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The Concert T-Shirt Etiquette Guide

Filed in Music News 45 comments

We are on the road this week, so here is an old but good post from years ago, enjoy!

1. When wearing another bands t-shirt, try to keep the same genre or influence.
ex. a) David Bowie @ NIN
ex. b) Placebo @ Futureheads

2. The ironic concert t-shirt is the big exception. if you wear a Culture Club or Michael Bolton t-shirt to a Cure show you will get many compliments.

3. There is a sliding scale of the obscurity of the band vs. the genre.
for example: A Tapes ‘n Tapes shirt could be worn to any rock show.

4. When wearing a old concert t-shirt to a newer tour by the same band, it is prefered to wait at least eight years. too soon will show you to be lame, but to follow this guide will give you street cred as a long time fan.
~It should also be noted that a shirt purchased off EBay can break this rule, therefore a stain or hole of some sort is required. (YANP Matt)

5. It is also a violation to wear any shirt of any band members former band or side project to the current incarnation of that band members show.

6. It is a violation to wear the shirt you just bought at that same concert. Especially when it is over whatever you had on before.

7. You may not wear a new concert t-shirt for 2 weeks (especially the next day)
~The exception to this is when you saw a show out of town and wear the shirt at home the next day.

8. It is a violation to wear a concert t-shirt you purchased from the band at a second show on the same tour.

9. No Beatles, Bob Marley or Jimi Hendrix t-shirts, unless you actually went to one of their concerts.

10. It is a violation to wear a concert t-shirt that has been signed by any member of the band.

I hope you find these as funny as I do, id love to have your additions in the comments…..


Posted by Joe Long   @   1 September 2009 45 comments


Aug 3, 2006
12:09 pm
#1 Matt :

Man, I thought I was in the clear. I’ll be breaking #5 tonight at the Of Montreal show (where I’ll wear my Late B.P. Helium shirt), I usually break #7 (but most are out of town), and I wear my signed Bishop Allen tshirt because most of the signatures have washed off.

I suck at this.

Aug 3, 2006
12:48 pm
#2 eric :

It’s also very important to not overdose on apparel, i.e. not wearing that Disintegration t-shirt with a Cure baseball cap as well. Or even a band t-shirt and band anything else. Just too much.

Aug 3, 2006
4:18 pm
#3 brian :

Eric’s right. What do you guys think about band members wearing their own band’s apparel? I remember seeing this live shot of NOFX (gimme a break, I was 15) that I thought was awesome, until I noticed he was wearing NOFX shorts. That seemed lame…

Aug 3, 2006
5:34 pm
#4 Chris :

I’d say that you can’t were a band shirt (it’s like: Hey look at me, I have been to the ___ concert) to ANY concert unless you are in the band or work for them

Author Aug 3, 2006
9:46 pm
#5 Administrator :

Brian, great point, I thinkt the one about bands wearing their own merch is a good rule….

Aug 4, 2006
6:09 pm
#6 bob mandrogenous :

There is an industrial band subclause here, which is if you are at an industrial show you MUST wear a shirt from another band in the genre – preferably someone on Wax Trax in the 80’s, and sneer at any NIN shirts that Trent did not iron the logos on himself in his own basement in Cleveland in 1991. Einsturzende Neubauten shirts trump all others, naturally.

Aug 4, 2006
6:17 pm

In my circle of friends, rules 4,5,&6 are termed being “That Guy” — i.e., You wear your shirt to work the next day and email a friend “I am SO being That Guy today!” or, it might cause you to heckle a particularly egregious offender at a show, “OMG, stop being That Guy, loser!”

Also, it is SO never acceptable for anyone in the band to be That Guy, that’s just sad.

Aug 4, 2006
10:24 pm
#8 jamie :

Sometimes bands wear their own merch when it’s ‘laundry day’ on tour. That’s the only exception.

Aug 5, 2006
2:32 am
#9 brian c :

i think there are a ton of other rules regarding your familiarity with the band . ex: you can’t wear the shirt of a band if you’re only familiar one of their albums, like you wear a Cure shirt, but you only really like Disintegration (or god forbid the only album you enjoy is a greatest hits album). You see so many people who wear Ramones shirts or Led Zeppelin shirts and you ask them which album is their favorite (“Uh…the one with that ‘hey-ho let’s go’ song”) The obvious exception is bands who have only put out one or two albums (or one or two good albums). that’s false advertising. if you wear a Cure shirt, but all you really like is Distintegration, maybe you should just wearing a shirt for Disintegration.

or maybe im just a snob.

Aug 7, 2006
10:08 am
#10 IRJ :

“I’d say that you can’t were a band shirt (it’s like: Hey look at me, I have been to the ___ concert) to ANY concert unless you are in the band or work for them ”

What band wears their own tees? That’s lame.

Aug 8, 2006
10:12 am
#11 sam :

band t-shirts are lame in general

Aug 9, 2006
1:16 am
#12 jason :

I have to disagree with #5, at least partially. I wore a Vees (post-Jale band featuring Laura Stein & Mike Belitsky, only toured once & only released one EP) shirt (hand painted by members of the band) to a Pernice Brothers show (who Laura & Mike now play for) and they TOTALLY lost their minds over it. Each of the guys in the band came up to me and said they thought the shirt was awesome & that it was really cool that I decided to wear it. So, normally I would agree with rule #5, but there is a precedent for exception in my case.

Aug 9, 2006
4:57 pm
#13 Brad :

“What do you guys think about band members wearing their own band’s apparel?”

I don’t know about that…but I like it when a headliner wears a shirt from one of the openers (and vice versa although not as much).

