***UPDATE: Station 4 co-owner Steve Ledin filled us in a little more on the situation for the story that appeared in Tuesday's newspaper. Click here to read that version.
With an undercurrent of anger befitting any club that books so many metal bands, Station 4 in downtown St. Paul abruptly closed over the weekend and will remain shuttered all summer, reportedly so a new ventilation system can be installed.
The owners of the building -- which includes warehouse spaces above the club -- have been in negotiations with the city to upgrade its ventilation for more than a year. The city apparently gave them two extensions to get the work done, but they were finally cut off as of Friday. Word of the closure did not come until hours before a “last-minute metal party” was thrown Thursday night featuring Deretla Thrash, Plagued Insanity, What's Left of Legends and other bands that could have trouble finding gigs elsewhere until if and when the mainstay metal and punk venue reopens.
Ticket refunds are being given for the club’s national touring shows. Tonight’s show with Lions Lions and tomorrow night's Intronaut gig have both been moved to the Garage in Burnsville (an all-ages, alcohol-less venue). No word on other upcoming tour gigs, which were also to include the Summer Slaughter Tour with Dillinger Escape Plan and Norma Jean, plus Green Jelly, the Mixtapes and Amaranthe.
We have so far been unable to reach co-owner Steve Ledin, who has steadfastly helmed the club with his wife, Dawn, through thick and thin for the past decade. Crowds at the club certainly thinned out over the past couple years as construction of the light-rail line to the nearby Union Depot forced many street closures. A posting on Station 4’s Facebook page written by the club’s social-media guy explained the situation and apologized:
“I have been dreading writing this as we were hoping to get an extension from the city so that the shows already scheduled this summer could happen. The good news is that when we re-open in September, we will have a new HVAC system. In other words, no more ungodly heat! It just sucks that we have to shut down to get it.
That’s all I can tell you for now. For anyone who has any shows scheduled, we are sorry. This is now out of our control. We will work to try to reschedule for the fall. As far as National shows, refunds are available at point of purchase.
I will keep things updated on this page when I know what’s going on. I am just a guy who runs the Facebook page. I do not have much power. Thank you to all of our patrons. While this is a really crappy way to do it, we all know a remodel is needed.”
Fans and musicians from the club were obviously not happy thrashers upon hearing the news. Station’s 4 space has been a haven for metal bands going back to the ‘80s with its previous incarnations as Ryan’s and the Lab. Some people fear the upgraded ventilation system will ultimately out-price Station 4 from the space, as could the incoming light-rail line. One of the Facebook comments read, “I've had a nagging fear that one LRT in St. Paul gets finished Station 4 would be kaput.”
Another commenter, however, saw it as a positive: “While this sucks in the immediate future, the ultimate outcome is good. I am very reluctant to go to the venue because it gets so [expletive] hot in there regardless of the season.”