Tuesday, March 17, 2009
We recently went to the local Hotel to hear Fine Line. It’s a great night out. Two kilometres from home, in a hamlet that has houses, a general store, post office, gas station and convenience store, and the venerable hotel. It looks like a large square house from the outside and the interior is small and home-like as well. The windows can unlatch and be raised in the summer, and have heavy dark wooden trim. There’s a dining room to the right of the centre front door, but you can’t get to it without walking in past the pool table and turning at the bar. The main room has four booths down the far wall and three rows of tables where you sit cafeteria style facing the front towards the band. The tiny stage occupies one corner and holds a drum kit safely back in its angle, several mic stands, and two guitarists out front, being careful not to pitch out onto the dance floor. Various amps and monitors are stacked on the floor, along the walls and edged in amongst the musicians. Two large windows take up most of the stage’s wall space. Above one is a narrow pixel-board on a short loop advertising the bands that will play on the upcoming Saturdays. Above the other they’ve mounted a deer skull with pronged horns on a plaque. The antlers cast a coloured dual shadow in the stage lights, crimson and turquoise against the white plaster. The remaining wall space onstage is taken up by a large red Budweiser poster, and spanning the corner walls above the drummer is a bright red size XL t-shirt with the slogan “We support our troops” in white across the chest. The stage floor is black and the two-foot high apron has been nicely finished in angled pine boards. Fine Line is led by Eddy on lead guitar and vocals, with Dave on drums and a new bass player who has replaced Gary. They play three lightning-fingered sets of rock, blues and country between 9:30 and 1:00. Often they open with a fast-past Folsom Prison Blues which shows Eddy’s virtuosity on the guitar, and nearly every show he plays Five Days In May because he knows it’s my favourite. Sometimes the audience consists of friends of the musicians, people who live nearby and have seen the poster advertising tonight’s band, and local snowmobilers. Other times it’s packed with drinkers and dancers from three generations and villages and townships far and wide. One summer night a cottagers’ association from Muskoka bused in a wild crowd wearing L.L. Bean and Dockers and celebrating someone’s 50th.