New downtown Minneapolis venue The Brick has had no shortage of problems since its opening last month. For those unfamiliar, a quick primer: The venue hosted its first public show in mid-March with headliners Jane’s Addiction, and fans had such a resoundingly negative experience due to poor sightlines and crowding that the privately owned mega-corporation that owns the venue, AEG, offered concertgoers full refunds. Since that time, the venue has successfully hosted a few shows with smaller crowds but has opted to move its sold-out shows, such as the upcoming gig with fun., to more suitable venues as they attempt to fix their most glaring structural and operational problems.
Last night, The Brick revealed that they will continue to relocate their sold-out shows while keeping the smaller-capacity gigs on the books; their shows with Incubus, Shinedown, and Marilyn Manson are all being moved to Myth in Maplewood, while the Shins show on June 1 will be relocated to the Orpheum.
“We knew we were going to have some education on opening night, and there were several areas that needed immediate attention,” general manager Jeff Kehr commented in a statement issued by the club. “We have been working non-stop since that first show to create a revised design that will adequately address all of the concerns.”
The Brick also provided a list of planned renovations in their press release, including:
- The reduction of sellable tickets per show to ensure a comfortable atmosphere;
- The raising of the stage height to increase sight lines;
- The addition of stadium-style tiers in the balcony to increase sight lines;
- The addition of over 25 flat screen monitors throughout the venue along with a high-definition camera for sharper screen viewing of the show;
- The addition of delay speakers under the balcony overhang for optimum sound quality;
- The addition and use of more building doors for entrance and exit to shorten lines;
- The reconfiguration of the main entrance to create better flow into the venue;
- The addition of local craft brews to the bar menu.
Given the specific nature of some of these alterations — especially the last item about local craft beers — it does seem that the venue is taking the feedback it received from fans to heart. But whether the space will ever be an enjoyable place to see a sold-out show remains to be seen. One thing is for certain: The Brick’s initial plan to be the “next step” for bands after they have played First Avenue no longer seems plausible, given their now smaller-than-anticipated capacity and the fact that they don’t appear to have the space to comfortably accommodate even a 1,500-person crowd.