To earn a profit, bands must not rely solely on CD sales, but touring as well. The Firebird has succeeded as a live concert venue and haven for traveling and local musicians since 2007. Located east of Saint Louis University’s campus at 2706 Olive St., the venue was formerly known as The Bluebird, until local musician and talent buyer Mike Cracchiolo and friends bought the building and renamed it The Firebird in 2009.
The Firebird books local and up-and-coming musical groups for performances, as well as comedians and veteran artists spanning across the map. “We still manage to book the occasional unknown bands, just because we like their sound,” Cracchiolo said. “A lot of times, those bands go on to be a lot more successful.”
Despite occupancy limitations, fans and bands have grown to love the dimly lit, well-separated bar-venue combination. The bar, selling cheap PBR tall boys and all sorts of concoctions over ice, is tucked in the far corner. Adjacent to the bar are booths where the bands can often be caught preparing for their stage takeover or enjoying a cold, discounted beverage. The venue also has a wall adjacent to the stage dedicated to a performing group’s merchandise table, not to mention the great acoustics and lighting options that are available to the musicians.
Kevin Griffin, lead singer for local reggae-rock band Dreadnot, said he enjoys performing at The Firebird as much as any fan loves to observe. “We particularly like The Firebird because they have a great atmosphere there,” Griffin said of the management’s professionalism with the bands and the venue’s open floor plan.
The crowd demographics typically will deviate based upon the artist that has been booked.“There are plenty of clubs in town that cater to an older crowd, but based simply on our taste in booking, most of our acts draw in college kids up through folks in their late 30s,” Cracchiolo said.
The schedule is always full of performances. In terms of genre, Cracchiolo said artists who perform at the Firebird typically will range from rock, indie, punk, metal, electro and hip-hop genres. “We try to keep it diverse and eclectic so that there is always something for everyone,” Cracchiolo said. Cracchiolo said he has a niche for determining who will and will not show up for any Friday night or weekday performance. He has been a local musician for nearly 10 years, and he has also served as a bouncer for The Pageant in the Delmar Loop.