Want to own a piece of one of the most storied stages in the Twin Cities? It’ll cost you $200 and probably an ignorance of who GG Allin was.
In its latest lemonade-out-of-lemons, revenue-squeezing scheme to stay afloat during the pandemic, First Avenue is now selling framed pieces of the old 7th St. Entry stage, which was torn out and replaced over the past few months while both its main room and the adjoining kid-sister club remain closed due to the pandemic.
About 380 pieces of the unimaginably worn old black platform have been cut into 7-inch square pieces, which the club is framing and selling on its website.
Buyers have the option of getting their slab of local music history with an all-white matte or a black matte featuring the names of dozens of the thousands of acts that performed on it over the years.
Among them: Prince, the Strokes, Fugazi, Billie Eilish, St. Vincent, the Shins, Death Grips, Tricky, Atmosphere, Macklemore, K. Flay, Black Uhuru, the Hold Steady and, of course, the local legends who broke it in, including Curtiss A, the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, Babes in Toyland, Cows and Run Westy Run. Oddly enough, notorious punk showman Allin is not listed.
The newly sliced-and-diced stage isn’t the original one from when the club first opened in March 1980 — back then, bands actually performed where the Entry’s bar is now — but it’s still mighty old, built in 1984.
Saturday, there will be an ultra-low-capacity edition of the club’s popular Halloween dance party in the First Ave main room.
General manager Nate Kranz likened it to a test flight for future small-audience excursions. Plans are gestating to host sporadic livestreamed concerts with an in-person crowd of less than 5% of the club’s 1,500-person capacity.
“We’ve spent countless hours creating our plan and then going over everything with a fine-toothed comb so we can do this in a way that is safe for the staff and the guests,” Kranz said.
In the meantime, First Ave also greatly expanded its merchandise options to create new revenue streams during the COVID-19 closure, including items related to this year’s spoiled-for-now 50th anniversary plans.
The club even recently threw out an offer to host small weddings on its hallowed stages — or at least the main-room stage still qualifying as such. That new Entry stage should become legendary soon enough once live music can finally return in full.