Minneapolis’ First Avenue & 7th Street Entry

firstavemichael birawerIn Prince’s movie “Purple Rain”, all of the action on stage takes place at a downtown Minneapolis club named “First Avenue & 7th Street Entry”.   It’s an actual dance club that has become one of the Twin Cities most iconic tourist attractions.   The club’s website proclaims, “San Francisco has the Fillmore and New York has the Bowery, and Minneapolis has us.”    For over five decades, First Avenue has been THE ultimate local hang-out for local bands like Soul Asylum, The Replacements, Husker Du, and of course, Prince who’d often play unannounced surprise concerts using some mysterious name like Harley Davidson as a decoy.    As the club gained notoriety, major VIP artists like U2, Eminem, Tina Turner, Nirvana, Metallica, and George Clinton would jump onstage and warm up their new material at the small intimate setting.  What made the club so unique was the diversity of talent showcased each week.  If you’re a punk act, a funk band, an avant-garde artist, First Avenue always opened their doors to up and coming bands. The outside of the building is famously decorated with stars honoring all of the major artists who’ve played a gig at First Avenue.

If you’re interested in buying the art work featured on the site today, it’s by Michael Birawer and available for purchase at



“BLACK GOLD” Soul Asylum at First Avenue

PrintDespite rumors that First Avenue is haunted, the club is still going strong today.    The danceteria has had a facelift or two over the years, but it’s still the longest running entertainment music venue in the Twin Cities.    It’s an intricate piece of Minneapolis’ culture history and one of the bands who got their start at the club recently help change the political landscape in Minnesota.   The New Wave/punk band, The Suburbs, were mainstays at the club in the early to mid-80’s.  Who knows if the band would ever have been signed to a major label without the exposure from their First Avenue shows. Their 80’s ska-influenced anthem “Love Is The Law” was recently adopted by the same-sex marriage alliance to promote the passage of a new law in the state.   When Minnesota become the second Midwest state to pass same-sex marriage (Iowa was first), the band reunited and performed the song at the state capital.
“LOVE IS THE LAW” The Suburbs