Best Punk Rock Venue

St. Louis Skatium

The place stinks like beer, cigarettes and sex. The intoxicating low glow of black light and boisterously pink and purple fluorescent tubes permeate the sticky air. The music, pumped raw and hard through a bare-bones sound system, is thunderous, though it barely drowns out the sound of the uninhibited crowd — hundreds of adults and kids who might otherwise have nothing to do with each other. It's constant movement: a living, breathing hub of unadulterated punk rock — and it's all on wheels. "It's basically every reason why we got into rock n' roll," said Chris Baricevic, drummer of now-defunct local trashabilly group Johnny O and the Jerks and president of Big Muddy Records, explaining that no other venue offers such a unifying and intense experience. Local and touring punk greats frequent noteworthy hot spots around town like the Way Out Club and the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center, but the Skatium provides an unruly alternative. Walking through when it's rented out for a late-night weekend festivity is like living out your most obscene beer-induced rock & roll fantasy. It's chaos. It's anarchy. It's punk rock, baby.
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