Reasons to Love Minnesota No. 126: First Avenue and 7th St Entry

If it worked for Prince....

While most people know First Avenue for its supporting role in Purple Rain, our favorite part of Minneapolis’ most iconic club isn’t the 1,500-capacity room Prince rocked alongside the Revolution in 1984. We actually prefer its conjoined twin around the corner: 7th St Entry, a local institution known for launching the careers of The Replacements, Soul Asylum, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and more.⁣

The Entry also books national acts on a regular basis, providing them a more intimate platform than the main room, which can feel like a Surly-fueled sweatbox during sold-out shows. With just enough space for 250 people and clear sight lines throughout, it’s hard to think of a better spot to see underground artists like JPEGMAFIA — the stage-diving, mic-slaying MC shown above. The rising Baltimore rapper kept an eager crowd duly entertained recently, capping a week that also featured the synth-laced post-punk of The KVB.⁣⁣

Other Entry bills we were psyched to see over the past year include the idiosyncratic avant-pop anthems of Matthew Dear, the raucous indie rock of Black Midi, and the moonlit melodies of Minneapolis’ own Velvet Negroni. Having just wrapped a handful of dates with ‪Tame Impala‬, the singer/producer is bound for a breakout. Which is exactly why the Entry is such an essential part of the Twin Cities’ music scene: Because it’s a place where you see tomorrow’s stars today. ⁣⁣

The same goes for First Avenue itself, of course; for nearly 50 years, it’s been an early supporter of such major artists as ‪Metallica‬, U2, ‪Depeche Mode‬, ‪The Ramones‬, Wu-Tang Clan, and, well, just peep the star mural outside that serves as a reminder of revelatory performances from nearly every noteworthy musician imaginable. For a more in-depth look at First Avenue’s storied history, check out the Minnesota Historical Society exhibit that’s on display now through May 2020, as well as special events like a ‪November 5, 2019‬ panel featuring the venue’s longtime photographer (Daniel Corrigan) and soundman (Randy Hawkins) alongside current promoter Ashley Ryan and booker ‪James Taylor‬.

First Avenue & 7th St Entry
701 N. 1st Ave., Minneapolis, MN; 612-338-8388 (First Avenue), 612-332-1775 (7th St Entry).