We’ve been joking online a bit lately, noting that we’re not a “music bar” even as we continue to book more-and-more music events, in different forms. In order to help clarify some things, here’s how we’re working to build our events.
How We’re Funding This: We’d like to point out that we’re a li’l place with the budget limitations/challenges of any small business, so we looked at our financials and tried to figure out a way to smartly/creatively fund some entertainment. Turns out that our ATM actually serves two purposes: giving customers those Jacksons; and providing us a music budget. All of the money that comes back to us from the ATM goes to live music (and in full-transparency: our cut is 50-cents a draw, which is the lowest rate we can go). Add in the cut that comes to us from our vintage video games (50% of all those quarters) and there’s our entertainment budget. Since we’re paid quarterly (and, for the games, literally we get quarters!), we’re able to cobble together enough dough for those three months of music. We then repeat the process. During this quarter, we’ve decided to spend our money on a Music on Mondays series, curated by stellar blues pianist Ethan Leinwand, his Bottlesnakes guitarist Nick Pence and some associates and collaborators. It’s been a great time and will pick up again on July 11.
Breweries Help, Too: Once a quarter, Civil Life funds our A Civil Quarterly series. We book an acoustic artist, highlight Civil Life beers and give out some CL swag. Urban Chestnut’s also stepped up and provided some funding for our springtime residency with Brothers Lazaroff, which we’ve been hosting every second and fourth Tuesdays of the month; we have one of these shows left, on Tuesday, June 28.
Kids Shows: A member of our staff, concierge Paul Stark, hosts the show Musical Merry-Go-Round on KDHX, 7-9 a.m. on Saturdays. In that role, he meets tons of musicians who cater to young audiences and we’ve been hosting those events, independently run, on Saturday and Sunday days for a while now. These are always our top days for orange juice sales.
Safe Harbor Shows: On a few occasions, we’ve booked solo artists who’ve been routed through St. Louis, but didn’t have a venue to appear. While we’ve hosted a few of these, we’ve also found homes for them at other venues, like Foam. It’s fun to land these somewhat-random shows, but it’s not something we can do regularly, in part because…
We’re Still a Corner Bar, Not a Listening Room: Something that’s been a bit difficult to explain, especially in email, is vibe. We cater to a neighborhood crowd, along with folks that just ramble through. We want to be a conversation-first bar (which is why our TVs are usually off and almost-always silent). We also know that on nights when people are just in to talk that music can be, honestly, a turn-off. So we salt music in on nights that are usually a little-less busy, or in timeslots that make the most sense. CD Listening Parties, our main musical effort, can be blended into almost any night, pretty seamlessly, and without demands on an audience’s attention. (It’s for this reason that we haven’t booked comedy, which has been pitched to us frequently.)
These are some general thoughts about what we host and how. Booking (and all other) questions can be shipped to: ticktocktavern @ gmail.com.