Slowly, those ambitions became reality: The Treasury, its soon-to-open St. Paul club, was originally scheduled to open summer of 2020.
“I kid you not: We finished construction on March 13th of 2020, which was the day [Gov. Tim] Walz enacted the first stay-at-home orders,” says Jack Kolb-Williams, the executive director of Catalyst. “There was a lot that hit us all at once.”
After two years of live-streamed shows, the freshly renovated concert hall at 965 Payne Ave. is ready to go public. (Don’t confuse The Treasury with the far less-rocking U.S. Treasury Department office, located 2.3 miles away.) A grand-opening concert featuring Racket faves Gully Boys (along with DJ Keezy, J. Wlkr, and Jazzy) was just announced for April 21.
The 180-capacity Treasury will help satisfy two needs in the local concert landscape: It’s another dedicated space for all-ages shows, and it’s another venue with a small-but-not-tiny feel that fits between the 331 Club (150 capacity) and the 7th St. Entry (250). Aided by city grants and fundraising efforts, Catalyst gutted the space and spent around $60,000 reimaging it. The team built out bathrooms, added a green room, and used reclaimed wood from a nearby house for some old East Side authenticity. The stage is just six inches off the ground, lending a basement-show vibe to the historic building’s actual basement.
“It’s an amazing landmark building,” Kolb-Williams says of the Old Swedish Bank Building that houses The Treasury. “When we were conceiving the place, we were hoping to somehow replicate the DIY scene–that underground, thriving house-show culture. We wanted to pay homage to that, but also be a bigger room, not a sweaty college basement. It’s got a really cool vibe, we’re proud of how it turned out.”
Tickets are on sale for April’s packed concert calendar, including soft-launch shows going down as soon as… tonight! Among the offerings: local bands, rappers, and singers from across the genre spectrum getting their first stage time, plus national touring acts. In addition to live shows, the venue will offer reasonably priced video-production sessions and rehearsal space.
The Treasury is a booze-free zone, though pop, water, and other concessions will be available. Kolb-Williams encourages concertgoers to patronize the neighborhood’s food/drink options—Brunson’s Pub, Tongue in Cheek, Caydence Records & Coffee—and enjoy St. Paul’s ample free street parking.
Most pressingly, will The Treasury operate in accordance with one Racket staffer’s recent hot take?
“Yes,” Kolb-Williams assures us with a laugh. “All shows will end by 10:30.”
We’re fans already.