Who has played the 7th Street Entry? Nirvana, The Strokes, Billie Eilish, The Killers, Lizzo, Green Day, Jonas Brothers, and more
Flip Rushmore is a Minneapolis indie rock band that's been fortunate enough to headline the 7th Street Entry on multiple occasions. Our current goal is to ... play any show, anywhere, ever again. Please. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to make any suggestions for this post. And if you have any specific memories of these shows, please share! Check us out on Spotify here.
First Avenue is the cornerstone of Minneapolis-St. Paul's legendary music scene and one of the most celebrated rock clubs in the world. The Mainroom—where Prince shot Purple Rain—has hosted thousands of notable artists.
But the small room next door is perhaps even more beloved by local artists. The 7th Street Entry (capacity: 250) is where Minnesota musicians cut their teeth, and it provides a warm welcome to national artists making their first trips through the Upper Midwest.
Nirvana played on that stage while they were writing Nevermind. The Strokes played back-to-back gigs three days before releasing Is This It. Local legends The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, and Soul Asylum helped define an era of indie rock from within its walls, while Prince (who was already on a major label by 1980) even made a couple guest appearances at The Entry.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of the most notable acts to play the 7th Street Entry stage (tell us who we're missing!), as well as a playlist with songs the artists played during their shows at The Entry.
(Note: There is no better record of First Avenue's history than Chris Riemenschneider's book First Avenue: Minnesota's Mainroom. You'll find it referenced a handful of times below.)
Numerous appearances — The iconic independent Minnesota hip-hop duo (and Rhymesayers label chieftains) actually recorded a song called "7th St. Entry" in 1997 that was belatedly released on their Headshots: Se7en collection in 2005.
Babes in Toyland
Numerous appearances — Per Chris Riemenschneider's book First Avenue, Babes' early shows "inspired an army of local women who were already in or about to start their own bands" in the late '80s and early '90s. Their own success helped keep First Avenue's reputation alive as Seattle became the center of the rock universe. Despite their stature, they would often return to the Entry, including a 1994 gig that housed an estimated 600 people (350 over cap), per sound engineer Randy Hawkins.
Band of Horses
June 4, 2006 — Frontman Ben Bridwell met his wife, Elizabeth, when Band of Horses came to town for their first and only Entry show. The group graduated to the Fine Line upon their return a few months later.
Ben Folds Five
Oct. 26, 1995 and Jan. 31, 1996 — Load-in is always a chore at the Entry, but it was especially challenging for Folds' trio, famous in the '90s for dragging a baby grand piano everywhere they went. In an interview with the Star Tribune many years later, Folds claimed it was "minus 40" degrees at their 1996 show, and they were forced to leave the piano in the street while they took warming breaks inside the 7th St. doors. The instrument's hammers were frozen "for about the first hour of the gig."
April 3, 2018 — Right on the cusp of super(duper)stardom, 16-year-old Billie Eilish sold out the Entry and blew away the critics in attendance. "Eilish is not just poised to become the next big name in pop music," wrote TwinCitiesMedia.net's Jessica Boldt, "but it’s clear she’s turning the whole thing on its head."
June 26, 1981 and ~July 1981 — The band made its famous lead-singer swap (from Dez Cadena to Henry Rollins) between these shows.
The Black Keys
Oct. 31, 2003
July 17, 2019 — Reviler was there to take some great photos at an "absolutely sold-out, sweltering" show in the dead of summer.
Feb. 24, 1993 — The offbeat group from L.A. arrived at the Entry less than two months before Capitol Records sent their smash hit "No Rain" to radio. In 1995, they returned to play the Mainroom just three weeks before singer Shannon Hoon died of a heroin overdose.
July 22, 1996 — Last year, Reddit user tc182 posted a photo from the gig. Twitter user Aaron Goodyear said the band was opening for Samiam and estimated there were "40-50 people" in attendance.
Feb. 18, 1995 — The Nirvana-aping, polarizing British band fronted by Gavin Rossdale (aka the former Mr. Gwen Stefani) was picking up tremendous steam with "Everything Zen" and "Little Things" by the time they played the Entry. Over the next year, they'd become one of the biggest bands in the world.
~June 1980 — The Talking Heads frontman joined local band The Wallets onstage for two songs, per Chris Riemenschneider's First Avenue.
Feb. 13, 2009 — While Taylor Goldsmith and Co. hailed from L.A., they quickly developed a huge fan base in Minneapolis-St. Paul (mostly thanks to The Current) and have returned numerous times. Their two-night stand at the Mainroom in 2013 is featured in the video for "Most People."
