A renowned name among New York City rock clubs will soon be doing business at the biggest music venue in the Twin Cities suburbs.
Knitting Factory Entertainment — born out of a gritty, experimental venue in Lower Manhattan in the 1980s — has signed on as the in-house talent buyer and marketer at Myth in Maplewood, a deal that will breathe new life into the faded suburban mega-club. It also adds competition for local powerhouse First Avenue, which kicks off concerts at St. Paul’s newly renovated Palace Theatre this weekend.
Representatives for the Knitting Factory said they hope to line up about 50 concerts at Myth over their first year. They won’t change the club’s name, manage the staff or take on an ownership stake in the venue.
“We plan on bringing in a much more diverse calendar and making aesthetic changes to help that venue live up to its potential,” said Knitting Factory Presents President Mark Dinerstein, who didn’t miss the irony of his company’s urban New York roots being planted next to a suburban shopping mall in Middle America.
“There’s a lot of free parking out there,” he bragged of Myth, and added, “We’re going to offer concerts that people will be happy to go to no matter where the venue is.”
Former AEG Live talent buyer Brad Saks, who previously booked concerts at the defunct Mill City Nights and Skyway Theatre in Minneapolis, will be KFE’s local booker at Myth.
While Saks has been a competitor to First Ave in the past, he and Dinerstein said they foresee less rivalry with the legendary Minneapolis venue.
“Myth is a different animal,” Saks said, mentioning his past experience booking shows as an outside promoter at the Maplewood club. “Attendance has never really suffered because of where it’s located.”
In addition to its original namesake New York club — which tellingly relocated to Brooklyn in 2009 — Knitting Factory Entertainment has promoted shows in other venues around New York and Los Angeles for 20 years. In recent years, the company has moved into less competitive markets such as Reno, Nev., and Spokane, Wash.
A sampling of Knitting Factory concerts currently on calendars around the country includes Brian Wilson, Modest Mouse, Blondie with Garbage, Tech N9ne and the Eli Young Band.
Myth has enjoyed a modest resurgence in recent months with sold-out shows by the likes of Sting, Run the Jewels and Lukas Graham.
Since it opened with an initial investment of around $15 million in 2005, however, the club has survived one year-long closing and other lulls, some of which coincided with criminal fraud cases against original owner Mike Ogren and one of his partners, car dealer Denny Hecker. The club is now owned by private investors who bought it under the name M Light LLC.