It’s been a short but tough run for downtown Minneapolis’s The Brick, the AEG-owned venue that opened to poor reviews from both journalists and fans last March.
The venue was initially slated to hold up to 2,000 people and had hoped to be a “next step” above the 1,500-person capacity of First Avene’s Mainroom. But when the Brick opened its doors for their inaugural sold-out show with Jane’s Addition on March 20, attendees quickly learned that there was no way 2,000 people could fit comfortably into the two-level space, much less see the stage. Immediately, the Brick’s Facebook and Twitter feeds were clogged with customer complaints.
“We really learned the power of social media that night,” general manager Jeff Kehr said. Within 24 hours of the Jane’s Addiction show, Kehr and AEG decided to apologize for the misstep by refunding the cost of tickets and fees to all attendees.
In the months since that opening night, the venue has been in the progress of remodeling the space to better accommodate crowd flow and increase sightlines — and to signify that the renovations are complete, the club held a media party last night announcing that their name would henceforth be known as Mill City Nights.
“We’re ready to close the chapter that was the Brick and move forward as Mill City Nights,” Kehr said last night.
The biggest changes to the space include raising the stage to be a foot higher, building an elaborate series of risers on the club’s balcony that will help with sightlines, and, perhaps most significantly, lowering the capacity to a much more reasonable number of 1,200 people. Part of the restructuring of the upper level includes a new reserved section for ADA patrons, who will be personally escorted into the building by security and shown to a spot overlooking the stage. And part of the lower-level renovation includes a new second staircase leading from the entryway.
AEG has also hired another full-time talented buyer, James Decoursey, to join booker Brad Saks and help pull in a more eclectic lineup of acts. Decoursey is known locally for his work at the Clear Channel-owned promotion company Mr. Chan Presents, which closed down in 2011, and most recently wrapped up a short stint booking at the Cabooze.
In a press release sent out at the time of the media party last night, Mill City Nights announced a few more updates: Their basement bar, which was previously called simply the Basement @ The Brick, will now be called the Nether Bar; and the venue will be partnering with cable network AXS TV to broadcast some of its shows and capture behind-the-scenes moments on their program AXSLive, beginning with the Seether show October 16.
Mill City Night’s first sold-out show at their new capacity level will be this Friday, July 27, with schlocky glam-rockers Steel Panther.