This summer when you're on vacation and jonesing to see a metal show SKOM gives you the Top 9 Ways to Identify A Metal Bar so you can spot them rollin' into town: 

1. The front door and the back door look exactly the same; a metal door with one low watt light bulb exposed around the doorway, flickering or has partially gone. The sign that might have once named the place, is covered in faded bumper stickers and old gum. 

2. From the outside it is dead quiet. If a band isn't playing, there might be music coming from a "jukebox" or radio. It is either an old country song, Winger, or Elton John. It can't be verified, because the sound is muffled and distorted coming out of one speaker in the corner that probably doubles as the speaker for an alarm system. 

3. There is no drink signage outside and if there is a marquee, it says "Live Music" which could throw a person off. You'll know inside because all drinks are served in a can or a foam cup by a dude with a long ass beard or a chick that clearly is just doing someone a favor and tending bar because she is so sparkly and pretty. Not to mention, the only thing that has any color in the place. 

4. The stage is way in the back or front (this is a mystery because inside is one huge room with 3 crooked tables and 11 chiars - well 10, one is being used to hold what appears to be ceiling tiles that go in the giant hole above the chair to conceal the wad of wires coming out of it.) There are 7 lights that are dangling with heavy duty zip ties and fed electricity through a bright orange extension cord stapled or maybe hot glued to the ceiling.

5. You can tell by the clothes that people are wearing going in. One dead giveaway is that everyone in the place is wearing a hoodie. It's July. Some though, are wearing tennis shoes, athletic shorts and plain t-shirts. So either they came straight from city basketball league to help strangers put their gear on the stage, or they are the band about to play.

 6. You can tell by the smell released when the door opens and shuts. A faint odor of marijuana, patchouli, and day old chili dogs can be picked up either all at once outside or inside in various pockets around the room. In some places, the smell is so intense it is reminiscent of an electrical fire or burning hair.

7. The outside of the building is painted all one color that is faded. Normally this is a gray, or coral or sometimes black but that is all for the outside. Inside, the wall decor consists of one nicotine ridden, velvet painting of a unicorn, hung on the wall with duct tape or ripped and worn posters of bands that names look like someone blindfolded the pretty bartender and asked her to draw a picture of a forest and she did about 8 variations. 

8. There is no box office or ticket window. There is someone that stands or sits on a barstool next to the door to check IDs and take money. Instead of tickets or a wristband, people get a hand stamp of an unrecognizable shape with a large amount of ink that spreads over their hands and looks like a bruise. If a person is lucky, the ink will make its way to clothing or even rub off on their face during the night. 

9. Bands are loading gear through both doors because there is not a backstage area. Backstage is the area that is behind a shower curtain that hangs by some rope tied to the handle of the PA speaker and an old nail in the wall 6 feet away. The curtain has a sign on it that says "Keep Open" presumably for safety. There is also a couch without cushions and part of the stuffing coming out of where an animal used it as a scratching post. Usually, the soundman is the person with longer than mosts hair and looks like a disgruntled postal worker out of uniform. He could be seen from outside smoking a cigarette or crying, take your pick.

All of this is in good fun and people will tell you some of the most fun they have had are in joints like this all over the country. Places like this are where metal incubates and where bands grow up. If it hadn't been for places like this we probably would still rely on Kasey Kasem's Top 40 Countdown every Sunday. 

Go support bands that play in these places! We know you'll see some killer bands and have a great time to boot! 

SKOM SHEILD SomeKindOfMedia Editorial written by Cherri Bird