Death Cab for Cutie
Oct. 14, 2000 — After a couple trips through the old Foxfire Lounge, Death Cab made its Entry debut on the back of We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes. According to ConcertArchives.com user Gb1139, frontman Ben Gibbard—who also played bass for opener Pedro the Lion—was forced to leave the stage two songs into the Pedro set due to sickness.
Nov. 21, 2012 — Minneapolis was one of the first stops on Death Grips' heavily anticipated first world tour. Twin Cities Daily Planet labeled the show "intense" (surprise!) and took a bunch of photos.
March 17, 1996 — Deftones are one of the few national artists to play the Mainroom before playing the Entry. In fact, they tagged along as an opener at Target Center, too, one month before their headlining Entry gig.
April 8, 2016 — Fresh off the release of Imperial, the Florida rapper graced the Entry with his presence, and has since headlined the Mainroom twice.
Feb. 25, 1988 — Back before they added the "Jr.," Dinosaur headlined the Entry. But the most notable part of the gig was the opening band. Babes in Toyland were making their Entry debut, and there's a bootleg available here for those who are so inclined.
March 9, 1998 — The Murphys have played the Minneapolis-St. Paul market dozens of times, but their very first visit was to the Entry in '98. Original lead singer Mike McColgan left the band sometime that year to become a Boston firefighter; it's unclear if he accompanied them to this gig or not.
Nov. 27, 1994
Father John Misty
May 11, 2012
April 9, 2008 and July 20, 2008
Sept. 23, 2010
Foster the People
April 1, 2011
April 18, 2016
Oct. 25, 2008
June 11, 1989 — This was a hot one. Dischord.com user John Mulhouse recalled "sweat dripping down the walls" as D.C.'s finest worked the crowd into a frenzy.
Nov. 5, 1995
April 28, 1991 -- A year earlier, Billie Joe Armstrong had met his future wife, Adrienne, at a Minneapolis house show at 815 6th Street in Dinkytown. He and the band returned in '91 just before going to the studio to record Kerplunk!. Here's an archived interview and performance from that night.
March 13, 2012
October 8, 2006 and Feb. 10, 2007
The Hold Steady
Oct. 14, 2018 — More than two decades after they cut their teeth at The Entry with Lifter Puller, Craig Finn and Tad Kubler returned for a doubleheader gig in the side room.
Numerous appearances — Forever intertwined with the Replacements as the two biggest Minneapolis rock bands of the '80s, Hüsker Dü recorded their pivotal album Land Speed Record live at the Entry on 1981. The total set featured 17 songs but lasted only 26 minutes, 35 seconds.
May 16, 2011
Nov. 26-27, 1988
June 27, 2017
Feb. 6, 2006 — The Jonas Brothers are likely the only band to graduate from a supporting gig at The Entry (they got third billing behind The Veronicas and October Fall) to headlining Target Center on their next trip to Minnesota. Their first visit to the Cities came with zero fanfare. It was a 21-plus gig, and they were all 18 or younger at the time.
Oct. 26, 2019
April 15, 2004 — In the midst of a years-long international tour to promote Hot Fuss (which wouldn't drop until two months later), the Killers stopped through Minneapolis in support of Stellastar. By September, "Somebody Told Me" was on the Billboard Hot 100. The Entry gig was one of their final American shows as an opening act.
Kings of Leon
May 15, 2003
March 21-22, 1992
Aug. 9, 2003
Feb. 23, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2013 — Before she jetted to L.A. to find superstardom (check), Lizzo made a handful of appearances at First Avenue, including her Entry debut as a solo artist in February 2013 (one of three openers for Aby Wolf). On New Year's Eve later that year, she hosted a party in the Entry headlined by Tickle Torture. Then, poof, she was multiplatinum. Something like that.
Numerous appearances — The Duluth duo of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker opened for Radiohead around the world on the Hail to the Thief tour, and they'd made famous friends at far-flung outlets like London's BBC Radio, but they were still, in the words of Chris Riemenschneider, a "a 7th Street Entry-level act in the early 2000s." That changed with a big boost from fledgling radio station The Current in 2005, and Low now enjoys cult status in the Land of 10,000 Lakes (and far beyond).
April 4, 2018
June 18, 2013 and June 23, 2014
July 12, 1984 and May 4, 1985 — Local musician Kevin Bowe attended the '84 show and gave the following anecdote to Chris Riemenschneider in the book First Avenue: "D. Boon fell down on his butt right in the middle of the song. But he kept right on playing and at the end of the song, Mike Watt reached his big arms around him and just pulled him right back up on his feet."
