocked about it. I hardly ever see people at shows here (In New Zealand) wearing the shirt of the band, and when they do they’re often the butt of good-natured mocking, but in other countries I’ve been to, not so much. Our scene here is quite small and tight-knit, so maybe this stuff is given more importance than it perhaps deserves?

I wouldn’t personally wear a white shirt to a show, because A) I don’t actually own any, and B) it would get dirty. But I wouldn’t hate on someone who did. These articles are pretty tongue-in-cheek \m/

Sarah Mcleod
December 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Hey, I’m a baby metalhead, just getting into it cause of my boyfriend but I love it. I’m an insane introvert, but I definitely want to go to a metal concert. This is a stupid question but I’m wondering, aside from being polite, jamming elbows, and circle pits, what do you do at concerts? Jump? Hit people? Stand there? Try to survive? Growl?

Daphne
December 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm

There’s lots of jumping, head banging, and just people going crazy and having a good time. If you leave during a bands set and go out to where the merch is, there is a better chance of members from other bands just hanging out and stuff. You’re almost guaranteed to meet someone out there.

Charlie
November 18, 2012 at 5:22 am

I went to my first metal concert last week and it was amazing! Anathema and Opeth. <3 By some stroke of luck, I managed to get a great spot – just one person between me and the bar – and kept it all night. I'd been very nervous about going on my own because I don't have friends who like metal and wouldn't even dare try and drag someone along. I'm so glad I went though and it doesn't matter if you came with friends or not once you're there. The bands were both brilliant live and much better than I'd imagined. Definitely got me hooked.

Daphne
November 16, 2012 at 2:16 am

I’ve been to all kinds of concerts. I’ve walked out of shows dripping sweat, bruises everywhere, and a nice black eye to top it all off. I’ve also walked out of shows the exact same I went in. Being hit on by both guys and girls alike, being forced to basically hump the person in front of you, and being kicked in the head by crowd surfers makes for a great show.
For any show I go to, I have my concert shoes. My converse’s have been through way too much but at least they stay on my feet. Always jeans. With all the havoc going on I don’t think shorts are a good idea. I like driving to concerts so I can leave my hoodie in the car and go in with only my ticket and cash. Plus if the first opening band is shit, I can buy my merch and just drop it in the car. I’m always on the left side or in the middle of the floor.. I have no idea why.
My first concert was Taste of Chaos 2007. About a month and a half prior was when I really got into all of the bands that were on that tour. I basically shit my pants when I found out that they were coming. I don’t remember much off the top of my head but once I start talking about it it all comes rushing back. It is still the best concert i’ve ever been to.
The funnest bands to see live for me are MSI, Cancer Bats, Protest The Hero, and Bring Me The Horizon. I’m gonna say the worst ones were a shit ton of opening bands i’ve seen over the years.
There’s this one venue around here called The Garrick. You walk in to this main room area and down the left wall is all the merch, down the right wall is a bar, and at the end they just started selling slushies and hot dogs. If you turn the complete other way, there’s the proper bar.
When you walk into the room with the stage, it is so awesome. There’s these three walls that are mid bicep height and it gives the floor four entrances/exits. If you turn around though, there is theater style seating, you get to sit wherever you want looking down on everything. It’s only general admission there so if you wanna be on the floor, you can, if you wanna sit down, you can.
In my opinion, it’s the best kind of venue to attend a concert in. The size of the floor not being massive is defenitly a bonus because then you’re not straining to see the stage and it’s all around more personal experience. The next concert I’m going to is GWAR, DevilDriver, and the Cancer Bat’s.
I absolutely love concerts and wish there was more bands I like that came through more often.
Fucking sweet.

tshood
October 5, 2012 at 5:51 am

Well, thanks for the tips very much, that was a really helpful article to read. I’ve been to (very) few metal concerts till now, since I’m only sixteen, and my first one was Marilyn Manson. I can tell you, if your very first metal concert is played by your favourite-for-ever-and-ever-band, you will never keep it in memory as disappointing, no matter how horrible the concert went.
I actually went there with a friend of mine, and between two songs, Marilyn Manson threw a sweaty towel he had just wiped his face off into the audience, which my friend caught, and just like a gentleman he gave it to me as a present. So that’s definitely one of my best evenings in my life!

If you’ve got the bar spot, you can actually wear a skirt (I did it once, that’s no problem because you usually don’t get pushed around), but I think I’ll keep that in mind.

