Of course we’ve been digging back into selections from Prince’s vast and varied catalog since we learned of his passing, but the man’s legacy shouldn’t be celebrated by yourself. His home city of Minneapolis has already been playing his music to bring people together, and this weekend, so should you. For this edition of FRANK Fridays We spoke to Mike 2600, a Minneapolis DJ and the creative director of Burlesque of North America design studio, about the all night dance party that First Avenue, the legendary venue where Prince made his name, held last night in the artist’s honor.
First Avenue books out things months in advance, but I put a thing half-joking on Twitter: “Please @FirstAvenue, cancel everything for a tribute party tonight.” This was the night the city was going to want it. A couple hours later—I have zero confidence it had anything to do with my Twitter message—I got an email from my buddy who works at First Avenue. He was like, “We’re trying to put together a late night thing for tonight. If we do it, do you want to play at it?” I was like, “Dude, just tell me what time to show up.”
As they’re organizing that inside the main room, someone else was also organizing a street party outside First Avenue. That happened from 8pm to 10pm, and from 11pm until 7am was inside. There were four of us DJing. I played from 11pm to midnight, then from 2am to 3am.
Capacity is like 1500 people, and there was another 5000 people outside trying to get in. People showed up! It was quite a testament to our city. They will give anyone the respect they deserve. If you do Minneapolis right, Minneapolis will do you right.
I played a lot of the lesser-known cuts. We had eight hours to fill, so it can’t be all “Erotic City” from top to bottom. You got to do the album cuts, like “Pope” and “Anotherloverholenyohead.” You’ve got to build it up. You do a couple albums cuts and then you drop a big one after that, then that’s when people get down. “Pussy Control” is always a big one, people love that. “D.M.S.R.” is one that wasn’t a huge hit, but people still got into it.
I came up in the Purple Rain era. “Let’s Go Crazy” was the first song that I caught from him when I was super young and just watching on MTV. There was no context for it, it was just a guy doing a crazy fast song about going crazy, and then there’s this insane guitar solo at the end. It’s just wild and noisy and explosive. I was hooked from there.
But all the stuff from before that, all the mid to late ’70s stuff, like “I Want to Be Your Lover,” that’s the stuff that I really get into. The instruments he was using and the airy sounding synthesizers, that stuff resonates with me. “Just As Long We’re Together” is such a good one, or “My Love Is Forever.”
“Sex Shooter” [by Apollonia 6] was a big one last night. We were not just playing Prince, but other stuff that he was involved in. Then stuff like the S.O.S. Band’s “Take Your Time” and Minneapolis stuff that Prince might have been vibing off of when he was hanging around First Avenue.
Tonight and tomorrow night First Avenue is doing all-night parties starting at 1:30am and going until 7am. My only gig was last night. My Prince honoring responsibilities are complete for the weekend. I did what I had to do.