The Brick has caved in.
After a nightmarish opening Monday for the high-profile new Brick nightclub in downtown Minneapolis, one widely criticized by concertgoers who lit up social networks (and even created theBrickMNsucks.com website), the club's proprietors made an unprecedented offer Thursday night: full refunds, including service fees, or an exchange for a future Brick concert.
"It's the least they could do," said Heidi Kapacinskas, of Edina, who attended Monday's concert. "They have to do this for public relations purposes."
Refunds have been given because a concert artist gave a substandard performance (see Neil Diamond in 2008 in Columbus, Ohio) but rarely because the venue was substandard. None of the 2,000 clubgoers complained about the performance of Jane's Addiction, although the band's frontman, Perry Farrell, commented about security and sightline problems from the stage.
The Brick is run by AEG Live, the world's second-largest promoter, which also operates Target Center, Los Angeles' Staples Center and other venues. The club is overseen by AEG's St. Louis office, with a minimal staff based in Minneapolis.
"We owe you an apology for the issues you encountered during the show," local general manager Jeff Kehr said in an e-mail sent Thursday night. "We are listening to your comments and feedback and are committed to making the necessary changes at the Brick to ensure that your next concert experience will be much more enjoyable."
Kapacinskas thinks the Brick has some serious construction problems to address. "Logistically, I don't know how they're going to cure the inherent issues of the venue," she said after receiving her refund offer via e-mail Thursday. "The place is too deep and narrow, the stage too small, the entrance too small, the sightlines poor. I'm 5 foot 10, and I couldn't see the stage. I was appalled by what they call live video monitors -- 1980s Sony TVs.
"The capacity is a big, big issue. I was claustrophobic. It was like being in an old-fashioned pressboard to go from the entrance to the bar. But they are doing the right thing by responding to the fan base. Obviously, they're trying to make themselves look good."
Kapacinskas is going to opt for the refund of $64. "Unless they can show me they've cured the logistical woes," she said, "there's no way I'd see a band I love in that room."
Said Kehr in the e-mail: "We acknowledge that we have a long way to go to earn back your business and are committed to regaining your trust."
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