Do You Look "Metal Enough" for Metal Shows?

Melissa Fossum
See more photos of the crowd in the full Trespass America Festival slideshow.
See also: Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage, and More @ Comerica Theatre
See also: Five Finger Death Punch's Jason Hook on Giving the Fans What They Want
See also: The full Trespass America slideshow

This weekend I attended two intense yet intriguingly different metal shows. I spent Saturday night at Dimefest at Joe's Grotto, where several local heavy bands, including Howitzer, Cowboys in Hell and Betrayal of Allies, paid tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell of Pantera. Ah, you gotta' love a venue regularly reeking of B.O. and vomit. Sunday night was a different kind of show: The Trespass America Festival at Comerica Theatre, with a bill including God Forbid, Trivium, Killswitch Engage, and Five Finger Death Punch.

But while both shows rocked, there was a clear distinction between the fans that turned up for the shows, and it was all illustrated by their metal fashion choices.

Melissa Fossum
See more photos of the crowd in the full Trespass America Festival slideshow.
Dimefest attracted an older, underground, hardcore crowd, the kind of folks who've been around the heavy metal block a couple of times. Grungy, dirty, ripped jeans-- they weren't too worried about living up to a certain image. A couple people stood out, like a chick who had on leather industrial/goth boots to boost up her tall, Master Shredder-esque helmet of black mohawked hair even more.

At the Five Finger Death Punch show, a band whose music is influenced by Pantera and hardcore culture in general, it was like a rocker-jock fashion show. Five Finger Death Punch is an extremely talented band, particularly guitarists Jason Hook and Zoltan Bathory. They support a range of important causes (suicide prevention and our troops), and I have no problem with their music, but for a heavy metal festival, there was certainly a lot of strutting around. Several chicks flounced around in high heels and hot pants. Dudes wrapped bright bandannas around their heads, which barely were able to tie around the bulging meatheadness. They donned the same sleeveless jersey that singer Ivan Moody rocks on stage, or glittery Affliction tees, snug around steroid-accented arms.

I don't want to sound too uptight, or judgmental and/or bitter, but band's like Five Finger Death Punch have definitely played a part in making metal mainstream, accessible to the very people us metalheads have always aimed to alienate. The football players that were prom king in high school; the Barbie chick who doesn't understand why one "guitar" on stage has only four strings while the other has "lots and makes really pretty noises."

Image is a double-edged sword when it comes to music, particularly in metal. For a genre that insists on being set apart from mainstream commercialism, rooted in rebellion, and revels in coming off as a public relations' nightmare, image can be a blessing and a curse.

Location Info


Joe's Grotto

13825 N. 32nd St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

Comerica Theatre

400 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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This is one of the most judgemental and ignorant things I have ever read.Who are you the fashion police? now you have to dress a certain way to listen to metal? what are we in high school and need to fit into cliques? girls like to dress fashionable and what about all the girls who are covered in tattoos and you think they listen to certain type of music but they really listen to R&B ,Rap,and crap like Lady Gaga.It's about the music not clothes there are plenty of posers out there wearing metal shirts and don't know a thing about the band but I guess that's more preferable to you.What about the hipsters wearing thrash metal vests? are they more metal than someone who really listens to metal but wears designer labels? People are allowed to have their own individuality not walk around all looking the same at concerts.Also Men have it easy they can wear metal shirts forever what are us women going to do? I don't know if I can still rock my metal shirts when I'm older in my  50's and up I don't see very many grandma's wearing band shirts I hope I can I guess I'll find out when I get there.I don't know what you think your going to do when you get older either unless your just going to give up listening to metal altogether because you just can't listen to metal you know unless you dress like it lol!  So I guess I should give up listening to metal too even though I have been listening to it  since I was 13 and am now in my 30's because I don't always look metal. I have alot of clothes in my closet that are not "metal " and alot of my pajamas are not metal either I better stop now because you said I should if I'm not dressed the part.


While I do agree with your overall statement, I have always had an issue with people assuming you "had" to look a certain way to listen to a specific genre.  While in high school, grunge was new and I would get into serious conversations with friends who thought you had to look grunge to listen to grunge.  Drove me crazy!  I go to metal shows and have for many, many years and I wear what I always wear:  jeans, Raiders t-shirt or some other sports shirt and Adidas shoes (not very rebellious).  I'm a regular looking girl who happens to love her music.  I don't feel the need to make a rebellious statement with my clothing or dress a certain way to fit in.  I wear what's comfortable because I will be standing in the pit for hours.  I love music for music...  Highly doubt the band I'm seeing gives a hoot about what I'm wearing and appreciates the support I give and the dough I paid.

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