Two Sunday nights ago wasn't your ordinary Easter feast rap up. While many Twin Citians were glued to the tube watching the holiday episodes of Fox's the "Simpson's" and "Family Guy," or the NCAA Woman's Basketball finals, or playing catch outdoors before the Yankee's vs Red Sox game, I decided to take a different route. A fellow SotaRico staff member and I attended the grand opening of First Avenue and 7th Street Entry's "Record Room."
The festivity was hosted by First Avenues' booking agent Sonia Grover, who presented a speech commemorating a brand new "retro styled, comic-strip collage" mural by artist Greg Gossel, who was inspired by the historical venue celebrating its 40th anniversary. Grover also gave special recognition to the room's history and how its carries another branch of representation to the venues popular status. She proclaimed the room as a space showcasing the richness and strong movement of local and international DJs who have drawn an impact towards the Twin Cities music and night scene.
(Photo courtesy of First Avenue and 7th Street Entry)
In honor of the renaming of the VIP room, I caught up with Twin Cities based DJ Verb X. Verb X is most known for spinning and hosting every Thursday's "The Bungalow," one of the venues' most popular nights. The expansion of what's now the Record Room has so much history! Out of all people, I felt it was appropriate to acknowledge what DJ Verb X thought about the room's transition, development, accomplishments and memories.
When did you begin spinning @ the former VIP room?
It was in late 1998, during its "Erotic City" night. At the time PopTop was the DJ and we came across networking through music. He really was the one who gave me my opportunity to spin.
At the time, a former booker at First Avenue was highly impressed and I got the chance to kick off the "Bungalow" in March of 1999. I came up with the marketing, the name, establishing a crew to help promote through the One Love Movement. In the beginning it was strictly all reggae and slowly I incorporated playing hip-hop, which was mostly played during a promoted night in the room called the "Barbershop."
If those VIP walls could speak and tell us about its' expansion what would they say?
They'd definitely cross the point of how much smaller the room used to be! (Chuckles as he remembers) It was so small when we first started. It was a record closet for all the DJs who spun at First Ave, which is why the name "Record Room," is so fitting. Our crowd started with 75 people, representing friends, staff, supporters, artists and has now grown to establishing a fan base of weekly club-goers. The room has grown to the best... if not the best, than most def one of Minneapolis' most chilled places to be at on a Thursday night.
As both, a fan and an artist who has performed at First Avenue, I've found Thursday nights at the famous club to be a highlight of our community's music scene. With the Salsa night in the main room and then the "Bungalow" upstairs, what inspired you to help make this historical venue's room so diverse and entertaining?
I really wanted to help create and bring a great atmosphere for club-goers to have fun and chill. I was really inspired by the New York City rooftop club parties that spun reggae and brought movement and rhythm to the place. It's great to have the Salsa night in the main room, because if definitely feeds towards upstairs. The fact that the music we play is so diverse with reggae, hip-hop, dancehall and reggaeton it adds towards seeing the variety of people who come every week..and love it! I especially enjoy the ranges from different generations and cultures. From the "turning 21 year-old birthday" crowd, to the local artist scene and regular supporters who have been attending the VIP room for years; the "Record Room" to me now represents that movement of people!
How do you feel about the new "Record Room" name?
The "Record Room" represents the venue's name better than the VIP room, because many of our people who hang out there never felt it to be a VIP lounge. It still is and has always been a home for DJs. Purely a room that adds flavor and a place to chill after main room events. You hear a great act in the main room and then have an opportunity to continue the night listening to the cities best DJs play fitting music. It was time for the VIP to grow and establish its own identity, where weekly acts and guest can help establish their unique brand.
I do hope that we can showcase more artwork and details towards the history of the DJs, events and acts who have made the room successful up to this day.
What was one of your most favorite memories in the VIP room?
Wow! I've had many, but one that grips me was when Muja Messiah had his "MPLS Massacre Mixtape" release show in March of 2008, at the 7th St Entry Room. As soon as his show finished, the whole VIP room became even more packed and he performed his version of "Paper Planes." It was cool.. The crowd went crazy! It was a great night and showcased what the room is meant to be about...it showcased our cities' love for diversity and local music. Moments like this one is what keeps us connected with our local artists who support the venue, just as much as we support them.
Thank you Verb X, Sonia Grover, and all of the staff at First Avenue and 7th Street Entry. The Twin Cities look forward to seeing the future of the "Record Room" grow.
You can find Verb X spinning every Thursday night presenting "The Bungalow," at First Avenue and 7th Street Entry's "Record Room."
Also tune into his podcast @:
For more information about First Avenue and 7th Street Entry, please visit the official website @: