Arts Person of the Year: Dayna Frank – Hailed as “the Stacey Abrams of the concert industry,” the club owner became a national leader who brought independent promoters together — and $173 million to Minnesota venues.
City Pages Best of Twin Cities: Best Rock Club – The future was uncertain when the Turf Club closed for several months last year for a much needed renovation by new owner First Avenue. Many felt the University Avenue stage for alt-country, punk, and Big Freedia was perfect just the way it was. When the venue re-opened at the end of August, the additions included a new sound system, a revamped stage, heightened ceilings, bathrooms that aren’t disgusting, and an expanded kitchen. The basement Clown Lounge also received a stylish cosmetic overhaul too, with new wall decor and lamps. What hasn’t changed, fortunately, is the space’s rugged, no-frills charm.
City Pages “First Avenue 45” – “When I first played the 7th St. Entry almost a decade ago, I thought, “This is the BEST!” Then after I FINALLY managed to SELL OUT the Entry, I thought, “THIS is the best!” Years later, when I was asked to play in the main room for the first time, I was standing on that stage in front of all those people, and I thought, “This HAS to be the best!” But then, Sims and I joined forces for a show, and we sold that big ass room out, and I swore “THAT was the best!” But really, it is all the best. Every show I played from the Entry to the Mainroom, every time I jumped on stage with Doomtree, every Friday I was dancing and sweating in the crowd up in the Record Room for Cryphy, it was all the best. Because First Avenue, from the space, to the staff, to the sound, the heavy pours of Jim Beam, is the best. The best god damn club in America. Amen.” –Astronautalis
Huffington Post America’s 12 Greatest Music Cities – The glory days of the Minneapolis sound (pioneered by Prince and his disciples) may be in the past, but the Twin Cities area is still a major Midwestern hub for hip hop and indie rock acts thanks to large venues like the Target Center and Northrop Auditorium. Even better, though, are the smaller rooms at First Avenue and 7th St Entry, Varsity Theater, Triple Rock, and Cabooze, whose intimate settings attract national talents, as well as local artists like Brother Ali and Doomtree. And we haven’t even talked about the major concerts and festivals like Rock the Garden, Basilica Block Party, Mill City Live, and the Dakota Jazz Club Festival. But now we’re talking about them. And they’re excellent. Minnesota’s quirks seep into every corner of its music scene.
City Pages Fan Memories – Your first First Avenue show is a rite of passage in the Twin Cities music scene. Once you step foot into the star-covered club, it’s hard not to find reasons to revisit the place again and again.
City Pages Best of Twin Cities: Best Concert Venue: The First Avenue name — just “First Ave” to most — is far more than just a reminder of which Minneapolis street sign corresponds to its location. Over the past 40-plus years, this rock club has been the site of more musical “firsts” than practically anywhere in Minnesota. The silver stars on First Ave’s black exterior walls speak to the visionary booking work that has brought too many artists to count to the Twin Cities for the first time. But a number that’s even harder to fathom is the amount of firsts that up to 1,500 souls in the audience experience during every show. Be it up by the speakers, at one of the bars, in the balcony, using the bathroom, picking something out from the merch table, or in the pit, inevitably a night of firsts, big and small, starts piling on. Credit the music, the crowd, and the people running the place that no night at First Ave will ever happen again in quite the same way. It keeps us coming back. Best Sound Team: In 2012, First Avenue made a tremendous improvement to its decade-old sound system. Burnsville’s Electro-Voice installed a state-of-the-art XLC line-array system that provides the club with more powerful, wider-ranging sound coverage and is substantially more efficient. This is good news to everyone who frequents the downtown club on a regular basis, as well as to the club’s longtime sound engineers, Ron Anderson and Randy Hawkins. That veteran sound team — with over 50 years of professional experience between the two of them — is typically responsible for dialing in the best sound for the biggest bands who play in Minneapolis, and the legendary club has indeed never sounded better. Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Touring): It’s clichéd to describe a concert as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but in the case of D’Angelo’s visit to the Mainroom last summer, such lofty rhetoric couldn’t be more appropriate. This was the stuff of legend. The troubled R&B star had seemed all but lost to the ravages of drug abuse and personal demons in the decade-plus since his last appearance in the Twin Cities. His return betrayed every bit of the considerable effort it took for him to get up on stage. Even the beaming irreverence of D’Angelo’s funky-drummer sidekick, the Roots’ Questlove, couldn’t dull the emotional sting of deep cuts from Sly Stone and the Ohio Players, marinated in a hazy, burnt-out malaise of self-reflection and boiled down to the grimiest, most viscous soul imaginable. But then he brought it back from the brink with the most over-the-top double encore in recent memory, topped off with a tear-the-house down, 20-minute rendition of the Family’s “Mutiny” that may as well have been a glimpse of Prince on home turf in his heyday. The night’s exorcism took its toll, though: In the days after the First Avenue show, D’Angelo canceled his subsequent appearances, including a return visit to Mainroom scheduled for later in the summer. Once in a lifetime, indeed.
