First Avenue

'MGMT' @ First Avenue

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How does a band, originally slated to play the 5000 person Roy Wilkins, handle the move to the much smaller 1500 person First Avenue Mainroom? Quite gracefully actually, if not ignoring it altogether. Entering to a rock radio station like pre-recorded announcement, the band quietly took the stage to a roaring sold out crowd Monday night at First Avenue. They started off their jammin' 80 minute set with "Weekend Wars" off their first full length album with the six members taking up all the available room on the Mainroom's stage, playing in front of a full screen showing what I can only describe as a modern version of a...

'Toro Y Moi' (w/ 'Classixx') @ First Avenue

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Toro Y Moi were back in Minneapolis Saturday night, for the sixth time in the last three years. Over that time, I caught him, Chaz Bundick, aka Toro Y Moi at the sold out Triple Rock show, and then later at the sold out Fine Line show. The latter was more "dancey" and upbeat than the former, so I could only imagine graduating to the Mainroom at First Ave for this show, it would be an all out dance party. Starting off the evening was the LA based duo of Classixx. The two DJs, each wearing a satin baseball jacket, ripped through a surprisingly brief thirty minute set. They alternated between simply spinning tunes, to live...

'Doomtree' are back for Doomtree Blowout XI @ First Avenue

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Friday December 13th, Saturday December 14th, and Sunday December 15th, Doomtree will return to First Avenue for their annual Doomtree Blowout.  This year marks the 9th year of the Minnesota rap collective's get together and tickets officially go on sale to the public, Friday at 12:00pm CST. However, if you're a subscriber to ...

'Okkervil River' Arrives to First Avenue

Okkervil River - 2013

I first met Okkervil River lead singer Will Sheff outside a small theater in Eugene, Oregon. It was a typical rainy day west of the Cascades in Oregon. Okkervil River played for a crowd of about 30 people that night. After the show, half of the crowd stuck around and had drinks and conversation with all the members of the band. That was in 2007 and much has changed for Sheff and his band since that time. Now playing to packed crowds who can sing nearly all the lyrics the band plays, Okkervil River will roll into Minneapolis November 1 for a show at First...

'Washed Out' @ First Avenue

photo (2) Washed Out made his first appearance in Minneapolis this past Thursday telling us he's not sure what took so long. He kicked off the hour long set with "Entrance" off his newest album "Paracosm". While Washed Out, real name Ernest Greene, himself played acoustic guitar, keyboard, and a drum machine, his band had all the same instruments, which included a drummer, a bass player, and keyboardist, and a guitarist. Although it seemed like everyone had a mixer or keyboard for themselves, it ended up blending very well together with each musician adding a subtle layer to each song. The stage was decorated with strings of flower lights and each musicians' stand was adorned with...

'CHVRCHES' @ First Avenue

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Here I thought it was strange, a band with one album, was able to play 2 sold out nights in a row at First Ave [alt-J].  Along comes Chvrches, who play a sold out night with only a couple EPs (their official full length 'The Bones of What You Believe' is due in a couple weeks).  However, as soon as the show started, it was easy to see why the trio from Scotland were able to pack the First Ave mainroom on a Monday night.  In fact, Lauren Mayberry (lead singer) mentioned that this was their largest headlining gig yet.  Also to note, this was actually their second time in Minneapolis, previously playing a sold out Fine Line gig. The show kicked off with 'We...

'alt-J' @ First Avenue

2013-09-07 23.11.53 On one hand, it seems unusual that a band with only 1 album to their name is playing 2 sold out shows at First Avenue.  However, when you take into consideration that alt-J has already been here twice, selling out the Triple Rock, and selling out the Varsity Theater, it's doesn't seem that unreasonable.  Even more insane were the number of people still searching for tickets to either of these sold out shows. Around 10 o'clock Saturday night it appeared as though everyone was present and packed into First Ave, absorbing any decent viewing spot in the joint.  The mostly 20 and 30 something crowd was pumped and ready to sing along to their favorite ...

'Flume' w/ 'Gigamesh' @ First Avenue

2013-09-03 23.27.52 "It's a Tuesday, what the fuck are you guys doing?!" asked Harley Streten, better known as Flume. That simple question perfectly summed up the unusually large and lively crowd this past Tuesday night at First Avenue. My evening started out with Minneapolis's own, Gigamesh. His 50 minute set started out slow. Early on his visuals seemed to be more entertaining than the music. Scenes from 1975's 'Death Race 2000' featuring a young Sylvester Stallone and David Carradine racing around the desert in some pretty tricked out cars, eventually segued into cats.  Just cats on a neon background.  Just cats chasing something.  It was pretty funny actually.  Then around the halfway point he...

'Yeah Yeah Yeahs' @ First Avenue

2013-06-25 14.42.44 Easily one of the best, most entertaining shows I've seen this year. Karen O puts on such an amazing display, it's almost not human. Monday night, First Ave was absolutely packed. Sold out of course, but also packed. Like, couldn't get near the stage, packed. Like, couldn't find a decent spot to see, packed. During their almost 90 minutes, including one encore, they filled a third of their set with material of their new album, 'Mosquito' and the rest covered their previous 5 albums.
The audience was obviously enjoying themselves the entire time, but when 30 minutes in they played 'Heads Will Roll', things got taken up a notch. Everyone went ape shit.
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'Questlove' and 'DAngelo': Brothers In Arms - A Two Man Show @ First Avenue

2013-06-25 14.42.09 Remember back in 2000 there was that video of that guy in cornrows that was just him singing naked. Well, 13 years later he doesn't have nearly the same body but he absolutely has the same voice. D'Angelo, along with ?uestlove, are doing a few gigs called Brothers In Arms. As ?uestlove put it, it was a way for the 2 of them to play together and do what they do in the studio and allow the audience to be the fourth wall.
For nearly two hours the two seemed to just jam together. D'Angelo mostly sat behind a couple of keyboards, while ?uestlove...