MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The Twin Cities have long been known for a breeding ground of new sounds – from the legendary pop and funk Prince created, to Soul Asylum and the Replacements offering an alternative edge left of the dial.
In 2023, new music and music venues continued to crop up throughout both Minneapolis and St. Paul, providing a home for the creative output of both artists and musicians alike.
With the new year now in full swing, here are five venues offering the chance to see national and local bands that opened in 2023 you might not know about already.
The iconic building that formerly held a movie theater had its grand opening in June, and since then has been booking national touring acts such as the Mars Volta, Bad Religion, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness and more.
Designated as a historical landmark prior to its latest redevelopment, the venue opened as the Lagoon in 1916, and was then renamed to Uptown Theater in 1929, before a fire damaged its original structure.
From those ashes, the building developed its now well-known exterior featuring a 60-foot tall, three-sided sign, in 1939. The theater has been a Minneapolis staple ever since, receiving a $2 million upgrade in 2012, before closing during the COVID-19 pandemic prior to its reopening.
"This is part of the comeback that we’re going to see in Uptown… Uptown has been through a lot in the last couple of years, it’s good to see investment coming back in a big way," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told FOX 9 during its grand opening event. "The Uptown Theater is an iconic location. To get it back in fine form is indicative of where we are going. It plants a flag in the ground that says ‘we’re all in’ – Uptown is coming back."
As the venue continues to book acts regularly, it hopes to attract both nationally touring and local acts, as well as, make its space available as an all-purpose event center for community gatherings such as speaking tours.
A relatively new music space taking over where Kim Bartmann’s Red Stag Supperclub was in Northeast Minneapolis, Zhora Darling has been redesigned with a new side room offering bands a place to play – and patrons two free pool tables to play before or after the show.
Owned in part by Eric Odness, who also owns Lake Street Bar in Brooklyn, New York – a Minneapolis-themed bar – the venue offers a full menu featuring oysters, steaks, salads, burgers and more that they claim will be served until 1 a.m.
Opening with a bang hosting 90s post-hardcore favorites Quicksand on Nov. 17, the venue is also promoting dance nights with rotating themes.
Formed by musicians with extensive backgrounds in the music scene, Lake Street's Cloudland has an official capacity of 150 that was built specifically to harbor and support local music.
The creation of Twin Cities music scene veterans Maren Macosko and Brad Lokkesmoe, the venue hit the ground running in early October, and has hosted local favorites Dillinger Four, plus touring acts such as Laura Jane Grace and Off With Their Heads since the doors opened.
Billed as both a music venue and art space, the venue has also hosted movie screenings in addition to bands on its stage nearly every night of the week.
Minneapolis-based Battery Eyes perform at Cloudland Theater
White Rock Lounge
The lone St. Paul venue to make the list, the White Rock is billing itself as offering, "Good friends + loud music."
Located next to CHS Field in St. Paul, the venue plans to be "Minnesota's best kept secret for showcasing underground, emerging music along with national acts."
According to its website, the venue will also look to be the official host venue for upcoming summer and fall music festivals hosted at the home of the St. Paul Saints.
Another venue hoping to be part of the Uptown revival, the Green Room took over the former site of the Pourhouse Uptown at Lagoon and Girard avenues in February.
"It's like I get to create the best possible space for bands," Green Room GM Tanner Montague told FOX 9. "All the amenities they want, the sound system to make them feel good. Create a space for the bartenders to feel good, get paid well. And I think if those two are happy, then the audience works out great."
Along with Uptown Theater located a block away, Green Room hopes to be part of the neighborhood’s revival and provide a resurgence for an artistic outlet that the area has historically been known for.