How Old Is Too Old To Attend a Metal Show?

I love that meme. That is totally me in there. Take away the v-neck sweater and the button down short and replace it with a t-shirt(preferably black) and you got it. This piece though deals more with age. I was inspired to write this up thanks to a Metalsucks article dealing with the nature of pitting. And articles like that are usually an entertaining read especially the comments. The one thing that struck me though was this mindset that if a person is of a certain age then they essentially need not show up to a metal show or have the right to gripe about it because as at least two people put it “this is a youth movement”. I of course got into a debate in the comments over this aspect but then decided to carry it over here and see what other people think of that idea.

I recall when metal was quickly gaining popularity in the early to late 80’s that yes, the average age of a metal fan was between 14-25 let’s say. That’s pretty young. But now we’re three decades into it since then and I believe that even though quite a few people deviated to other,more tame, genres of music that a core group did stay with it. So can we really believe this is a youth movement anymore? And is it a movement? I think it’s a culture by now. The bands are getting older but still playing. People still show up in band shirts or patched jackets. People still have long hair and there are still pits. And I believe (as a 42 year old male myself) that I actually have more to be pissed off and aggressive about then a 16 year old kid does. Because I’ve lived life. I have to put up with a wife, kids, mortgages, taxes, and all of it in an ever increasing tech age where more people get connected and are just as stupid. I work and don’t make enough money and am always in danger of being laid off and know people my age that are. I’m starting to get aches and pains and don’t know why and pulling back muscles from sneezing. I can fuck longer then a young guy but he can go more rounds and is more interested in it. The younger set has to deal with hormones that will stabilize and then drop off, school,girls,and deciding between school, job, military, or still living at home. So just what the hell makes this an all exclusive young guy club and no old farts allowed?

Let’s talk about the metal show and pitting then. In the 80’s you had arena rock or hair bands if you wanted to go to a show and get drunk and just rock out to the band on stage. If you listened to thrash, or speed metal or any incarnation of extreme underground metal you’d go to a show to pit and crowd surf or stage dive and the actual pitting was everyone in the front body checking each other or slammming. Now I’ve never been a pit guy. My reasons are one, I have a temper and all it would take is for one drunken asshole to put a forearm in my back or in my face for me to retaliate and then get thrown out. That’s too much money wasted when I just want to throw up the horns and headbang to my favorite bands. And second I’m there to show my support for the bands the way I see fit without being distracted that someone is going to get knocked off their feet and right into an exposed area of flesh that I would need a week to recover from. And I’m entitled to do just that just like people are entitled to go crazy in a pit. In that Metalsucks thread there were countless people that posed the question of “Well if you’re not pitting why are you there?” Because, asshole, pitting is not the central core of heavy metal music it’s an aspect of the “culture”. These people are the ones that could care less about the music other then it has power chords, distortion ,blast beats, and a razorblade gargling singer. Tell them your age and then the reaction is well you’re too old to be there anyway. Or I don’t want to hear about back in your day. Really? I’ve seen quite a few people my age or even older that were in the pits and being just as much of jackasses as the younger set.

There is something else that people seem oblivious too. Metal is not a simple genre anymore. It’s not like the 80’s where you had hair versus extreme. There are all kinds of genres where pitting is something that is much too over the top for the music vibe onstage. You don’t pit at a Nightwish show. You don’t pit at any power metal show really. Instrumental metal like Animals as Leaders or Scale the Summit….do people pit? If so why? But thrash,and death metal sure…it’s to be expected. Metal is not just a a simple aggressive music anymore( as some people would have you believe) and I would like to think with as many people that get up in arms over discrimination over race,sexual orientation or gender these days that discrimination would also not carry over into age. So I ask you, how old is too old to attend a show and/or pit or to even be a metalhead? Am I over reacting to think there is some discrimination over age when it comes to these matters?

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8 responses to “How Old Is Too Old To Attend a Metal Show?

  1. 38 and I empathize (and agree). My career dictates the short hair and Time itself dictates the glasses. And I get more out of the metal now than ever before. I like to draw a parallel with aging musicians – what may seem oldies to some now hits me as decades of musical mastery. Likewise, as a listener, I have a couple decades on some of the concertgoers in music appreciation. Just as reading more makes one a better writer (I’d like to think), listening more makes you a better listener. Music is a language like none other and whether you play or listen or both, it can take a lifetime to appreciate its nuances.

    I have been to more “extreme” metal shows than ever in the last year or so and I feel pretty at ease with the crowds whose ages seem to range quite a bit (generally small venues lucky to draw even triple digits). There are pitters, to be sure, but also plenty of us who enjoy the show from the side. Where I’ve seen the worst of metal fans, though, is online, which is a relatively new world to me. Post an opinion that differs with someone and you’re too old. Or they think you’re too young. Or you’re not “really metal.” Or – gasp – a poser. Yep. I pose. As a middle-aged, short-haired dude who drives a long way, stays up later than he should for a job that starts way too early and misses time with his wife and kids because he loves metal. For whatever reason I am compelled to share opinions online, though, and God forbid you don’t love some fan’s particular band on any given night. I’ve received emails I honestly considered turning over to the authorities (some ardent fans of one Satanic band I didn’t necessarily dig appear to be fixated on a desire to burn down my home – just for voicing a negative opinion regarding their performance). I love the passion of the metal fans and, at the same time, hate the passion through the sometimes narrow-minded lens.

    I’ve gone on too long and misdirected from your post, to be sure, but you struck a nerve. I’m old, impatient, overly sensitive and uninvolved in the pit but I’ll go to shows as long as I am physically able. I’ll attend even more if they start them at 3:00 PM and offer a buffet.

    • You must be doing something right to get threatened:) I have yet to experience that extreme to things I’ve said on here. No I take that back, I had Lord K from Project Hate tell me he wanted to punch me in the face until he was tired because he didn’t like what I had to say about his business strategy. But I digress. I guarantee that the people that get raged on the internet are the same fucking dickheads that ruin a metal show for everyone else on different levels. Just because they think that’s the way you’re supposed to behave. And apparently old farts should stay home instead of calling them on their bullshit.

  2. There is an never was a movement. It was and always will be a scene. The only movement is deathcore and that’s a bowel movement. We were those same young fans, but metal wasn’t old enough to have old fans. The little shits should look up to us for sticking to something for so long that they likely never will.

  3. Complaints about people being too old to attend a metal concert? There is only one word that needs to be said: Lemmy. End of fuckin story. I’d love to see any dumbass of any age tell Lemmy that he’s too old to be at a show.

  4. I don’t think those young “fans” who are claiming that it’s a “youth movement” realize that very statement shows their lack of long term dedication to and passion for the music that many of us have loved, supported and sacrificed for for longer than many of them have even lived. That’s why I still get in the pit a little, you know, just to let them know whats up. Then I go rest my old ass and enjoy the rest of the show. 😉

  5. 47 here, good blog. I tell myself and others constantly “thank god i never bought into the too old for this adage”. I listen almost exclusively to metal now-a-days and have a much deeper appreciation for and in a way can relate more to the music than when i was younger.

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