They were the first act played on 89.3 the Current. They were the first local act to put on their own big outdoor festival in recent years. And now, Minneapolis hip-hop vets Atmosphere will be the first act to perform a public concert at St. Paul’s newly renovated Palace Theatre.
The Rhymesayers co-founders will kick things off in the historic, 2,800-capacity theater on Friday, March 10, with “special guests” not announced. Tickets go on sale Thursday at 11 a.m. via eTix.com and First Avenue outlets for $25.
And the local bands will keep playing through the Palace's opening weekend: The Jayhawks and the Cactus Blossoms are teaming up for a twangy twofer the night after Atmosphere, March 11. Those tickets go on sale Friday at noon for $30. Palace/First Ave reps also announced an out-of-town headliner, Phantogram, to top off opening weekend on March 13.
Atmosphere exemplifies the kind of acts earmarked for the Palace by First Ave staff, which is running the Palace for the city of St. Paul: They’re able to perform multiple nights at the legendary nightclub but are not a good fit for the other theaters in town, which have permanent seats. The Palace’s ground floor is entirely a general-admission standing area, while the balcony holds about 800 seats. Also, Atmosphere knows better than to book a show at Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
First Avenue general manager Nate Kranz said in a press release for the concert, “It’s with a lot of excitement that we’re announcing the grand opening concert at the Palace Theatre with Atmosphere. We have such a history with Atmosphere and the Rhymesayers family, it felt like the best way to kick-off a very exciting year in downtown St. Paul.”
Two other concerts have been confirmed so far for the Palace: Regina Spektor on March 26 and the xx on April 28 (the latter is already sold out). More shows will be announced in the coming weeks.
Aside from its instantly sold-out First Ave gigs once or twice a year, Atmosphere has not performed indoor gigs in the Twin Cities in recent years. The group saves its local mojo for its ever-popular Soundset festival, which is scheduled again May 28 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
Here's Atmosphere's latest video, a track off last year's playful album "Fishing Blues."