On proper concert attire

Out of the last 38 concerts I’ve attended, thirty-seven times I’ve worn a plain black t-shirt, jeans, and my favorite orange and blue tennis shoes. Once I wore a bright red Twins shirt, jeans, and my favorite blue and orange tennis shoes. The Twins shirt, which I got for like $4, has become a constant source of merriment for my friends and family. It’s like a girl can’t be a baseball fan (or more accurately a fan of cheap clothing) anymore.

I know some people take their concert-going attire very seriously and agonize over what to wear, do I go with the Ramones shirt or this Threadless classic? Does wearing this DIO shirt with black shorts and white socks pulled upt o my knees make it seem like I’m trying too hard? (Yes. Yes, it does.). Generally, I spend a lot of time amused at the band/music t-shirts on display at a concert. It’s a way to express your superior music taste. I can dig it.

However, I thought there was a golden rule about not wearing the band’s t-shirt to their concert. Until Saturday night I thought this was the kind of behavior only displayed by the nerdiest of the nerdy. The nerds so nerdy that most nerds won’t even play Dungeons & Dragons with them (incidentally, I only played D&D once and was so annoying they wouldn’t even let me finish playing).

At The Hold Steady (THS) concert Saturday night, there were a vast number of people who either did not know the rule or blatantly broke it in their Hold Steady devotion. I am puzzled.

On Twitter, Jake claimed that wearing the band’s t-shirt to a concert is only acceptable at THS shows. I beg to differ. There is no band where wearing their t-shirt to their concert is acceptable. It just shouldn’t be done. Ever.

Why would someone do that? We realize you dig the music, you’re at the concert. Now you just look like a jackass as if you’re trying to prove you love the band more because look, look I have the t-shirt. Know what jackass? Everyone has the t-shirt, it’s just that 99.99% of us (and Saturday that percentage would have to drop to like 85%) know you don’t ever wear the band’s shirt to their concert.



For real. Don’t.

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  1. Tam 16.Jul.09 at 4:45 pm

    It reminds of that scene in PCU where Jeremy PIven’s character says: “What’s this? You’re wearing the shirt of the band you’re going to see? Don’t be that guy.”

    The only time I am that guy is when I’m working at the venue (mailing lists, merch stand) for my friend’s band, but then it’s a uniform and not me wearing the t-shirt.

  2. shokkou 16.Jul.09 at 5:03 pm

    Is that some kind of GenX rule? Judgementally challenged. If my Black Sabbath shirt from 1976 still fit me i’d for sure wear it to an OzFest. Back in the day it was a sign of respect to the band. You’d see folks that had on a shirt from the first time they’d seen the band maybe a decade earlier. Very cool. You don’t think that Keith and Mick get a grin out of seeing shirts from their earlier shows out in the audience? I dunno. I’m obsolete. Fans are obviously a lot more hip and superior these days.

  3. Barrett 16.Jul.09 at 9:29 pm

    I would go a step further and even say that in many (but not all) cases it’s unacceptable to wear the band’s shirt the day *after* the show.

    “Hey guys! Guess what I did last night?”

  4. Jersey Mike 17.Jul.09 at 7:39 am

    The only other place I’ve seen more of that than at a THS show is at a Dead show. But perhaps The Dead is the only band that one could wear the bands shirt to the show and get away with it…

    Gotta agree with Barrett too. NEVER wear the shirt the next day.

    And to add to the rule- how about “no listening to the band’s music in the car on the way TO the show…but on the way home it’s okay”?

  5. JRC 17.Jul.09 at 11:08 am

    Perhaps someone could advise me on what to wear when I go to a St. Paul Chamber Orchestra concert. I just can’t find the right T-shirt.

  6. NBFB 17.Jul.09 at 11:54 am

    Not unlike judging people by the books they read I suppose.

  7. Jodi 17.Jul.09 at 10:43 pm

    NBFB, I do that too. I’m Rob from High Fidelity (the movie), “It’s not what you are like, it’s what you like.”

  8. Doug 18.Jul.09 at 12:57 am


    I have considered a caveat whereby if one has a concert shirt from many, many years earlier, before the band got popular, an exception could be made to the rule.

    I’d never tried it, because the bands I saw either never really crossed over into popularity, or were already popular. But it did occur to me that a stipulation for being able to make that “Hey, I liked ’em before you even knew who they were” statement with one’s concert wardrobe might be allowable.

    But it does seem kind of petty, now that I think about it. Besides, the dweebs who jumped on the bandwagon are distinguished by wearing the shirts they just bought at the show.

  9. kim 18.Jul.09 at 3:56 pm

    My friends and I were discussing that too. There’s been a lot of over-excited people at THS shows lately who HAVE. TO. WEAR. MY. NEW. SHIRT. NOW. But the Block Party was just kind of over the top.

  10. The J Train 19.Jul.09 at 6:46 am

    It’s generally acceptable at jamband-type shows, particularly if the shirt is an unofficial one that incorporates the name of one of the band’s songs into a corporate logo of some sort.

    Anybody else? No. Not even THS.

  11. david 23.Jul.09 at 9:01 am

    I just generally wear whatever I already have on, usually jeans and a t-shirt. I don’t wear many band shirts, so I run less chance of breaking the rules.

  12. Mr. H 08.Dec.12 at 7:11 pm

    why the deuce wouldn’t you wear a band’s shirt to their concert? it’s respect. what you would wear? some other band’s shirt?


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