The Brick, a new AEG Live music venue in Minneapolis, MN opened its doors on Monday, March 19th, 2012 with the legendary alt-rockers, Jane’s Addiction taking the stage. With a name like “The Brick”, one could assume a solid foundation, but it was obvious from the get-go, that this venue is standing on very shaky ground. The corporate backed venue is bringing in big names, but with exorbitant convenience fees on their tickets ($14.01 per ticket for Marilyn Manson, standard mail $5.54 and will call $6.65), many fans are going to shy away. Those who splurge and go to the shows will quickly realize once inside, this venue is far from ideal.
Jane’s Addiction has long been a favorite band of mine, so the anticipation for this performance was very very high. It is unfortunate however that the distractions of the club interfered with the show greatly. After the Belgium duo Black Box Revelation opened the night with an energetic and fantastic set, the lights went down. Jane’s Addiction hit the stage after Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” was played through in its entirety. The capacity crowd screamed for the band to start.
Jane’s opened with “Underground” from their 2011 release The Great Escape Artist. A male and female dancer worked on a column on the right side of the stage while a digital screen underneath played odd video clips. Behind the stage were two giant and nude mannequin statues. The bass-driven “Ocean Size” from their 1988 album, Nothing’s Shocking was second. By this time I felt somewhat ripped off watching the band who is used to playing the most beautiful venues around, sharing a small and low stage with cold and unwelcoming block wall running adjacent stage right and a massive air duct above. But Jane’s Addiction, being the epitome of rock professionals, did their best to make sure the crowd got their monies worth.
Sight lines in this venue are a major concern. Unless you were up front on the floor, or got there early enough to find a rail on the balcony level, you were going to have a very hard time seeing. Above stage left, a large curtain blocked the view from the front of the balcony. When fans tried to move the curtain to open up a view, the over-staffed security was on them with flashlights. At this point, Perry Farrell voiced his displeasure with AEG and the security, threatening to leave the stage and incite a riot if they didn’t chill out and let the fans enjoy the show. The curtain came down opening up a side view to small group, but still many complained on the balcony about not being able to see.
Jane’s Addiction ended the night with a mellow “Jane Says”, in which guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist, Chris Chaney, both sat in chairs. This was a nice contrast to the rocking performance that saw singer Perry Farrell in the crowd several times. Seeing Jane’s Addiction is always great. But I can’t help but think how much better this show would have been five blocks away at First Avenue. After all, The Brick is similar in capacity size, so I imagine they will often be fighting for the same bands. The Brick is no First Avenue by a long shot. They are not even in the same league. With a long term lease and corporate backing, time will tell how long The Brick stays upright. But if the inaugural show and their ticket fees are any indication, I can see the place crumbling soon.
Photos taken for Twin Cities Daily Planet
Jane’s Addiction – The Brick – Minneapolis, MN 03.19.12 Setlist:
Ain’t No Right
Ted, Just Admit It
Been Caught Stealing
Words Right Out of My Mouth
The Brick – The Good
* Jane’s Addiction played the first show!!!!!!! They are awesome!!!!!!
* Sound wasn’t bad, albeit slightly muddy from the balcony at times
The Brick – The Bad
* Ticket fees are outrageous
* Sight lines – really bad unless you get there very early. People on the balcony were angry over this, to the point of nearly start fights by trying to take other people’s rail spots.
* Overstaffed corporate security – some were nice, some were very rude
* Bathrooms – small and not made for crowds, plus in basement bar or balcony
* The Entrance – Very small Will Call window area. If you show up early you are forced into small basement bar. A long line formed in there to get into the venue, with people needing to cut through to get to the actual bar or anywhere for that matter = awkward.
* Poor beer selection unless you love Budweiser and Mich Golden, with no taps at all. 16 oz bottle of water is $3. Small Jameson’s was $8.
* Entering venue – once in line in the basement bar, we were shuttled up in groups of 20. You have to climb two small flights of stairs to get to main level, and obviously another to the balcony.
* Merchandise – in basement tucked around the side in corner – only allows for a few people to look and not big area to display
* The huge block wall and air duct – super unwelcoming giving the already narrow space a closed in feel
* Leaving the venue – get in line and wait as there are 2000 people trying to get out of a couple double doors. The balcony only has one stairway down.
Photographing at The Brick
* The “Photo Pit” is on the balcony on the right side. A small area was roped off and we were doubled up like sardines. Unfortunately the venue did not state the photo pit was on the balcony when passes were approved. This is critical information so that photographers bring correct gear!!!
* The rules stated after the first 3 songs, we would need to leave venue or check in our camera gear to stay. Thankfully no one asked us to check our gear, which I doubt any photographer would feel comfortable doing.
* You should have a 70-200 lens at minimum to get decent shots at this venue.