How Clubs Prepare for Bands--and Their Fans--Behind the Bar

The following text -- and the above illo, which you can click to see larger -- are featured in this week's paper, which is completely dedicated to the drink. Enjoy responsibly.

By Hannah Levin

When I was attending every metal show that blew through the Tacoma Dome in my youth, outfit selection was almost as important as getting in line for tickets early enough to secure one's admittance to the Ratt/Scorpions double bill. Sure, you wanted to look foxy, but you also had to have the correct color coordination and comfort level. Mötley Crüe? Black and red, perilously high stilettos. Slayer? All black, practical combat boots.

Along with fashion choices, beverage preference followed suit. Jack and Coke was--and is--the default for most metal shows (though if one were unfortunate enough to end up at a Dokken show, you deserved the wine coolers you were destined to drink), and ZZ Top meant that the hell-raisers in the front row would most certainly be beer drinkers.

To this day, I match my outfit and cocktail to a show. If you see me at My Morning Jacket or Drive-By Truckers, chances are I'll be wearing a suede miniskirt the color of brown sugar, my hair will be feathered, and I'll be drinking bourbon and soda with bitters and lemon. When I was getting ready to see Black Breath at El Corazon a few months ago, I didn't even have to think about it; I knew my leather leggings were mandatory and that I'd be in line for the bathroom a lot because of all the PBR tallboys.

I'm not alone--music fans choose outfits and modes of imbibement that get them in the mood for the band they are about to see. Marilyn Manson may not sell as many records these days, but he probably remains fiscally solvent via satanically themed baby-doll T-shirts and those "Mansinthe" royalties.

Bartenders and venue owners know that the correlation between a band's crowd and their liquor purchases for the week is clear and direct--almost scientific. Here are a few things I learned about crowds' drinking habits in a poll of the city's bartenders and club

owners.

 
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