You know the old saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, well as I learned last night: “Don’t judge an artist by their Wikipedia entry”. In my defense I’m probably not in Dominic Fike’s target audience, but when I read his Wiki Bio I had an “Oh Boy! It’s one one them auto-tune wonders” moment. I’m happy to report, I was wrong, oh so wrong! But I get ahead of myself.
The line around the Fine Line was actually winding around the building with fans arriving early to catch opener Deb Never. The venue moved the start of her set to make back 15 minutes to ensure everyone could get in. The first word I jotted down on my notepad was “interesting”. Never has her own style, coloring way outside the circles of music genres while blending elements from them. Her vocals are smooth reminding me at times of shoegaze but moving into hip hop without missing a beat. Her songs are dark, moody and at times sad, and you have to pay attention to the lyrics.
She just released her debut EP “House on Wheels” last week her brand new single “Swimming” has been called a “Sad and Severe Banger” by Rolling StoneHow can you tell it’s a younger audience at the Fine Line? When it’s a sold out show and there’s still room to move on the outside of the crowd. Last night was sold out and fans packed as close to the stage as they could get to see Dominic Fike. My ears perked up as soon as the opening number “Phone Numbers” got underway. This was better than I had expected, much, much better.
Fike has stage presence. It’s not the glamorous superstar stage presence I see all the time, but an honest, effortless connection with his fans. He chatted with the crowd between songs (and he really seemed to like the food in the Twin Cities). There was an “Ooops, wrong guitar” moment that had everyone chuckling. One of his comments stuck in my memory: “There’s no story behind this song. I just wrote it. I think that’s where some of the best songs come from.” Like Deb Never there’s not a single genre to define Fike. Some of his songs have bluesy guitar tracks, some could be defined as smooth soul.
Towards the end of his set, I got to have my DUUH moment of the night. I have heard his song “3 Nights” so many time on Sirius XM’s Alt-Nation and hummed along while driving. And my brain did not make the connection to his name until I heard it performed live last night. So if you hear a muttered “F…. Me” from the back of the Fine Line last night, I apologize, that was me 🙂
So to sum up, I got to see a promising new artist and put a face (and a name) to an earworm that I have listened to for a year now. And a reminder to keep an open mind and ears.
Set List: Phone # / Plastic People / Babydoll / She Wants / SOX / Baby Doll / Acai Bowl / Peach / 3 Nights / KOE Encore: WCC