Feb 23 City Pages Top 10 Twin Cities hipster bars featuring local live music: “When it comes to the history, nothing beats the 7th Street Entry. The intimate, squished little side-room garage of a space has seen enough gigs to have lived its 30-plus-year history a million times over, and there’s an understanding that local album release shows here can be game-changing. The sound at the Entry always manages to make the band sound somehow slightly better, the audience somehow significantly more attractive — or that could just be the magic of the PBR tallboys and black walls. Without even trying too hard, the 7th Street Entry has become the hip venue by which all other hip venues are judged — and very rarely do the others match the venerated charm.” [Natalie Gallagher]
March 26 City Pages Top 10 Twin Cities Dance Venues (#2 – The Record Room): But within First Avenue, the Record Room is actually the best place to find yourself on the dance floor — “find” isn’t too far off when you’ve had five drinks — as your success ratio rises when you consider the room pretty much only hosts dance nights. You’ve got Get Cryphy, Energize, the Bungalow, Hot Dish, TML, Koncrete Jungle and Wants Vs. Needs all happening throughout the month in this one small upstairs bar, so make plans to try ’em all and you might find a new favorite.
April 2013 Chromeo: “The Minneapolis funk sound is a HUGE influence on us. It’s the promised land and having a stat on First Avenue is one of our proudest achievements”
April 26 Rolling Stone The Best Big Rooms in America (#3): This downtown Minneapolis club opened in 1937 as a Greyhound depot, but the history of First Avenue as we know it begins with Prince. Throughout the Eighties, he and the Revolution were sort of the house band here – you can see it in all the famous concert scenes in Purple Rain. The club was also a key staging ground for the city’s punk-and-hardcore scene, starring the Replacements, Husker Du and Soul Asylum. Today’s fans still love the no-frills vibe and killer acoustics, even if waiting in line during a Minnesota winter can be a bummer. “Plus,” says hip-hop star Talib Kweli, a regular headliner, “I saw [famous rapper’s name redacted] deck an undercover cop and hop in a cab and get away at the club.”
May 10 Complex The 50 Best Concert Venues in America (#5): Aside from using First Avenue crowds as testing ground for new music, Prince also featured the club in Purple Rain. Some of the classic album was recorded here, and it was the primary setting for nearly the entire film. First Avenue closed briefly in 2004 due to financial issues but swiftly reopened. April 3, 2010 became First Avenue Day, commemorating the club’s 40th anniversary, and solidifying First Avenue’s place in pop culture history.
July 10 Rolling Stone The Best Music Venues in America, Reader’s Choice (#2)
July 25 Minnesota Monthly Not Your Father’s First Avenue: For more than four decades, the dim, cavernous confines of First Avenue have hosted some of the most legendary happenings in Twin Cities music. It’s where Prince tested out new material and filmedPurple Rain. Where punk legends Hüsker Dü and the Replacements dominated the local rock scene. And where bands like U2, R.E.M., and the Red Hot Chili Peppers played to intimate crowds before graduating to the 10-times-larger Target Center across the street. But on this rare quiet day in First Avenue’s Mainroom, the giant black stage sits empty and the smell of fresh paint lingers in the air. Dayna Frank, the club’s new executive vice president, leads a crew of construction workers and planners around the building, plotting out the next steps of its seemingly constant renovation.