And just another tip: Never drink more than, let’s say, a few ounces of whatever you want to drink (well, maybe not vodka, hm? You still want to enjoy the concert) within the hour that preceeds the concert as otherwise you will be holding back your p*ss for 2 hours – then you can definitely not listen properly, and giving up a good spot for going to the toilet is a horrible feeling. Still, if the concert’s been going for about an hour, you can start drinking again, especially if you’ve been moshing around, or you’ll get seriousely dehydrated.

I apologize for my english that’s not what you call fabulous, I’m from Austria, so I’m still studying it at school.

tshood

steff
November 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm

@tshood – that’s some bloody good English from where I’m standing. Your tip about the drink is SO true. This is when guys have it better, as they can simetimes just piss in a beer bottle (if bottles are allowed). Gross, yes, but handy, also yes. I haven’t been to a show in Austria, but if they’re anything like German crowds, I don’t think skirts would ever be a problem. Some of our kiwi shows get pretty crazy …

Sebastian
August 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Well my first metal concert was Paul Dianno in February 2012. I got so excited with the starting bands that I was half-mute before Paul even started lol, got to the front which was awesome. At first I was a little scared by moshing but then I reconned that if you dont want to be in it no one pushes you in… or at least they let you to get out. Then met Paul at the end of the gig and he signed a paper of a LP for me! I think that you are right, first concerts must be small-medium ones so you dont get that heavy shock… Now Im gonna see megadeth in sits this September 20th, and hope to see Maiden next Spring with a lot of friends. Here in Mexico things become sometimes pretty wild, but do you think it will be easier if I go with a group of like 7 people? I want to get to the front hehe for Iron Maiden

Charlotte
August 1, 2012 at 1:48 am

Hey so, I’m going to my first ever heavy metal concert, I’m not a big listener to heavy metal music BUT I’m very open minded when it comes to music and I’m going to see SOAD so I could never turn that down. So my problem is weed. I don’t smoke it. I have nothing against the people who do. I tried it a couple of time but I developed a fear of it and now I get anxiety from it. What do you think of an outdoor concert/festival? You think because it’s outside I wouldn’t get contact buzz or anything? let me know thanks :) this Blog was also very helpful thanks

steff
August 9, 2012 at 12:14 am

Hi Charlotte – I’m glad you’re finding the blog helpful, and I hope you enjoy your first metal concert! I saw SOAD back in 2005 and they really have a great live energy. So let us know how that goes!

In terms of weed, at an outdoor venue you don’t tend to get contact stoned, unless you are RIGHT up the front, all smushed in, and everyone around you is smoking. This doesn’t happen very often, because if you’re close to the front you tend to be near the bouncers, and they’ll be watching for that. Also, people near the front tend to only smoke between bands because they’re too busy moshing and going crazy when the bands are on.

Further back I find you get a lot more people lighting up, but it’s easy enough to move away if you find it too intense. Sometimes you get a little whiff of it on the breeze, but it’s never enough to have any effect. I’ve only ever had serious effects from second-hand weed smoke from poorly ventilated indoor venues. Hope this helps, and enjoy the show \m/

Elizabeth
July 25, 2012 at 11:37 am

I’ve only been to 2 concerts so far, but I hope to go to more soon. My first was Foreigner when I was 12, and I met the bass player. The second was last year at the upper peninsula of Michigan state fair. Dokken, Skid Row, and Warrant. Neither was all that metal, but for a kid it’s pretty fun. I’d still rather have seen Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper at rockfest this year, but I guess I’ll have to wait till I’m out of the house for that.

steff
August 9, 2012 at 12:33 am

@Elizabeth – unfortunately, that’s kinda the way it is. But I bet as soon as you’re old enough you’ll very quickly cross off all the bands you really want to see. You go a bit concert crazy – I know I did :)

tor
March 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Steff ive really enjoued this article but i must point out a couple of things

1. British crowds are NOT restrained, ive come out of concerts with a broken nose, a bloodied face and once i actually cracked a rib in a wall of death

2. When i went to see motorhead everyone was wearing a.motorhead shirt so i dont think it isnt allowed

steff
March 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm

@Tor – A broken nose and a cracked rib? Ouch :( You and I have clearly seen some VERY different concerts. I can’t wait to get back to the UK and see for myself \m/
The t-shirt thing I’ve noticed also seems to be very important to some people, and not so much to others. I think it’s an oldies metalhead thing – my husband has been around for a few too many years and is always on about how in HIS day no one would DARE show up wearing a tshirt of the band they’re going to see. I’m not sure people are all too fussed these days, to be honest.

