Craig Finn, front, with Patterson Hood during one of his band the Hold Steady's most memorable First Ave moments, a two-night stand with the Drive-by Truckers in 2008. / Star Tribune file

Craig Finn, front, with Patterson Hood during one of the Hold Steady's most memorable First Ave moments, a two-night stand with the Drive-by Truckers in 2008. / Star Tribune file

 

They couldn’t get Joe Cocker to come back and grace the place like he did on opening night in 1970, so First Avenue is relying on a bunch of longtime favorites to officially kick off its 50th anniversary year in early April.

The Hold Steady will return to the main room on the club’s actual 50th birthday, April 3 (a Friday night), sandwiched between a long weekend’s worth of big shows also featuring Neko Case, Golden Smog, Tina & the B-Sides, Har Mar Superstar’s Heart Bones and current local buzz makers Night Moves, Chastity Brown, Lady Lark, Gully Boys and the Bad Man. Craig Finn & Co. will also play a pair of Hold Steady shows in 7th St. Entry on April 4 to add to the shenanigans.

Those April 2-5 concerts were revealed Monday morning along with a new 50th anniversary logo by local marketing firm MONO (posted below). More special events are planned throughout the year at Minneapolis' most legendary music venue, which survived a bankruptcy closing in 2004 to become the flagship in what's now a small fleet of local venues.

Neko Case's April 5 gig will be her first time in the First Ave main room in six years. As for Golden Smog, the April 4 concert will mark the locally rooted all-star band’s first real show in nine years, not counting a 2011 appearance at an Obama politcal rally and a ridiculously fun private birthday bash for Dan Murphy (ex-Soul Asylum) last summer. Like that latter gig, one-time Smog member Jeff Tweedy won’t be in the mix -- Wilco is touring out west that week -- leaving it to the band’s Twin Cities core with Murphy, Kraig Johnson (Run Westy Run) and Marc Perlman and Gary Louris (the Jayhawks), most of whom will be also back at First Ave this weekend for Saturday’s tribute to Ed Ackerson.

Here’s a full rundown of the April 2-4 offerings. Tickets to all the shows go on sale this Friday (Feb. 14) at varying intervals 9-11 a.m. via First-Avenue.com and First Ave ticket outlets, with pre-sale options starting Thursday morning.

APRIL 2, MAIN ROOM: Heart Bones, Gramma’s Boyfriend and Atari Ferrari. ($25)

APRIL 3, MAIN ROOM: The Hold Steady, the Bad Man and Gully Boys. ($50)

APRIL 3, 7TH ST. ENTRY: Night Moves, Lady Lark and Dwynell Roland. ($15)

APRIL 4, MAIN ROOM: Golden Smog, Tina & the B-Sides and Kiss the Tiger. ($50)

APRIL 4, 7TH ST. ENTRY: The Hold Steady, two shows, 5 p.m. all-ages and 9:30 p.m. 21 & up. ($50)

APRIL 5, MAIN ROOM: Neko Case with Chastity Brown. ($35)

First Ave's new 50th anniversary logo for 2020.

First Ave's new 50th anniversary logo for 2020.

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