City Pages Best of Twin Cities: Best Rock Club: First Avenue still rules the roost when it comes to the Twin Cities’ top rock-out spots. And with improved lower-level, stage-left sight lines, the same great sound system, and a formidable concert and event schedule as always, plus the welcome addition of the adjacent Depot as a pregame spot, the club Prince made famous has only gotten better in recent years. Whether you’re out to headbang during a metal show or pop-and-lock to some dance music, you won’t find a better-looking or -sounding place to do it than the corner of Seventh Street and First Avenue. In fact, considering the recent upgrades, about the only thing that could dislodge First Avenue from the top spot in future years would be a dramatic increase in the price of PBR tallboys. Best Place to Run into Your Ex (Depot Tavern): Cool enough to attract a mix of music lovers, sports fans, foodies, and bar enthusiasts, the Depot Tavern is by far one of, if not the, best bars in downtown. Its big indoor patio space and dining room make it easy for groups of all sizes to sit down and enjoy a beer or bacon-wrapped Diamond Dog, but intimate enough to avoid yelling over a bunch of drunk dudes and awful top 40 hits. While that’s an awesome combination for bargoers looking for a fun, laid-back night out, it sucks for the dude who told his girlfriend they should “just be friends again” right before Valentine’s Day.
Jan 30USA TODAYTen reasons to visit Minneapolis-St. Paul: #1 “Not only is First Avenue one of the best concert venues in the country, it was the backdrop for Purple Rain. Nearly every band you can think of has played the venue since it opened in 1970, including Prince, U2, R.E.M., The Replacements, Wilco and B.B. King. Just take a look at the stars painted on the side of the building; they list every single name. First Avenue is a symbol of our great local music scene.”
Feb 9 City PagesHeartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom interview: Q: You’re playing the First Avenue Mainstage for the first time on Friday. How do you feel about that? EW: I’m very excited. I saw Lucinda Williams get married there. That was pretty neat. Just with all the history there. Prince… First Avenue is such a staple of Minneapolis. I’m very excited. I’m really looking to it. I really love Minneapolis. That’s one of my favorite towns to play. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll town. Snow doesn’t hold people back. They come out to shows and support music. Its just always been a great place to play.
April 11 City Pages: First Avenue’s 20 Best ConcertsFirst Avenue is undoubtedly among the premier rock clubs in the country — possibly the world. Since 1970, the building at the intersection of 1st Avenue N. and 7th Street N. in downtown Minneapolis has hosted drinking, dancing and live music as the Depot, Uncle Sam’s, Sam’s, and since 1981, First Avenue. The iconic silver stars naming past performers painted on the outside walls tell part of the story of the club, but the anecdotes of obscenely cheap tickets, balmy temperatures, and youthful days arriving long before the jaded regulars are what make this building an institution. Even riskier than summing up the best shows from the club’s 42-year history would be to let these ear-shattering, heart-warming evenings go forgotten.
City Pages Best of Twin Cities: Best Rock Club (7th St Entry): While First Avenue’s more spacious Mainroom next door gets most of the acclaim and accolades, the intimate Entry remains the perfect place to see a band before they break big. Ticket prices are usually pretty cheap, the sight lines are perfect, the sound is typically flawless, and fans are regularly able to connect in a personal way with the impressive legion of bands that continues to grace the club’s tiny stage. Whether you’re catching a young act on the rise or a veteran group that still prefer to keep their shows small, the Entry has memorably hosted them all within its dark, cozy confines. Whatever type of music you’re into, the Entry has you covered, as the venue’s diverse concert calendar is packed with highly affordable shows spanning all types of genres nearly every night of the week. Best Dance Club: We don’t need to convince you of First Avenue’s longstanding icon status in Minneapolis or that it’s one of the top rock clubs in the nation. But you might not know the club has been supporting the little guy — in this case, the electronic music community — from the genre’s early days when turntables weren’t considered an ancient artifact and club music was on the fringe. It