Liviu987
August 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm

My first metal concert was actually a festival with 9 bands.It was awesome and i had sour necks for 4 days because of the headbanging.Hell yeah i should have brought my boots XD

Rodrigo Navarro
August 5, 2011 at 5:45 am

My first metal concert is about to happen, iron maiden in the O2 arena London. I’m so excited and actually quite nervous too. Shame about the shirt thing, I’m wearing an Iron Maiden ‘killers’ shirt so screwed up on that, but it doesn’t mean it’s gonna ruin the show for me does it? Nah….
So anyways here I am waiting for the next 5 hours to be let into the show :) I’m gonna have loads of fun I’m sure :)
and thankyou so much for the tips, it’s a shame though that I only got to see them now :/ But ohh well, wish me luck guys, I’ll see you on the other side.

David
July 28, 2011 at 7:02 pm

well, im from argentina, a place legendary for our brutality in concerts and out beef. but lets stick to the music. i remember a couple stories from the pit: a friend of mine was moshing in a local concert, and he fell and hit his head with the corner of a marble table! i though he’d died or cracked his skull or something…i took everybody apart and started yelling “OH MY GOD ARE YOU OK? NEED AN AMBULANCE?!” he just went “dude, im fine…LETS GET BACK TO THE PIT!” it was so funny, hehehe…also, this saturday is my first european festival (resurrection fest, in spain…meshuggah, bring me the horizon and angelus apatrida head-lining the last day, witch i am atendind. IM SO EXITED! there’s no such thing as festivals in latin america so i cant wait! wish me luck! see you guys

steff
July 29, 2011 at 2:07 am

Haha, I have so many stories like this from NZ pits – glad your mate was OK, though. That´s true metal spirit! Have an awesome time at Resurrection fest – I´ve heard thats an epic one!

Christina
May 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm

So I just got back from my third metal concert I’ve been to (Rammstein concert). However, this was my first time seeing a metal band in an arena setting. I couldn’t afford the pit tickets (found out the last minute that Rammstein was finally coming to the US to play, especially in my town!), so I chose the cheapest tickets available (the balcony seating area). I was expecting for no one to sit at all for the entire duration to the show because, come on, this is a metal concert, not a pop concert. Who would want to sit for the whole duration of the show? But alas, I was wrong. When I wanted to rock out fully, I couldn’t because a bunch of killjoys behind me always complained that the people rocking out in front of them were obstructing their view (they even went up to the people up front and told them to sit down). I didn’t get it — my balcony row was seemed to be the only one to not rock out while the other sections had people that were completely enjoying their time. Rammstein isn’t music to sit through and not headbang, I mean it’s TANZ METAL for crying out loud! So the deadness of my balcony section ruined my concert experience for that. So I’m just wondering, is this normal? I really didn’t expect anyone–especially an entire seating section–to not rock out for the entire duration of the concert. Perhaps I just got really spoiled by my first metal concert experience (which was in a small venue btw; it was at the House of Blues, and I got lucky with finding an area in the pit) that I may have unrealistic expectations for the metal concerts that follow after it?

steff
May 23, 2011 at 2:43 am

Hi Christina – that sounds really sucky. I hate it when the rest of the crowd isn’t on the same buzz you are.

I don’t know if this is normal or not. I have sat in seated sections a few times, and it’s been different each time. I saw Iron Maiden in Australia in the stands and everyone was standing up. As soon as the lights went down we all stood up. I saw Heaven and Hell in Auckland, and we had seats right at the front of the balcony, and everyone up there stayed seated, but it worked. It was just the right vibe. When I saw Alice Cooper/Ozzy Osbourne/Kiss/Lordi/Poison/Aerosmith at Rock 2 Wgtn, we were up in the stands, and I thought everyone would stand up, at least for Alice and Ozzy and Kiss, but no … I moved down the front of the stands where people were standing for awhile. That was cooler.

I think, in NZ, people are a lot more cool about these kind of things. I generally think that the balcony tickets are for older people who don’t want to get bashed up in the pits, so if people want to sit, you should respect that. Although over here, if you wanted to stand, you’d just move to a place where you’re not in anyone’s way. You’d go rock out with another group who were standing, or you’d take some empty seats right up the back, or rock out in the aisle. If someone in front of me was standing up and I wanted to sit down, I’d just move to another empty seat. No sense in complaining.