Aug 17, 2006
4:28 am
#14 Rusty :


I Plugged this on
go vote

Sep 13, 2006
10:35 pm
#15 Jacob :

Is there any sort of corollary to #5 involving bands that have retained their original lineups but changed their names?

Also, buttons: You may wear a button or pin for the band you are currently seeing, but it must be along with at least two others. All buttons are to be bought at live shows. Dumbass ironic statements on buttons are unacceptable.

Sep 25, 2006
11:02 am
#16 joseph ruso :

Hey guys you really have a nice site.If you get a chance please check out mine at

Oct 3, 2006
10:10 pm
#17 Brian Mikus :

Well Iron Maiden has been for years wearing their own t-shirts. For them it is pretty cool because they wear t-shirts from over the years that are extremely rare. Also I think i either broke rule 5 or have an exception to it. Over the summer I saw Sammy Hagar and I wore my David Lee Roth shirt from 1985 to piss off other concert goers. They never were in the band together at the same time however as solo acts they have toured together.

Also I think rule 4 is a tough one. For the most part you look like jackass if you wear a fresh shirt of the band you are going to see at the concert. When you are going to see an older band it can however make you look like a die hard if you have a vintage shirt on. This one is a double edged sword.

Dec 25, 2006
4:00 pm
#18 DavidBowieILoveYou :

Wearing a Dandys tee to a Brian Jonestown Massacre was fucking funny.

Jan 10, 2007
10:28 pm
#19 Isaac :

I’m wearing beatle socks, a wings bracelet a john lennon imagine t-shirt…you know the one with the lyrics and RIP Lenda Mcartny hat and a I HATE yoko blinking necelace and I dont give a shit hahahahah. whats the point of buying the shirt if you can’t wear it when ever you want. THE RULES ARE SO CONFORMING and I CHOOSE NOT TO ABIDE hahahah

Jan 19, 2007
12:00 am
#20 sqrl :

I wore a Team Sleep shirt to a Deftones show and got loads of compliments.
with #1, it doesnt even have to be another band. I once saw a Twin Peaks shirt at a NIN show.
Another thing I like to do is go to a show wearing a band shirt that once toured with said band I’m seeing. Did it once and the band came up to me pointing at my shirt saying “they’re our friends, they’re from my home town”
wich is another thing fun to do. wear a Blood Brothers shirt to a Death Cab for Cutie show (for example) both are from Seattle.

Jun 21, 2007
11:13 am
#21 Kitten :

yeah, sometimes even a band gets a kick out of it if you wear one of their shirts (not bought on the day), even if it isn’t all that old. especially for bands that have just gotten big. I saw Alexisonfire a few years ago and go one of their shirts then, and saw them again recently, and got backstage because I was wearing an older tshirt and they thought it was cool.

Jul 20, 2007
1:04 pm
#22 John :

7 is not true.
where i live its usually customary to wear the shirt you bought at the concert the next day regardless of the location of the concert.

Oct 25, 2007
7:58 pm
#23 devan :

I think that there should be an 11th rule stating that it is lame to wear a bands shirt to their show[kinda like #4]. Seriously, you don’t need to prove you like them, that’s why your at the concert.

Nov 30, 2007
2:23 am
#24 Samantha :

I so agree with these rules. I agree with devan but I think there should be a couple of exeptions.
I think maybe home-made T-shirts are different(not iron-ons… ones that took effort to make and look original)
And also, if you’re going to a big music festival, an example being the Big Day Out which is here in Australia where tonnes of different bands play, do you think ALL of these rules should still aply?

Ha… I love the comment about the band pins… so true…

Aug 21, 2008
2:52 am
#25 Embarrassed :

When I was a teen many years ago,I was really into Korn,and one day I showed up to school wearing all adidas.I thought I’d mention that just to give someone a laugh. 0_^

Aug 25, 2008
3:17 am
#26 Jem :

I don’t agree with number 6…. I always wear a singlet to a concert so I can put my tour shirt over the top.. Holding onto a shirt while moshing hard in a pit isn’t an easy thing to do!!!
Other than that, awsome rules!

Sep 21, 2008
12:06 pm
#27 Lil Mama :

I’m not sure how all of his applies to me, as I was looking for a site on etiquette involving purposely ripped concert Ts. My hobby is taking T shirts and only using sissors to turn then into something alot cooler and original to wear. Most of the local bands really dig it. I’ve even had members as me to do theirs…right at the venue…Just browsing.

May 6, 2009
2:07 am
#28 browser :

Found this list by following a link from a tshirt site. The shirt linked to this site was funnier after reading #2 since the shirt was a rip on Michael Bolton (see the shirt here: ). Great list — I’m surprised it’s only had 6 “diggs” after nearly three years. I’ve violated #7 at least a couple of times *blush*.

Oct 21, 2009
10:52 pm
#29 Xanthippas :

Hilarious. At least you guys ditched the silly rule someone made up that you can’t wear a band’s t-shirt to that band’s concert.

Jan 26, 2010
10:32 pm
#30 Tiffany :

I wore a Sisters Of Mercy shirt (goth band) to a Skinny Puppy Concert (industrial band). Got glares from the younger Industrial crowd… and Kuddos from the Older Industrial crowd. Hahahaha

Apr 27, 2010
7:08 pm
#31 Pippa :


Nov 28, 2010
1:36 am
#32 Ohya :

Not sure why Culture Club @ The Cure is ironic.

Jun 16, 2011
3:56 pm
#33 Leleek :

My friend and I (quietly) commented the other day on a guys t-shirt with “DARK SIDE OF THE MOON” actually spelled out above the prism. It’s probably just us, but we thought it was a little…unnecessary (or should be).

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