With less than two hours until showtime, Charlie St. Germain and Ian LaPlace stand in the back of the Elks Lodge, surveying the room that they've remodeled into Missoula's newest venue, dubbed Stage 112. Dieselboy, a dubstep DJ, is the headliner for the Sunday night show that serves as Stage 112's first big event.
The doors won't officially open for at least another 90 minutes, but five young men walk in, interrupt St. Germain and LaPlace and ask when the show starts. One of the men, who looks about 18 and has a crew cut, says he's here to help.
"Uh, this guy Dan, he told me to come and help set up," he says, clearly fishing for a way into the show.
"Dan who?" says LaPlace.
"Dan Smith," the man says.
"We don't have a Dan Smith who works here," LaPlace says, and the man apologizes and splits. LaPlace and St. Germain exchange a look before continuing to explain their mission.
"We're open to all kinds of music formats," LaPlace says.
Stage 112, named after the venue's address, 112 Pattee, is the latest shot at using the 500-person-capacity main floor auditorium for concerts. Shows dwindled after the venue was marred by a fatal 2011 fight outside its doors.
Because the Elks is a nonprofit organization, LaPlace says Stage 112 operates under a "creative rental deal" in which his concert promotion company, Seafarer Entertainment, uses the space, but the ticketing is kept separate from bar revenue.
LaPlace already has several shows booked, mostly of a hip-hip or electronic nature, but says he's open to hosting all kinds of events.
LaPlace and St. Germain, an Elks bartender turned venue manager, say they and a partner decided to revamp the space back in October after seeing how it could fill a need in town. The idea roughly coincided with the Top Hat, which frequently hosted Seafarer productions, closing for several months of renovations.
LaPlace says they've built out the stage and spent about $10,000 on updating the sound system. Two power sources now operate the lights and the sound, allowing for more watts and fancier lighting.
After the Sunday night show, LaPlace reports via email that Dieselboy drew in a crowd of just under 200 people.