It sounds like you did get spoiled at your first gig :) Sometimes a show can be ruined by the vibe of the crowd – it’s always a chance you take, I guess. But don’t worry, they won’t all be like that! Next time you’re in the balcony and this sort of thing happens, just try to move to a spot where you’re not in anybody’s way.

whosaidwhat
March 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I totally agree with not going to a massive stadium show for your fist metal gig. I am not the worlds biggest metal enthusiast, and back in highschool my friends thought it would be funny to take me to a metal gig to see my reaction. It ended up being a stadium show with about 50000 other people with saxon, testament, sepultura, machine head and a bunch of other bands I cant remember now. It was great fun, but a quite overwhelming… My biggest advice is it wedge yourself between stronger people than yourself if your under 5’2 so you dont come out of machine head with a smashed open cheek bone >.<

Emily Bleak
March 18, 2011 at 8:03 am

@Ashley – I was at that NEMHF! I had a broken foot at the time and had to hang out in the balcony, I’m glad someone was repping in the pit!!

Are you seeing Agalloch at the Middle East? Come say hello, I’ll be taking pictures!

byrd36
March 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm

My first metallish concert was Motley Crue in ’89, then first proper metal show was Metallica in ’91. First truly underground show was Cannibal Corpse, Sinister and Cynic in ’93 or ’94. In the time since I’ve seen bands running the full range between and beyond those and I’d say your advice is pretty universal to the metal concert spectrum.

I enjoy small and large venues fairly equally for differing reasons. The intimacy and in your face feel of club shows and the sheer spectacle and energy of arenas and festivals.

In a club I like to be just behind the pit. You can see pretty well, the sound is decent and you can get in and out of a mosh and back to your spot fairly easily. I don’t mind a ‘violent pit’ as long as there aren’t any dumbasses ‘karate moshing’. At a larger show I like to be further back as I find watching the crowd to be part of the show.

I can’t place a best or worst and I’m looking forward to seeing whoever I can the next time I have the time and money. Preferably some good Death or Black Metal!

I also will second Emily Bleak on the white shirt for GWAR. There’s nothing like walking into a fast food restaurant with several friends after a show looking like you’ve just been involved with a brutal murder.

Ear Plugs!!! It sucks when you hear that after show ringing of the ears ALL the time. You don’t realise how much you enjoy the occasional silence until it’s gone, and there’s no gettin’ it back.

steff
March 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm

@Byrd: “karate moshing” is what I’m calling it from now on!

Diabolus Dei
March 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I can’t remember my first metal gig but it must have been a Hungarian metal band some 15 years ago. I like staying in the 10th row, in the middle, thus absorbing the sound from the left and right wall of speakers which is really cool on great concerts with great sound engineers. I also like to have some space as I need more and more place every year to headbang with my hair growing longer. I also prefer small concerts to big arena-stadium concerts, there is absolutely no comparison. Best show: Apocalyptica back home in Transylvania with the crowd singing every line of the lyrics – when it was the case. Even managed to get my hair stuck in camera crane from the intensive headbanging! Although I smile about it now, it wasn’t that funny then, it was even scary for a couple of seconds as the operator was lifting it but luckily I managed to escape in the last moment with my hair intact.
I don’t agree with the never wear the band’s shirt on their concert as I don’t think that being at a concert means that you love the band. This is especially true in remote places where metal gigs are far and few between and you go to every show you can even if you don’t really know the band. Of course the same is true for festivals where you go to see say three bands and in the rest of the time you check out different bands. So wearing a shirt proves that you are really interested in that band but of course with shirts being on sale at most of the shows, anyone can have one so it’s an open debate still.

steff
March 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

@Dei – you got your hair stuck in a camera? Shit, that would have been scary, esp as the guy was moving away. Good thing you got away without being scalped :)

One of the first (but not the first) local metal show I went to, my friend Jonowar was on stage with his power metal band, and he got his hair caught in the rafters. It was hilarious.

In regards the shirt thing, I think it can also be different depending where in the world you are, and what the people who got you into metal or the folks you hang out with think. I hang out with a lot of old, OLD school metallers, and they are VERY religious about following this rule, and so now so am I. Not having very many metal shows in NZ makes people quite intense about them, I think.

Festivals are a law unto themselves, for all the reasons you mentioned. We don’t have metal festivals over here, so we’ve never had the shirt/festival quandry.

Kyle
March 13, 2011 at 10:18 am

When I was in High School I played drums in a band and we drove all over the State of Michigan (United States) playing shows. Inevitably we’d come across a band that played some pretty decent metal. The first of which was Atonement. They where a Christian Metal band but their music was pretty kick ass and their drummer was amazing.