was Kevin Cole’s now legendary Depth Probe radio broadcasts and the feel-good nights at Sunday Night Dance Party and System 33 that made way for the club’s best dance nights today, and there are many: the unstoppable behemoth that is Too Much Love on Saturdays, insane rap party Get Cryphy on the first Friday of the month, Wants vs. Needs on the second Friday, Verb X’s Energize classic hip-hop night on XXX, Konkrete Jungle drum ‘n’ bass each Wednesday, and Black techno night in the Record Room on Saturdays for the jaded old raver set. If just thinking about all that didn’t tire you out, congratulations. You’ve got some clubbing years in you yet. Best Hot Dog (Depot Tavern): Attached to the hip and historic First Avenue & 7th St Entry, the Depot Tavern is an ideal place to get a pre-game beer and an even better place to get an anytime dog. There’s the Stadium Brat, with sauerkraut and whole grain mustard, and the awesomely messy Chili Dog, with cheddar and scallions, but it’s the Depot’s Diamond Dog™ that makes it a top hot dog destination. If the Diamond Dog™ were a musical act, it would be Lady Gaga, dressed to dazzle. The quarter-pound tube steak is encased in a crusty bacon spiral that’s been fused to the dog via a dip in the deep fryer. But its real innovation is its soft pretzel bun, which possesses the same leathery, salt-glazed crust and dense, chewy white flesh of those sold at street carts and concessions stands. At $9, it may be the most expensive dog in town, but it’s well worth it. Best Dance Night (Get Cryphy), Best Club DJ (Plain Ole Bill, Get Cryphy), Best Touring Concert (tUnEyArDs), Best Local Concert (Doomtree Blowout 7)
July 22 Vita.mn List of Lists 2012: Best Live Music Venue, Favorite Twitter’er “First Avenue is the Harlem Globetrotters of Twin Cities music venues. And with its new state-of-the-art sound system (installed in May), the local institution is only getting stronger.” [JAY BOLLER]
Dom (lead singer of Dom) “Favorite City to Play In – Minneapolis. It was just the raddest time ever; I was not expecting that at all. We went there and played on the same stage as Prince on the Purple Rain [tour]. It was just the craziest experience ever, and the biggest surprise because we weren’t expecting anything, and it ended up being one of the more fun places we stopped on the tour. Pitchfork, January 2011
May 22 Star Tribune Death Cab For Cutie: “It’s an honor and treat to be back at First Avenue,” singer/guitarist Ben Gibbard gushed, calling it “one of the best clubs in the country.”
May 14 Star Tribune In 2011, Concert Bix Thinks Smaller: “You have a different relationship with the audience there — it’s an intimate yet safe setting and we get immediate feedback.” Jason McGerr, Death Cab For Cutie
June 2 Internet Exposure “First Avenue understands and embraces social media incredibly well. As a commander of the scene, First Avenue is dripping with potential to command the Twitterverse as well.”
June 2 MPLS/St Paul Business Journal “First Avenue, the pioneering downtown Minneapolis music club, is one of the hottest Foursquare locations on the planet.”
June 8 City Pages “I just have to make it known how psyched I am to actually be playing First Avenue. I remember reading the City Pages every week and listening to Radio K obsessively and I never in a million years dreamed that I would be written about in the paper or playing the Mainroom. That’s just massive for me personally.” Will Sheff, of Okkervil River
September 3NPR Weekend EditionMinneapolis’ Starring Role In ‘Purple Rain’ “From the opening scenes of Purple Rain, as Prince and the Revolution rock the stage of the cavernous First Avenue nightclub, it’s clear that the city of Minneapolis, with it’s thriving music scene, is going to be a character of its own.”
September 23America’s Top 25 Music Venues (Metromix survey of 40 touring artists) #1: The artists we polled had so much to say about the Twin Cities’ most iconic venue (made famous in Prince’s classic ’80s film, Purple Rain) that we’ll just let them speak for it: “It’s the best combination of funkiness, intimacy and stand up rock club. It will always be a special place ’cause Tom and I got married on stage there!” – Lucinda Williams “First big room we ever headlined, sweet crew, Prince’s old haunt.” – Marty Marquis, Blitzen Trapper Not bad for a club that was originally built to house a Greyhound bus station, right? Congratulations to First Avenue for being the most acclaimed live music venue in America, based on our highly unscientific but hopefully enlightening poll of touring musicians of every stripe.
