Ten Years of Icehouse

Words by Tiffany Lukk

Truly, where does the time go? So long ago, Icehouse started off as loading docks where Cedar Fuel and Ice harvested 75,000 tons of ice. Later it transformed—and there must a great story here—a studio for video and audio recordings. Then, ten years ago, the location once again transformed, this time into the Icehouse we all know and love—a jazz bar, a dance club, a noise venue, a stage for singer-songwriters, a hot spot for musical brunch. Plus, those sippin’ shots . . .

On Tuesday, Icehouse and its fans come together to celebrate its 10 year anniversary with highlights of both their concert calendar and the Minneapolis & St. Paul music scene, happy hour prices all day long, and appreciation and excitement for the next 10 years and beyond. In the days leading up to the anniversary, Co-owner Brian Liebeck reflects on the last decade and what comes next.

DISPATCH: Solid Gold, Lady Midnight and DJ Chef Sounds, all great, are all playing at the 10 year anniversary party. Who else has been a highlight performer for you and why?

Brian Liebeck: Oh, my! This is a hard question to answer as there have been so many who have been a part of this. The highlight performers include the resident artists who have hosted regular series here. I enjoy residencies because it becomes a true partnership between the artists and the venue, and we learn a lot from these artists on how to run events and to be as a venue.

The series we’ve hosted together with various artists spans across multiple genres to include the myriad of jazz musicians hosting Monday night jazz nights which started with JT Bates—who, by the way, has done a great job of connecting so many great artists in the local music scene. Pavielle has always been a favorite; the GRRRL Party events with Lizzo, Sophia Eras and Manchita were incredible; The Maurijuana Deathsquad events; anything with the Soul Friday crew is always important to us; Sonny Knight (RIP) and the Lakers; David Huckfelt is always great to have . . . I know I am omitting so many here, but this is a small sampling.

Ten years, so much has happened in that time—so much has happened recently. What is the biggest change Icehouse has seen since it first opened?

Aside from our world changing as we know it during the last few years, the biggest change for Icehouse is leaning in more as a music and event space compared to more of a supper club.

The Twin Cities music and cultural scene itself has changed a lot over the past decade. How has that affected Icehouse and how you go about the business?

True that a lot has changed. Icehouse has booked a diverse range of acts since day one which has shifted our practices to be more empathetic to and accommodating to more than just the basic music needs and try to be a part of the social conversation and affect positive change.

What do you think the next 10 years at Icehouse will look like?

The next 10 years will be exciting as we are taking the learnings of the last 10 years and applying them to the next 10! We’ve got a number of exciting changes coming up in terms of the space and overall vibe.

There are a lot of music venues around Minneapolis and St. Paul—what makes Icehouse unique?

When we first opened, it was the location since, other than Cause, there was not another music venue open in south Minneapolis. What makes Icehouse unique is the sound quality, the great people (bartenders, servers, artists, etc.) who have worked so hard to make that place happen and become what it is. Icehouse is blessed with a great clientele and you never know who might show up on a given night!

This interview was edited for style and clarity.


Icehouse Ten-Year Anniversary Party w/ Solid Gold, Lady Midnight, & DJ Chef Sounds
Tuesday, June 7
8-11:30 PM. $22.
Tickets + INFO >>

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