BEST ROCK CLUB Minneapolis 2003 - Fine Line Music Cafe
318 1st Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Honoring a club that has just been gutted for renovations might seem silly. But the Fine Line deserves this much. On the night of February 17, when some Seattle band set off pyrotechnics that turned the ceiling into a scene out of Backdraft, the staff got everybody out of the building quickly and safely. The same couldn't be said for the E2 in Chicago the night before, or the Station in Rhode Island a few days later. A combined 120 people lost their lives in those disasters, leaving the Fine Line nationally known for avoiding a similar catastrophe. Yet there are other reasons to love the 15-year-old club, and not just because a steady stream of cool neo-Nashville artists have made it their stop of choice. Weekly nights are the bread and butter of most downtown venues, and while Boogie Wonderland's lease on Thursdays was predictable money-grubbing, newer gimmicks have avoided insulting the intelligence of music lovers. "I'm With the Band" let patrons sing karaoke live with eternal cover boys 2 Tickets 2 Paradise, a concept that was pure tongue-in-cheeseball genius. Then came Totally Tribute Tuesdays, inviting casual listeners to watch relatively unknown groups pay tribute to the likes of the Clash. The night after the fire was supposed to be a Replacements tribute, which led some to wonder whether the ghost of Bob Stinson had had a hand in the blaze. The day of his death in 1995, he was supposed to have performed at the Fine Line.