A random group of 40 hard-touring musicians from around the country confirmed what many Minnesota music lovers already suspected: First Avenue is the best rock club in the country. The Minneapolis landmark, now in its 41st year, topped Metromix.com's list of "America's Top 25 Live Music Venues," ranked by musicians themselves. It beat out such other legendary performance spaces as the Troubadour in Los Angeles, the Fillmore in San Francisco and Denver's Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Among the artists who voted for First Ave were members of Blitzen Trapper, the Bottle Rockets, Souls of Mischief and -- no surprise -- Minneapolis' own Doomtree and Mason Jennings. Another person it was an obvious choice for was alt-country heroine Lucinda Williams, who married her Minnesota-bred husband on stage at the club in 2009. Said Williams, "It's the best combination of funkiness, intimacy and stand up rock club."
Jennings, who plays First Ave again Nov. 25 and Dec. 30, also gave a pretty cool description of his hometown haunt in the poll: "For pure rock energy, nothing comes close to First Ave. It feels like the floor lifts up when the bands start." And Jennings wasn't even around for the club's druggy years.