After a four-month run in downtown Minneapolis, the Brick is no longer the Brick. Not only has the AEG Live venue officially unveiled a series of renovations aimed at addressing opening-night complaints, but the nightclub has been re-branded with a purple skyline logo as Mill City Nights.
Back on March 19, things got off to a rocky start when a highly promoted Jane's Addiction show proved to be congested, confusing, and hard to watch for a crowd that was already annoyed for being kept out in the rain. The complaints were swift, noisy, and pointed, and general manager Jeff Kehr took them all very seriously. Seriously enough that refunds were offered, shows moved, and construction plans hatched.
"We started thinking about these renovations at 2 a.m. [after Jane's Addiction]," he says during an introduction to the new name and structural changes. And then they gradually began to make adjustments, large and small, to the layout and flow of the space -- including a three-week break in show activity in June. The new name is meant to signify a new identity that came with the renovations and to embrace local flavor, he explains.
Take one last, longing look at that brick-y Brick logo:
The biggest change: Not considering the space capable of holding anywhere close to the 2,000 people originally imagined. It's now set at "about 1,200, but we're still figuring that out," according to Kehr.
There are now additional front doors, a second stairway leads to the main floor, and new flat-screen monitors have been positioned around the club. The stage is a foot taller, the mixing board can now be moved, the balcony has been extended by seven feet, stadium-style risers have been added throughout the upper level, and trough-style urinals are aimed at easing lines to the men's bathroom.
Aside from the cosmetic changes, the club has hired James DeCoursey (Cabooze/Mr. Chan Presents) as a second talent buyer to team with current buyer Brad Saks. The venue has also partnered with AXS.tv (formerly HDNet) for broadcast of concert events taking place at the venue. The first show of this agreement is scheduled to be October 16's Seether show.
The venue's online presence has shifted away from the Brick too. In addition to the official site and the Facebook page, there's a recently launched (and obviously fake) Twitter account that has a slightly, ahem, rowdier tone than the rest of the sites.
The debut Mill City Nights show comes Friday when gonzo hair metal band Steel Panther plays to a sold-out crowd. And spastic art-rockers Deerhoof are set to play the room on September 23.
Kehr cites recent performances by teen country star Hunter Hayes and '90s alternative relics Collective Soul as examples of shows that were well-attended but didn't cause the hysteria of the Jane's Addiction show. "We want to make this right for the fans and the Twin Cities," he asserts. When asked what he wants for the venue now, Kehr's answer is simple: "For people to give us another shot."
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