by Andrew Miller


Wed Nov 26

Roseland Theater

Slayer shows are as female friendly as testicular cancer screenings. The "enter at your own risk" wristbands distributed at the door and the no-purses policies enforced by the understandably stringent security staff warn visitors they're about to enter hostile territory. Should you clear these ominous obstacles, you'll inspire a feeding frenzy as soon as you walk on to the floor; viewed from above, it resembles schools of fish swarming to tourist-tossed pellets.

After enduring more crass suggestions than a ref who gets on Rasheed Wallace's bad side, female fans are often the first to blaze a trail out of the concert hall, and the last to consider signing up for a return trip. These days, the band's turnout can make a Promise Keepers convention look like an Indigo Girls rally.

However, just as in prison or on submarines, the intense, exclusively male environment makes for strange bedfellows. With all the shirtless friction, fake-mic-in-fist serenades and high-fives turned hugs, Slayer shows offer the ultimate in homoerotic male bonding. Greco-Roman wrestling seems like a dispassionate handshake compared to these orgy-esque mosh pits, which leave participants slipping in sweat, excess testosterone, and possibly other fluids.

On this tour, Slayer sets the tone, using black light-responsive neon pink prominently in its stage design. By decorating its name and assorted Satanic symbols in flamingo tones, the group announces, "Welcome, men of all orientations."

Sure, these dudes haven't always been so open-minded, having gone to embarrassing lengths in interviews to distance themselves from Marilyn Manson's guy-on-guy experimentation. But in these days of Will and Grace and Queer Eye, which Slayer's members doubtlessly Tivo, even the most hardened homophobes understand the importance of broadening one's fan base. To paraphrase Rob Halford (as many of the gents in attendance are wont to do), if you think Slayer shows are a bastion of heterosexual male dominance, you've got another think coming.