First Avenue's 20 best concerts: The complete list

Categories: Lists
11. Dinosaur Jr./ My Bloody Valentine/ Babes in Toyland, First Avenue, 2/12/92
My Bloody Valentine was touring on Loveless, and splitting the bill with Dinosaur Jr. In this case, they were the middle act. I don't know anyone who stayed, but it was a show that bordered on the mystical. The club literally ran out of earplugs. I have had mild tinnitus ever since, and I don't care -- it was glorious. I was awash in sound. --Chris Strouth
10. Basement Jaxx, First Avenue, 10/08/01
Basement Jaxx's first appearance in Minneapolis was at the old Quest Club shortly after their seminal Remedy release in 1999, and although it was a stormer of a show, it was only a DJ set. A few years later in October of 2001, the two U.K. blokes came through the Twin Cities again, this time at First Avenue for a live performance of their sophomore release, Rooty, complete with tribal dancers, fire, and live instrumental elements. The show -- and that album -- marked a vulnerable yet fun year in dance music's history, both locally and abroad, as less than a year later the RAVE act would swoop in and suffocate the most creative part of the scene.  But at least for this memorable night, everyone was celebrating. -Jen Boyles
9. Pavement/ Wilco/ The Dirty Three, First Avenue, 05/26/95 
There are some headlining sets that are so good that no matter who the openers are, you can't remember much about their performances. That is clearly the case with Pavement's riveting Mainroom show in 1995. Wilco were there in support of their just-released debut, A.M., along with frequent Nick Cave collaborators the Dirty Three, while Pavement were touring behind their brilliant new record Wowee Zowee. As with all of Pavement's live performances, this was a splendidly shambolic show that drew generously from all three of their stellar LPs. The band were still getting along relatively well at this point, which gave their underdog anthems an irresistible slacker spirit that the college-aged crowd clearly identified with. "Rattled By The Rush," indeed. -Erik Thompson

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