By Allison Babka
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Indie-rock and twang-folk watering hole Off Broadway bringer-to-town of shows like the Pernice Brothers, the New Pornographers and Gillian Welch has quietly been for sale since July 2005. The current asking price: $150,000. But by the time you read this, the club and its building may be under new management.
Owner Connie Garcia confirms that after months of negotiations, a sale is pending. (A liquor-license hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, April 18, past A to Z's deadline.) As to why she and co-owner Joe Telle are selling the business, Garcia simply says they "want to go in different directions.
"We're kind of worn out after five years," Garcia goes on. "We've invested so much money and so much time I think we're just tired."
Local bands wary about losing another supporter of the scene can rest easy: Garcia says the venue's musical orientation won't change. "[That's the] good thing about a new owner, there's new motivation," she says, predicting that everything will remain "exactly the same."
In other moving news, hip-hop/reggae rockers Lojic are loading up the U-Haul and relocating to Los Angeles for "an indefinite amount of time. It could be permanent; it could be till we run out of money and luck," says bassist-vocalist Johnny O'Neil.
Like many local bands, Lojic grew tired of two obstacles that have plagued the music scene for years: St. Louis' relatively small size and the city's emphasis on sports over the arts.
"We've been playing in St. Louis for four years, and we felt like we've done as much as we could here," O'Neil says. "We're starting to hit this wall where people are going insane with their day jobs.
"St. Louis is a great city. I love it, I grew up here," O'Neil goes on. "[But] you can only do so much in a city whose primary concern is sports. If you work St. Louis for a time and shit just isn't happening, you have to go."
Coincidentally, the band's last show in town (for a while, anyway) is Friday, June 2, at the Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard; 314-726-6161) the same night as a Cubs-Cards game at the new Busch. O'Neil promises "big flashing lights, a long, two-hour set and new songs that haven't been recorded."
You'll also be able to pick up the group's new three-song EP (produced by Urge drummer John Pessoni), which Lojic intends to hawk in LA as an industry demo.
Despite the band's struggle to overcome the city's baseball bent, O'Neil can't resist using an athletic metaphor to describe what Lojic hopes to achieve with the move.
"We're hoping something picks up quick," he says. "I know it takes time in the industry. I'm praying a lot. We're throwing up a long bomb. If it catches, it's a 60-yard touchdown for the win. If it drops, you're fourth-and-two and you're like, ‘Oh shit, here you go.' You either punt and recover or go for it again."
A hearing was held April 17 in regard to the Creepy Crawl's request for a full-drink liquor license for its new location at 3524 Washington Avenue in Grand Center. The decision will be announced in writing in the coming weeks. For now, the club remains in its current location at 412 North Tucker Boulevard. For more on this story, keep checking this space (and for background, see "Snail's Pace," Malcolm Gay's March 29 news story, available at www.riverfronttimes.com).