The second-floor Club Room in the Shillito building
is rarely used. But Scott Skeabeck saw the potential to turn it into a listening room, where patrons can enjoy music in a quieter atmosphere than a bar or coffee house.
The DownTowne Listening Room
is nonprofit—the $10 entry fee is considered a donation, which goes entirely to the artists. If donations don’t cover the artists’ fee, Skeabeck covers the balance.
“I’m bringing back the lost art of live music,” he says. “Yes, there’s live music all over Cincinnati, but not like this. It’s not just live music but original music, too.”
Skeabeck pairs out-of-town acts with local performers whose style is similar. “I’m a big Cincinnati promoter, but I wanted to get out-of-town talent because they get the idea of the listening room,” he says.
But out-of-town acts don’t necessarily consider Cincinnati a tour destination. It’s easier for artists to get around on the coasts because everything is connected, and the Midwest is a bit off the beaten path. Bringing in out-of-town acts will help fill the room, Skeabeck says, and local acts will really be able to get their name out there.
The DownTowne Listening Room will provide free snacks and soft drinks, and patrons are encouraged to BYOB.
Upcoming acts include New York pop-rock performer and pianist Julian Verlard on June 13 with Charlie Millikin, a local singer-songwriter, opening; and Philadelphia-based Deirdre Flint on July 19.