At 7:45 or so the last time the Pups played Shine, the then owner asked, “Are you going to have enough people here?” That question was answered with a question, “Why?” Her response was disheartening, “If you don’t have enough people, we’ll just close.” The eternal optimist asked, “How many is enough?” The answer meant we had no worry. “Ten or so.” No problem.
Even though she always was nice to me, several musicians may not have received the same treatment. One band agreed to be a last minute replacement, only to be shut down when the audience was not big enough. To them, that was proof that no good deed goes unpunished.
Friends told me of poor service and being treated indifferently. Shine had become toxic, or unwelcoming, to some people. “I won’t go back there” was heard more than once. What was once viewed as a friendly, intimate venue had deteriorated in the eyes of some musicians and customers.
Of course, we all have heard, “You cannot please all the people all the time.” Truth? Rumor? Chronic complainers? Who knows because it does not really matter any more.
Last October, I noticed a liquor license change of ownership notice in the window. Nobody in the barbershop across the street knew what was going on or what was going to happen. “Is it changing hands or just transferring the liquor license into a LLC?” “Dunno.” “Will it still have music?” “Dunno.” “Will its menu change?” “Dunno.”
After a series of “dunnos,” the questioning ended. Why persist when no answer was coming?
Around November, construction was underway. A friend confirmed that Shine had been -- or was being -- sold. The new owners were remodeling. Then, on December 7, the new Shine presented the first night of live music in the newly remodeled space under new ownership.
After giving the new Shine some time to shake out any wrinkles, I caught a show.
Wow! The space had changed. It felt urban hip. The abstract painting behind the stage was gone and replaced by an entire wall of wood and chrome doodads to light it up. A modern, but funky, fixture hung from the ceiling above the stage. It changed colors. Red. Blue. Green. Orange. Magenta. The furniture no longer had that used, donated feeling. The huge dining table that always seemed to be in the way was gone. Modernizing, however, had not destroyed the space’s intimacy. Rather, it seemed to improve intimacy.
Surveying the beers and wine revealed an expanded selection. Microbrews. Ales. Lagers. Stouts. Locals. Well-knowns. The wines no longer were limited to some red and some white. The coffee was locally roasted -- at Temple. The folks behind the counter were friendly, accommodating, and attentive. I ordered a
Moose's Drool ale and settled down in a comfortable couch in the back.
Despite remodeling that seemed to open up the room and harden the surfaces, the sound remained excellent. Nothing was overpowering, even though Lob still was working out the kinks on the sound board and its connection to the stage.
Listening to the music, I thought, “This still is a cool place to play. Will the Pups fit into the new vibe? How would we do at the new Shine?”
Tonight at 8:00, we find out. Please join us.