Like a medieval peasant who, barehanded, kicks the shit out of knight after mounted knight, First Avenue stays on top of its racket with intuition and finesse. Sure, the best sightlines in town help, along with the 71-year-old structure's incomparable acoustics...which maybe, as management claims, really are related to the ceiling scuzz that sometimes falls on our heads. But the 38-year-old nightclub's continued knack for fending off the slings and arrows of corporate fortunes stems mostly from the efforts of a few people—owner Byron Frank, talent buyer Nate Kranz, production manager Conrad Sverkerson, and crew—as well as the unseen force that drives the club. Call it the spirit of rock 'n' roll if you like, or R&B, or hip hop. In any case, something dwells on the site of the former bus depot, slaughterhouse, and school, something we can't see. Haunted? Don't be silly. First Avenue is alive. No wonder nobody can touch the place.