You know it’s a historical night when every concert attendee is handed a commemorative poster on their way out the door—not to mention when their only option to exit said door is to sidestep the city’s mayor, who is there grinning ear to ear.
The newly raised ceilings and freed-up walkways came in handy last night as hundreds of local musicians, record store owners, bartenders, scene regulars, and die-hard music fans filled every corner of the newly reopened Turf Club, which somehow managed to feel airy despite being at capacity for most of the show. And the venue’s new owner, First Avenue, couldn’t have booked a more synchronous lineup to help launch its new era as the fitter, happier, more productive version of the beloved little University Avenue country-rock club.
With the “DANCE” portion of Turf Club’s iconic green sign lit up for the first time in years and a recently uncovered mural of a horse race on display at the back of the stage, roots and Americana artists Erik Koskinen, Frankie Lee, Dead Man Winter, and surprise guests the Cactus Blossoms kept the party hopping (and kept drummer JT Bates on stage for all four sets). Downstairs, brand-new PA speakers piped the music into the basement Clown Lounge to intermingle with the tunes streaming out of the old jukebox, and upstairs the crowd bounced around in front of the stage and took breaks to ogle the new-yet-so-familiar features of the club’s main room.
The Turf Club is open again tonight for Hammerhead’s EP-release show, tomorrow for Four Fists and Solid Gold, and Sunday night for Night Moves and Carroll. For more on the club’s recent renovations, check out our behind-the-scenes gallery here.