As I walked towards the Fine Line I could not help but think about all the changes since my last show there 560 days ago (but who’s counting). The live music industry has been clawing their way back while still facing massive challenges and uncertainties. For many people life has changed, not always for the better, and many of us are taking it day by day, doing the best we can to fight our way forward while taking care of those around us. As I see artists I have covered pre-Covid, I often wonder how the past months have changed them.
Tele Novella from Lockhart Texas opened the evening. The first note I wrote on my trusty notepad was “Storytellers with Rhythm”. There is something very calming about singer Natalie Ribbons’ voice and delivery. Calming but not one bit boring. They weave in and out of genres smoothly and seemingly without effort.
Set List: Never / Words That Stay / One Little Pearl / Paper Crown / Won’t Be Long / Wishing Shrine / Technicolor Town / Stephanie Says / Crystal Witch / Trouble In ParadiseJust having released their new album “A Beautiful Life” their first in 5 years a couple of weeks ago Heartless Bastards. Where many bands would be “in your face” with new songs, they chose to reintroduce themselves with songs more familiar to fans and then ease into material from the new album. A few songs in, Erika Wennerstrom ran into trouble with her guitar announcing “That shit’s not gonna fly”.
I had seen them a couple of times at First Ave and the Varsity and they felt right at home at the Fine Line. There was a joy to their set that I suspect many bands feel about being on the road again and interacting with fans – as Wennerstrom put it: “It’s best to look for the glass half full these days”. The audiences’ glass was plenty full last night thanks to a great performance.
Set List: All This Time / Extraordinary Love / Gotta Have Rock’n Roll / How Low / Skin And Bone / A Beautiful Life / Dust / Hyhh / Photograph / The River / Went Around The World / Arrow / Down In The Canyon / Doesn’t Matter Now / Revolution / Swamp / Parted Ways / Sway / Gray / Mountain