But My very first international Metal act was Sonata Arctica back in 2006. One of the bands I had played with in the past had changed their name and started playing “Nile-esque” death metal and they where actually opening up for this show, which is how I got the tickets. I took along one of friends who I had just introduced to Sonata and there was no turning him back after that concert. I LOVE introducing people to Metal. They never before thought they’d like it, and BAM, next thing you know they’re wind-milling to Kreator.

steff
March 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm

@Kyle – I know! It’s the best feeling ever, when you realize you’ve given someone the chance to be a part of all this craziness!

successocelot
March 18, 2013 at 4:34 am

so do i, it’s a good feeling. like introducing one friend to another, and it works out. i met a friend who was into some metal, but didn’t know too much, so i gave him some suggestions, and some music. now we are brothers in metal!

Leighton
March 12, 2011 at 10:03 pm

My first concert was back in 1994 or somewhere around there. It was Pantera’s Trendkill Tour. I ‘d just turned 15 and I was actually shitting myself when I first arrived, but that was quickly turned to excitement when they played the first 2 songs, Suicide Note 1 and 2.

Favorite metal gigs for me : Pantera, Slayer and Damaged. The reason for Damaged is obviously the brutal aspect, but we got to get pissed with Damaged after the show because we new (SCEPSIS) one of the 2 support bands for Damaged.

Worst Show : Big Day Out, because limp Bizkit was there. But Mudvayne level that out.

My TIPS : Being 6 ft 2 helps a lot when viewing the stage from a mosh pit.

Wearing water resistant footwear for outdoor gigs, if it’s raining, Duh!.

Don’t get to hammered before the show, or else you’ll find yourself spewing in the closest bin and then finding yourself waking up in the alley next to the where the gig is being held and having your mates telling you how awesome the show was.

Favorite Outfit : Black Shoes (Ripples/Caterpillars) Any Death Metal Shirt, but preferrably a Deicide or Cannibal Corpse ‘T’ long or short.

Favorite place to stand : As close as possible to the on stage speakers at a “MUDVAYNE” concert, until I was kicked off by one of the bouncers.

Next show I’m looking mostly looking forward to, DEICIDE, that’s if they stop cancelling their Aus tours.

Ashley
March 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm

My first ever show was actually last year’s New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, which could have potentially been a bad move (never having been at a metal show to committing to one for 8 hours? yikes), but was absolutely amazing. I wore jeans and a plain black top, and I did wear sneakers but as it was my first show I didn’t intend on going to near the pit so that ended up working just fine, though I’ve worn boots ever since. Amon Amarth was one of the headliners with Eluveitie as one of the pre-main show openers, and both are my favorite bands and both were AMAZING.

My first small-venue experience was seeing Dark Tranquillity at a small club with maybe only about 100-150 people present. Because of the size, the entire venue was a mosh pit and it was absolutely insane fun. I was about five feet from the stage and slightly off to the right to avoid the major crash of the pit and it was perfect. I think that’ll be my strategy when I go to see Agalloch later this month in a little bar.

MrPolek
March 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm

@Shirt Issue: To people that do not understand that: If you are at a show it is clear that you like the band. You do not show it by wearing their shirt. And the classical way to get into a conversation with a fellow metalhead are the shirts. So at a Maiden Show just wear a Sabbth shirt or stuff like that.

But there are exception like the vintage show or rare shirt of a band. Thats cool. Like I wear my WOA08 Shirt @ other WOA’s all the time. But you must have been their.

@Pits: I was in my first pit by accident and had my glasses on. (Like a geman punk band on a free festival) You can imagine what happend: I lost them. But people made a circle so that I could find them. So remember: Do not wear you glasses in the pit. If you need them to see the band: Do not go to the pit.

And I hate violent pits. They are not metal (more like hardcore). What’s the point of violent moshing? Same counts for Walls of Death, Headwalks etc. NOT METAL!

@First Gig: My first metal gig was Turisas and Norther (yeah I’m a late starter). Until now I saw a couple of bands including: 2x Maiden, Heaven & Hell (Sabbath) with DIO!!!, Slayer, Kreator, Carcass, In Flames, Motörhead, Amon Amarth and lots more. I have a count of them on my lastfm page so I can check whether I have seen a band or have not.

