Most of the local music buzz over the weekend wasn’t over a new band, but a new venue. The two-story, warehouse-spacious supper club Icehouse opened its doors last week on the southern end of Eat Street, at 2540 Nicollet Av., adding to the area’s great array of dining and watering holes but pretty much instigating a live music scene from scratch in that corner of south Minneapolis.
Icehouse’s chef and co-owner Matthew Bickford previously made a name for himself at the Be’Wiched Deli in downtown Minneapolis. Former Turf Club manager Dave Wiegardt is also part of the Icehouse staff. They’re now open for lunch and serving regular dinner service, and then they’re hosting a wide array of late-night music events.
Adam Levy pulled double-duty Thursday night, the official opening day, when he played a laid-back dinnertime set with his electro-improv jazz-rock band Liminal Phase before putting the sound system and dancefloor to the full test with Hookers & Blow. By all accounts, it passed the test. The funk-blasting horns and singer Katie Gearty’s roof-raising vocals boomed warmly through the venue without bouncing around the old brick walls and soft, dark wood floors. A half-wall nicely separated the bar area from the dance floor, with booths and tables making cozy little viewing areas around the perimiter. Watching from the balcony, I thought the best way of describing the Icehouse is as a grungier, hipper version of the Dakota, but the old warehouse space – it really was used to store ice in the pre-GE days – definitely has a character all its own. The bar’s quirky menu of cocktails was also interesting enough to keep me away from the nice tap-beer selection.
The music offerings hit high gear this week: The Dave King Trucking Company will perform two sets tonight (9:30 and 11:30 p.m., $5), part of a Monday jazz series that J.T. Bates is booking modeled after his and Weigardt’s old Clown Lounge days with Fat Kid Wednesdays. Tuesdays will feature the Lady Heat Hot Soul Party, with Pink Mink’s Christy Hunt DJ-ing alongside her buds Danielle Morris and Sara Jean Hanson (10:30 p.m., $2). Click here for the rest of the month’s music lineup. Look for a bigger profile of Icehouse by Tom Horgen in Friday’s Variety section or in Vita.mn, but in the meantime: Welcome to the scene, Icehouse.