There was no quick fix to the ceiling problems that forced First Avenue nightclub to evacuate fans and shut down last week, and the venue will now remain closed at least through the middle of next week.
First Avenue management had been holding out hope of reopening this weekend, but after a thorough inspection Tuesday, a decision was made Wednesday to replace the club’s entire main room ceiling instead of just fixing the 30-foot section that fell.
“We don’t want to cut any corners,” the club’s general manager Nate Kranz said. “We want to do it right and make sure we’re in the best shape we can be in.”
Kranz said several crews have been working around the clock in recent days to clean up and repair the damaged ceiling, including electricians and plumbers to deal with the various wires and pipes. But their hard effort wasn’t enough, given the plan to replace the whole shebang.
The extended closure forced another national touring concert to move to the State Theatre, and two more local events are being rescheduled.
Tuesday’s doubleheader with ’80s alt-rock bands the Psychedelic Furs and the Church will now take place at the State, where First Ave also moved its sold-out concert with R&B rocker Miguel last Saturday. As with Miguel, original tickets will be honored at the State, and seating will be general admission on a first-come, first-served basis.
Saturday’s “Transmission” dance party with DJ Jake Rudh has been postponed until Sept. 19. Friday’s hip-hop event with Bobby Raps and Sin Grinch performing along to the Japanese animé film “Wicked City”will instead be held at Zaki Art Gallery, 1101 Stinson Blvd. in northeast Minneapolis.
All events in the adjoining dance room, the Record Room, are canceled through next week. The other venues attached to the club, 7th Street Entry and the Depot Tavern, reopened last weekend.
The exact cause of the ceiling collapse — which included large pieces of plaster and soundproofing, plus damaged water sprinkler pipes — likely will never be determined, which added to the staff’s belief that replacing it all would be best.
There were no serious injuries during the collapse, which sent three fans to the hospital. Two were released quickly, and another went home two or three days later, according to Kranz.
“I’m so proud of our staff for the way they handled everything,” the club’s co-owner, Byron Frank, said last weekend before the relocated Miguel concert, which was successfully pulled off on two days’ notice.
The closure occurs during a quiet time for the First Ave main room, which typically hosts five or more shows per week during the busier fall and spring months.
“It’s been a difficult, complicated process, but we think there won’t be any more shows affected after this,” Kranz said.