First Avenue, new downtown AEG venue prepare to compete [VIDEO]

Categories: Local Music
FirstAvenue.jpg
First Avenue: Gearing up for battle with another deep-pocketed competitor.
Another downtown Minneapolis venue battle may be on the verge of heating up.

Yesterday, the Star Tribune reported that AEG Live will soon open a new concert space at the former site of Christian music venue Club 3 Degrees off N. 5th St. near Target Field. Also yesterday, First Avenue announced that the club is in the midst of a renovation project meant to "increase sightlines and capacity."

Remember when Quest fought a losing battle against First Avenue in the early 2000s? It looks like the iconic club has another deep-pocketed challenger on the horizon, with the renovations perhaps meant to get First Avenue in tip-top fighting shape.

AEG is the world's second largest live show promoter. The Strib reports that AEG's new downtown venue, which is slated to be called the Brick, will hold about 2,000 concertgoers, putting its capacity between First Avenue's (1,500 before renovations) and Epic (2,400).

The Brick news broke when veteran rockers Jane's Addiction (they're still around?!) announced that they're slated to gig in Brick on March 19.

Jeff Kehr, Brick's general manager, told MPR that the club, like First Avenue, will feature a two-tiered concert space and a lower-level bar.

"Our goal will be to welcome all genres of music and all audiences to experience this versatile facility," Kehr says. "The venue itself will lend itself well to all types of touring artists, from rock, country and pop to R&B, jazz, comedy and more."

Some commenters on the Strib's art blog questioned the need for another mid-sized venue in downtown Minneapolis.

One said:
A bit of a surprise, because there doesn't seem to be a need for this venue... It seems like so many shows are held at First Avenue, Fine Line, Varsity Theater, along with the State Theater and Orpheum... that there doesn't seem to be demand for this venue.
Meanwhile, First Avenue is removing some lower-level stairs and repositioning a bar to open up sightlines and allow for greater capacity. Here's the full scoop:


First Avenue general manager Nate Kranz told the Strib he's concerned about having "such a deep-pocketed competitor," but, alluding to the club's trouncing of Quest a decade ago, added that he thinks First Avenue will be fine.

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9 comments
Ding Dong Dung
Ding Dong Dung

1st Ave did not "trounce" anybody - it actually went bankrupt as a result of its inability to stave off competition.

It has had the indie explosion to itself for 7 years.  Now let's see how it does with someone else able to bid for shows.  It has not helped matters that the club has started to act like it owns the town.  

Anti-Chris
Anti-Chris

There was a Christian music venue here? I am retroactively pissed.

Bianca
Bianca

I still can't get over Jane's Addiction still being around.. and apparently have such a great demand that they feel the need to occupy a 2000 capacity room. Was Station 4 already booked?

La Verdad
La Verdad

Good. First Ave and Fine Line need competition. Hopefully they bring more ACTUAL rock like Jane's Addiction - which alone kicks the crap out of the mamby-pamby indie and wannabe-pseudo-intellectual hip hop that CP is so fond of covering!

Zeroisanumber
Zeroisanumber

They were there long enough to get pissed off at all of the strip joints on their block before they closed.

Christian music venues can probably turn a profit in this town, but I suspect that their primary customer base isn't going to spend much time in downtown Minneapolis.

Guy
Guy

In related news, there are still plenty of coffee shops where self-righteous atheists can loudly spew their half-baked opinions so everyone else can hear them.

I don't believe in God, but if you're of the opinion that Christians shouldn't be able to express their faith through music in downtown Minneapolis, then you're the type of atheist that gives the rest of us a bad name.

Samuel Koza
Samuel Koza

The fact that people are questioning if Jane's Addiction is still around is a clear indicator this nation needs to get back to its roots of rock n roll.  Jane's Addiction is alive and well and still Rockin'.  Dave Navarro has been instrumental in that band since day one and has radio shows amongst other things that discuss the band all the time.  If you in the rock world - you know what Janes Addiction has been doing. They have also branded with Trent Reznor in just recent years for JA NIN releases. A great show this will be.

David Foureyes
David Foureyes

He may have been pissed because he/she wanted to go there to see shows, Professor.

Guy
Guy

well, his moniker is Anti-Chris, which is close enough to Antichrist for me to speculate that he's not a churchgoer. I'm guessing that since he's only now finding out about the Christian music venue, he's "retroactively" pissed because he didn't have a chance to be pissed back when the venue was open. And now you're both assholes.

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