Last but not least: Small shows are way better than big one. I think the best concert I attended was last year in winter when Sodom Singel Tom Angelripper played a gig with his side-band “Onkel Tom” and his other side-band “Die Knappen”. There were maybe 100 people in a 500 person venue. I was in the front row all the time (i usually am way more behind, because I am 1,92m) and I banged my head on a monitor. I even was on stage at one point and got a beer from Mr. Angelripper! And the atmosphere was freaking intense! Everybody was partying and headbanging and drinking. Just awesome….

Rob
March 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Oh geez..Ill second the earplug comment. If you are at any kind of concert where you get up near the bar you’ll need these. I didnt know any better at my first metal concert and 3 seconds in all I could hear was a high pitched whine. I was lucky my buddy was a long time concert goer and had a spare set to lend me

I love getting up front by the speakers, the feeling of the bass as it hits you with a physical force is a amazing feeling. I tend to avoid the moshpits though, Im there to hear the music and see the band so Id rather bang my own head than someone elses

There’s another part to the “dont wear the t-shirt of the band you’re there to see” rule. Which is you dont listen to the bands music on the way to the concert, you play something else. You can crank it on the way home though.

Upcoming concerts..Amon Amarth is less than 2 months away \m/

K'firah
March 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Great tips! I would also say that everyone SHOULD do a road trip for a band. Nothing boosts your own morale when you see/hear how STOKED the band is to know you drove 2,000 kms to see them! lol I even did a 5 gig road trip, following my faves for 5 cities. Great memories! :)

Being in a wheelchair, I’ve winged it for every show…a lot of the time I don’t know just where I’m gonna end up, what I’m gonna see, but for the most part my experiences have been good — from members of an opening band carrying me up to the balcony where I had a GREAT view, to squeezing my way to the front of IRON “freaking” MAIDEN (oookay I was waaay off to the left and basically saw a LOT of Dave Murray, but I was IN FRONT! lol! Close enough to feel the heat of the fireballs!)

For the most part, being so short, in the wheelchair, I pretty well have to be in front to see anything, but I don’t make a hissy fit if I get squeezed out..I do my best to stay where I am (unless it gets really moshy and I’m in danger of being tossed over) and just enjoy the show. And most people are usually pretty cool and helpful when they realize I’m there.

Anna M
March 11, 2011 at 8:35 am

Trapt/10 Years/Staind were my first rock concert. Terrible, but I did actually have fun. My boyfriend at the time definitely protected me–elbowed several mosh members in not fun places. Then, years later, I went to The Black Dahlia Murder, definitely in my top 5 fave bands. The crowd sucked, and it was only like 100 people. Seriously. Could have been worse, but it could have been better. But now I’ve been to some more metal and non-metal concerts, and quite enjoyed myself for all of them.

One thing I’ve learned is that I won’t have fun if I don’t know the music at least, preferably the lyrics. Obviously, sometimes metal lyrics are difficult… But you can pick up parts usually pretty quick from YouTube/lyrics sites/Encyclopaedia Metallum.

Also, the crowd makes the difference. If they love it as much as you do, you’ll feel that vibe and have a better time. This is also why I tend to stand in the gray area between mosh pits (there were 4 at the last concert I went to–and it was a small warehouse.) and the front. I don’t like the squashiness, but I like to be in the crowd to get that vibe.

And I quite like being deaf after a concert. If my ears aren’t ringing the next day, it wasn’t worth it. ;)

Emily Bleak
March 11, 2011 at 7:10 am

I think everyone has at least one semi-geeky concert under their belts…my first show was Aerosmith and Candlebox when I was 13, heh…but my first metal show was Type O Negative and it was damned memorable!

Your description of pits and navigating them is spot on…as expected. :)

There is one exception only to the “black shirts at shows” rule and that is a Gwar show – cheap white shirts from the dollar store or bust! (It’s always surreal to see before the show starts, everyone is wandering around in pristine new white t-shirts…)

Wei-Wei
March 11, 2011 at 4:23 am

I went to my first metal gig ever a couple of weeks ago, and man, it was amazing. I canNOT believe the feelings I got from just being there. My friends’ band was opening for another band (which… I did not stay to see, lol) and they were first up, so the crowd was a bit cold. The second band opening, I actually put down my camera and went all out. Headbanging, moshing, FUCK (pardon my language) it was so EPIC. And I got owned. Several times. But at least now I’m known as “the fucking mosh girl” within the band (I only knew two of the people in the band). Hehe yay. But thanks for these tips, I’ll remember them next time I go to one of their gigs, in about a month. (Also, I wore a plain black shirt and jeans with boots. I think I passed the “what to wear” in that regard.)

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