September 23Best Live Music Venues: Artists’ Top Picks (Metromix) “There are so many great live venues in the Twin Cities, that is one of the things that makes this place so cool. I love seeing jazz at the Dakota, theater shows at the State, Fitzgerald and Orpheum Theater. But for pure rock energy, nothing comes close to First Ave. I try and make sure to play there every year. I’ve seen some of my favorite shows of all time there from the Jayhawks to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It feels like the floor lifts up when the bands start. Like a space ship.” – Mason Jennings (Twin Cities) “First Avenue. There’s little else to offer in truly significant history than the movie Purple Rain. That was shot here. But I stood next to Prince backstage here once both watching Gayngs while he held a guitar at the side of stage. The Doomtree blowout was rather epic last year, a two-night show turn into a three-night show due to a record snowstorm that shut down the entire city of Minneapolis. Somehow people still managed to get to the show that night, including First Ave’s incredible staff.” – Sims, Doomtree Collective “First Avenue occupies a pretty mythical position in the Minneapolis music scene. Even now, after having played the main stage a dozen times, it’s an electrifying experience to step up to a microphone there. It still feels a little like I snuck in the back door and somehow managed to land on stage.” – Dessa, Doomtree Collective (Twin Cities)
April 9 Pioneer Press Trampled By Turtles Sticks its neck out for nation recognition: “On the first time Trampled by Turtles played First Avenue, which has become the band’s stage of choice in the Twin Cities: “I grew up in Mankato, and to me, First Avenue was a place people went on a special occasion. It was almost this mystical place to me. The first time we played there, we had played San Francisco two nights before and drove straight through, 38 hours, directly to load-in. We were all kind of cross-eyed, but it added to that whole dreamy feel for us. It was worth every mile. We play a lot of different venues, but it’s still my favorite one.”
April 12 Star Tribune DJ Verb X on the Renaming of First Ave’s VIP Room to the “Record Room”
April 26 City Pages “Lookbook Announce headlining show at First Avenue” While there’s no sure-fire way to concretely measure a band’s success, there are a few major stepping stones that seem to symbolize a local band’s ascent: The first time they sell out a show, the first time their song is played on a local radio station, and, perhaps most obviously, the first time they are deemed popular enough to headline a show at First Avenue.
May 28 Star Tribune “Nightlife notebook: First Avenue gets a new neighbor”
June 2, 2010 – KARE 11 Minneapolis music landmark First Avenue gets makeover
June 2 City Pages – First Avenue repainting stars, asking input from fans
June 3 KARE 11 Minneapolis music landmark First Avenue gets a makeover: MINNEAPOLIS — Famed downtown Minneapolis night club First Avenue is getting a makeover. From the famous to the infamous, thousands of musicians have played the First Avenue stage through the years. Many of their names are painted on the prominent side wall, which has become a Minneapolis landmark. A new paint job has temporarily covered those names, but folks at First Avenue say the stars will return. As far as who will get the boot, and who will stick around, that will be up to the rock gods. “There’s a higher power that decides it, I have nothing to do with it,” said First Avenue’s Machem Davis. “I think it’s mostly just bands that may have faded off a little bit that will be removed.” Legendary First Avenue favorities like The Replacements and Soul Asylum will get to keep their stars, local bands will be grandfathered in to the 400 or so “new” stars. The renovations coincide with the opening of a new restaurant at First Avenue next week called the Depot. The Depot is expected to serve typical bar food specializing in grilled cheese. The last time First Avenue went under a makeover was between 1999 and 2000.
June 2 WCCO Mixed Views on Repainting of First Ave. Stars – Not on the street itself, but on the signature, eye-catching nightclub. The stars painted on the exterior of the building take it from venue to icon – and they’re getting a little work done this week. But some fans of the club aren’t too happy about the upgrade. They think it’s sacrilege, like erasing the history of their favorite bands.In past 40 years, some of the best-known bands have played First Ave., starting with rocker Joe Cocker when it opened in 1970. In the mid 80s they began painting performers names on silver stars. Big names like, B.B. King, Tina Turner, Big Head Todd, The Replacements and even, Alice in Chains got their own star.But most famous perhaps, is our very own Prince, after all, this is his home turf. Management thought it was looking tacky and crowded and about a week ago, repainting began. A white primer base first, followed by the new stars. It’s become a real talker — some OK with it because they didn’t know half the names anyway and others have vented anger. One man even said, “It’s not Michaelangelo!” ” Obviously, we want to keep the building looking nice and we’re not painting over any history, we’re going to recreate it for the bands that have loved it and put in the time here before,” said Machen Davis of First Avenue. There were 530 stars before but the club will now limit it to just 400. There’s also a contest going on for fans to vote for which bands and performers get a star.