Oct. 22, 1997
Motion City Soundtrack
Sept. 7, 2003
Neutral Milk Hotel
May 3, 1997 — While this was nearly a full year before In the Aeropane Over the Sea was released, the set included a few tracks from it, including "Oh Comely" to close the show. There's bootleg audio of this gig available on YouTube.
April 9, 1990 — This was Nirvana's third Minneapolis show (they'd played the Uptown Bar twice in 1989) and they were still a support act, this time for TAD. By most accounts, Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl were outshone by their contemporaries. But bigger things were coming. They had spent the week before this show in Madison, Wisc., working on Nevermind with Butch Vig. "Breed" and "In Bloom" made appearances during their Entry set, and 18 months later, they were the biggest band in the world.
Oct. 7, 1990
Feb. 18, 2010
Oct. 19, 2017
June 3, 1988
Portugal. the Man
June 5, 2009
The Postal Service
April 25, 2003
Oct. 26, 1984 and July 11, 1985 — Prince was already a headlining act by the time he made his First Avenue debut in 1981 (in the Mainroom when the club was still known as "Sam's"). He only ever played two gigs in the Entry, and both of them were wildly unofficial. In '84, Sheila A headlined the Mainroom. Afterward, Prince snuck next door and borrowed instruments from a touring band. He and his rhythm section (Bobby Z and Mark Brown) stunned the crowd of less than 100 people with a blues jam. The next year, in '85, he pulled the same surprise after another Sheila A show in the Mainroom, this time bringing Sheila next door to play a short improvised set on drums and bass.
June 3, 2016
Queens of the Stone Age
Feb. 7, 1999 — Bootleg audio available on YouTube here.
Numerous appearances — Minnesota's most iconic rock band loved the Entry so much that, upon releasing their 1985 album Tim, they skipped the Mainroom and instead scheduled a five-night stand in the much smaller space. Per Bob Mehr's biography Trouble Boys, Paul Westerberg demanded that the club shine a Batman signal into the sky and provide free pop for the kids. "That was Paul's idea of driving a hard bargain," manager Peter Jesperson later told Mehr.
Numerous appearances — One of Semisonic's Entry gigs circa 1994-1995 (under their original name, Pleasure) was sandwiched by offers from major labels. Just before they left for the show, the band got an offer from Elektra. Afterward, MCA threw their hat in the ring. They chose Elektra, but wound up getting dropped and moving to MCA within a year to complete their debut album The Great Divide. Drummer Jacob Slichter recounted the experience in his book So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star.
Nov. 1, 2001
Aug. 12, 2006 and Nov. 19, 2006
May 3, 1997
The Smashing Pumpkins
Nov. 11, 1990 — Per Chris Riemenschneider's book First Avenue, venue sound engineer Randy Hawkins recalled that Billy Corgan was a "genuine douche," and that the Pumpkins made several odd requests on their tour rider (including a pint of Stoli vodka). Keep in mind, they weren't the headlining act. That was The Lemonheads. So a club employee crossed out everything and simply wrote: "Support act—drink/soda tickets."
June 17, 2018
Aug. 9, 1985
Numerous appearances — These guys grew up with The Entry. When it first opened, they were high schoolers who attended countless shows and played under the name Loud Fast Rules. "I know this sounds kind of corny," frontman Dave Pirner later told Magnet, "but it really was a magical time. A band would play the Entry, and the same 20 people would show up. And they’d all be in bands, too. ... I got immersed in it and never looked back."
March 18-19, 1989
April 20, 2001
July 24, 2007
Stone Temple Pilots
Nov. 13, 1992
Oct. 6, 2001 — In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, New York's quintessential post-millennium band played a doubleheader at the Entry. Because their debut record, Is This It, wasn't scheduled for release until three days later, fans were unable to buy copies at the gig. This qualified as one of the most legendary moments in the Minneapolis scene's history.
Sunny Day Real Estate
July 2, 1994
Nov. 27, 2010
Two Door Cinema Club
Oct. 28, 2010
Oct. 30, 1993
The White Stripes
June 12, 2000 — Jack and Meg White were going through a divorce when they arrived at the Entry. Local critics didn't think much of them. When they came back for a headlining Mainroom show in 2002, everything had changed.
Nov. 21, 1994 — Jeff Tweedy's previous group Uncle Tupelo was a mainstay at First Ave. After splitting with Jay Farrar (who formed Son Volt), Tweedy brought his new band to the Entry. And they were indeed new. This gig was only the second show of their first tour.
Oct. 13, 2005
Other notable acts
Bands that were *supposed* to play 7th Street Entry