BEST CONCERT VENUE Minneapolis 2002 - First Avenue
Even concertgoers have to make sacrifices. Every week, for instance, tinnitus-afflicted folks wait in a long line just to schlep through ye olde slime-coated, live-crud-harvesting vomitorium--otherwise known by its common name: the 7th St. Entry bathroom. Now that's devotion. What else can you call it when music fanatics are willing to hold both their bladders and their breath in the name of seeing some fantastic shows? Well, you can probably call it supremely unhealthy, but at least this behavior is for a good cause and a great couple of venues. The Entry is, after all, the place where Chilly Gonzales blew up a giant inflatable penis with air generated by his organ (the musical kind, rest assured). And the Mainroom is the site where good-natured Dismemberment Plan singer Travis Morrison broke into a spontaneous rendition of "All Out of Love" after City Pages accused him of sounding like the guy from Air Supply. It's also the setting where the crowd at a De La Soul show grew so spirited and competitive with their cheering that one side of the room almost came to blows with the other side. We frequented the Entry and the Mainroom this year because they're rife with good memories and even better anecdotes--not to mention the same familiar faces. (You know who you are: the tall dude with the bleach-blond hair; the emo kid with the black string around his neck; Sean Tillman.) And, most important, we go because we place our faith in these places for booking solid acts: Highlights of the past 12 months include the Walkmen, Antipop Consortium, Chicks on Speed, the Catheters, XBXRX, the Moldy Peaches, the Strokes, and Unwound. As long as Nelly Furtado keeps her distance, we'll be sure to stick around.