November 11 Gibson GuitarsShowtime! The 10 Greatest Rock Venues of All Time “First Avenue’s main stage was memorialized forever as the place where Prince and the Revolution performed their searing music in the film, Purple Rain. Indeed, throughout the ’80s, the Purple One often tried out new material at the venue. Meanwhile, First Avenue’s sister venue, 7th St Entry, served as a breeding ground for The Replacements, Husker Du, Soul Asylum and other Minneapolis-based bands. One wonders if the Midwest alternative explosion would have occurred at all were it not for this cornerstone venue.”
September 22 – #1 Must See Arts Sight in Minneapolis – NY Post, “A top notch rock venue that attracts every impressive mid-career act that pitstops in Minneapolis – this month, that includes Lily Allen. It’s also where the Replacements, Husker Du, Soul Asylum and Atmosphere got their starts.”
Craig Finn (The Hold Steady) “One thing that never changes is Minneapolis has two of the greatest houses of worship: the basilica and… First Avenue” At the Basilica Block Party July 11 via Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune
Thomas Mars (Phoenix) – “We’ve been waiting to play First Avenue our entire lives” During the band’s in store at the Electric Fetus September 22 via Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune
#1 Must-See Arts Sight in Minneapolis NY Post“A top notch rock venue that attracts every impressive mid-career act that pit stops in Minneapolis – this month, that includes Lily Allen. It’s also where the Replacements, Husker Du, Soul Asylum and Atmosphere got their starts.” April
CNNMoney.com “Music fans of all persuasions rock on at First Avenue, where Prince got his start.” June
First Avenue Keeps Bringing the Minneapolis Sound – Twin Cities Business, November “The frequency of sellout shows remains high, a testament to the fact that 40 years in, the club still rules as the top live music venue in the Twin Cities.”
Best Music Venue, Best Place to Dance – Downtown Journal
Best DJ Nights: # 1 Too Much Love, #5 Honeymoon, #7 Get Cryphy – Vita.mn
Most Photographed Landmarks: #10 First Avenue – Vita.mn
Best Dance Club – MN Daily
Minneapolis Article CNN.com: “First Avenue & 7th St Entry, the city’s legendary nightclub that helped launch acts from punk legends Husker Du and the Replacements, to Minneapolis’ favorite purple paisley son, Prince.”
July 19th Star Tribune “Hold Steady: The World’s Biggest Bar Band” Craig Finn, The Hold Steady “I’ve played in all kinds of clubs all over the world now, I still don’t think there’s one that compares to First Ave.”
July 9 “Police Shut Down Prince Concert” BBC News Online: “Pop star Prince has been forced off stage by police during a late-night gig in his hometown of Minneapolis.The musician, 49, was halfway through his set at the legendary First Avenue nightclub when he announced: “The authorities say we gotta go. We always listen to the authorities,” he added. “I promise I’ll be back.” The club, which Prince made famous in his movie Purple Rain, is allowed to stay open until 0300, but the star only took to the stage at 0245 on Sunday. He had performed hits including I Feel For You and Controversy before police pulled the plug. Club owner Byron Frank said officers talked to Prince’s crew and allowed the singer a little extra time to wind the show down. “It’s very sad they had to do it, because everybody was having such a wonderful time,” Mr. Frank said.”
Vita.mn’s Guide to First Avenue – includes where to buy tickets, when to get there, where to get the best view, what to drink: “The undisputed epicenter of the Minneapolis music scene is First Avenue. It claims to be “the longest continual entertainment and music venue in the Twin Cities,” and it’s a place that many Minnesotans grow up listening to music.” Also includes a final note: “There was a period of time when I sort of refused to go to any concert alone. I’m sure there are other people that feel the same way. How much do you really talk to your friends when you go to a concert? Consider how many shows you missed because you couldn’t find a friend who liked the band enough to shell out the money for a ticket. Try going solo at First Ave. It’s a great time and you’ll undoubtedly meet people and possibly run into someone you know. I also find that I have a better time when I’m not worried about everyone else having a good time and is able to see the band. Seriously, try it.”
