The Dream Syndicate at Fine Line Music Cafe, 5 Dec 2017

This was my first visit to the Fine Line. This venue is 3 blocks from my apartment, and it's charming inside. Exposed brick, streetlamps along one wall to make it look like an outdoor cafe. I bought the slightly pricier reserved table seating in the balcony. You walk upstairs, and there is a table that literally has your name on it, a carafe of ice water and plastic cups waiting for you. I would absolutely do it again. Any band at all. It just felt first class.

The guy at the door put my 21+ wristband on. No one was carded. If you've heard of this band, you are definitely over 21. 21 twice over and half again! Part of the light show involved the reflective surface of the many bald heads in the audience. The crowd was a little thin, I suspect the recent snow and resulting road conditions kept a lot of people at home.

I only know this band via Pandora, where a couple of their songs ("That's what you always say" and "When you smile") have been popping up on post-punk stations I've created for years. Apparently their first album was a college rock hit in '82, but that star must have faded.

The opening act was Elephant Stone, laid-back psychedelic rock, fun but less Stone Roses than the name would have you believe. One of the members played a sitar for a song or two, sitting barefoot on a dais. At a table near me, an audience member impressed her friends by identifying the instrument as a sitar, which I thought was a little sad, but I can't tell an oboe from a clarinet so who am I to talk.

The Dream Syndicate was great, noisy post-punk that could veer into country-tinged blues rock and back again in the same song. I think Kev Nichols would dig it, I'll have to send a track or two his way. The crowd loved it, and the band seemed like they were having a great time too. I'm no spring chicken, but it's great to see folks older than me dancing and getting into the music. A decade from now that will be me, after all!


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