Live music returns to Minneapolis venue Hook & Ladder, weeks after near destruction

Davina & the Vagabonds jump-started the nonprofit venue’s HookStream virtual series.

By  Chris Riemenschneider Star Tribune JUNE 22, 2020 — 10:28AM

They live only three blocks from the venue that hosted their first gig in three months on Saturday night. A few weeks earlier, though, bandleaders Davina and Zack Lozier had to rely on TV news helicopter footage to know if the Hook & Ladder was still standing.

“We were following it in real time,” Davina recalled just before showtime Saturday. “Whenever we’d get a glimpse of it, we’d say, ‘It’s still there!’ ”

Is it ever. The south Minneapolis performance venue — around the corner from the charred remnants of what used to be the Third Precinct police headquarters — rather miraculously survived the riots and destructive rampaging along E. Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue following George Floyd’s tragic death in police custody on May 25.

Now, “The Hook” is ready to breathe new life into its gasping neighborhood — on top of its original, pre-riots goal of helping the Twin Cities music scene survive the coronavirus quarantine.

Over the weekend, the nonprofit venue returned to action with the HookStream, a series of professionally produced, livestreamed fundraiser concerts inaugurated by Southern-baked jazz-rock darlings Davina & the Vagabonds. It was just a nice coincidence that the kickoff band happened to come from the neighborhood.