Minneapolis City Guide – USA Today Recommendations: “ Prince made First Avenue & 7th St Entry famous in 1984 with his movie Purple Rain, and the club remains one of the best small venues in town to catch national and local music acts. It’s also one of the most popular dance spots in downtown Minneapolis. Expect an eclectic and energetic crowd. Cover charges vary.
May 29 America’s 40 Best Music Venues – Paste Magazine “Best place to bask in Twin Cities music history before stumbling drunkenly through the skyways: First Avenue boasts that, early in his career, Prince made the venue his regular performance spot, even going so far as making it the set of his iconic film, Purple Rain. Introduced the world to: The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, The Jayhawks, Peter Himmelman”
Best Improved Rock Club, Best Indie Icon – MPLS St. Paul Magazine
MN Daily Article about The Bungalow and Reggaeton: “First Avenue’s The Bungalow is Minnesota’s longest-running hip-hop, reggae and Reggaeton club night, according to Verb X.”
Minneapolis City Guide – USA Today Recommendations: “Prince made First Avenue & 7th St Entry famous in 1984 with his movie Purple Rain, and the club remains one of the best small venues in town to catch national and local music acts. It’s also one of the most popular dance spots in downtown Minneapolis. Expect an eclectic and energetic crowd. Cover charges vary.”
Rolling Stone article about Tapes N’ Tapes – First Ave is mentioned in the first paragraph: “When Minneapolis art rockers Tapes n’ Tapes were getting started, they developed an unusual tactic for attracting fans. “Whenever there was a concert that was sold out at [the legendary club] First Avenue, we’d drive by really slow with five or six copies of our CD and just throw them out the car window at the line of people,” says singer-guitarist Josh Grier, 26.”
Article in Playback:stl about the Bootlegs CD Release: “First Avenue is one of the most-storied music clubs in the entire Midwest, a rock club constructed in 1970 inside of the 30-year-old Northland-Greyhound Bus Depot in downtown Minneapolis. The first club in the downtown area to serve up both cold beer and hot rock music, First Avenue and its neighboring sister club, the 7th St Entry, hosted a rock revolution in the 1980s that began with Prince—whose Purple Rainwas filmed at First Avenue—and continued with a slew of influential punk and indie bands, from the Replacements and Hüsker Dü to the Jayhawks and Soul Asylum, in addition to serving as a welcome destination to national touring acts.” 2006
Artist of the Year, Honorable Mention: First Avenue – Star Tribune: “No Building may be more central to the Twin Cities music community than this nightclub, which had a pinnacle year following a fight for its very life. A court battle among its owners and longtime managers led to a bankruptcy filing, and the club closed for 3 weeks in November 2004. When First Avenue reopened- with the same old blah-black paint job and its unusually pierced waitstaff-folks rallied around its very presence. An estimated 250,000 people went through the curved wall of doors in 2005. In its 35th year, the club went into the black financially since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It even cleaned up its bathrooms (a little anyway). Meanwhile, corporate competitor Clear Channel was clearly in the toilet and shuttered its local offices. After all these years, the Quest for a better venue turned out to be a Myth.” December 30
Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 10 College Towns – Minneapolis: First Avenue and 7th St Entry has the best sightlines in town
Mpls/St. Paul Magazine: “There’s still no better club than First Avenue, with its adjoining 7th St Entry. As much a landmark as the Pantages, the converted Greyhound bus station has been an ideal concert venue for thirty-five years, in part because the curved mezzanine of the Mainroom offers a view of the stage from nearly every angle. Recent improvements in sound, not to mention the removal of the upstairs Plexiglas, almost feel cosmetic by comparison. Having helped launched the careers of locals ranging from the Replacements to Atmosphere, the club also has a storied history of booking alt-rock and world-music legends seconds before they become huge-U2, King Sunny Ade and the Fugees in the Mainroom; the White Stripes in the Entry.”
Justin Pierre – (Motion City Soundtrack) “I guess the biggest goal for me was to play First Avenue, which is this club in Minneapolis that I went to see all my shows at when I was a kid. And we ended playing there on our last tour, and it was sold out. It was just amazing. It was like, I saw my favorite bands here, like Jawbox and Superchunk. Being able to have people come out and watch us sing our songs is pretty rad. “
Best Music Venue – Yahoo
Best Music Venue – Minnesota Monthly
Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 10 College Towns – Minneapolis: First Avenue and 7th St Entry has the best sightlines in town