VIA STUART KEATING
Stuart Keating, in the Hawaiian shirt, shows off the stage alongside the Moonbase and Satellite teams.
Barely four months after the Earthbound Beer team opened a cocktail bar in Soulard, Earthbound Satellite
, they're already eyeing another major project. Or, as co-owner Stuart Keating put it when teasing the news on Facebook, "Lord help me, I am back on my bullshit."
This particular brand of bullshit? A plot to bring regular live music bookings to Soulard Preservation Hall (1921 South Ninth Street, 314-241-8181)
, where Earthbound Satellite is housed.
"My bartenders at Satellite are old hands at music booking kind of stuff, in a variety of ways, a variety of spaces and genres," Keating, 34, explains. "And we started looking at the venue space that's attached to the cocktail bar and we realized that they're really not doing a lot of late-night stuff. It's a beautiful 3oo-seat place that's fully licensed and has a bar in it already, and it really just needs a PA system and some promo and booking work.
"And also, I don't know, I'm in my thirties and I'm wearing Hawaiian shirts and I have a ponytail now," Keating laughs, alluding to a certain local entrepreneur based in the Loop. "So I think I'm, like, required to open a venue."
Keating mentions Earthbound employees Emily Thomas and Seth Bailey as catalysts for the venture. Both musicians, the pair have résumés that include working at Off Broadway and appearing regularly at the open mic night previously held at the Gramophone. Their combined knowledge of booking and promotion and all the other things that come with running a venue inspired Keating and Co. to take the leap.
"We're just really excited," says Kristina Goodwin, 30, Keating's wife and business partner. "This is one of those weird opportunities where we looked around and were like, 'Whoa, we could do this. Our existing crew has the expertise to do this.' And as soon as the idea was born we basically had the lead on the equipment."
And by equipment, they mean the gigantic 4,000-watt PA system they recently purchased from a "dad in Breese, Illinois" who inexplicably had it set up in his basement. According to Keating, it cost "less than a used car, but more than the used cars I typically buy." The gear met with prompt approval from Bailey, who will be in charge of running sound.
"It's huge and crazy," Goodwin says. "Seth was looking at it and he was like, 'Yeah, this is a nicer setup than they have at the Firebird or the Ready Room.' But we just bought it off some guy."
"This went from concept to execution in about four and a half days," Keating adds. "Which is fast for us, because it's usually like three and a half years. We're like the J Mascis of breweries."
Earthbound is still working out the details of the business side of things. Moonbase Market, the video-and-tabletop game forum and events space that owns Soulard Preservation Hall, will still run the event space, and will book some of its own shows as well. As for Earthbound, Keating says his team intends to start small, with an open mic night on Sundays, as well as some Saturday shows. If things go smoothly, they'll begin to book more regularly.
"First one should be November 24, I think," Keating says. "And we're gonna kind of figure things out as we go along."
With a 300-person capacity in the event space and the ability to squeeze another 70 into the bar area, the venue will have roughly the capacity of, say, the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill. It's no stretch to say things are looking positively Edwardsian for the young business owner.
Which brings us back to Keating's recent sartorial leanings. "What it turns out with the Hawaiian shirt, the reason everyone's dad wears them, is because they super flatter your figure," he explains. "It's a mumu for dudes. A socially accepted dude mumu."
But Keating is fully aware of what his fashion choices portend.
"Man," he says, "if I end up being millennial Joe Edwards I'm gonna have to shoot myself into the sun."
- Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
- Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.