You can expect to hear a lot about a tiny band from Chapel Hill, N.C., called Dillon Fence during this year.
This quartet, with its hook-happy new release for Mammoth Records, "Rosemary," seems bred for success.
Its smooth delivery, pop appeal and college cult status in its native state have all but sealed Dillon Fence's fate to expand to larger audiences.
The first, and perhaps most important, thing it has going for it -- its current following --came almost too easily.
"The main reason college towns are good for bands is that the audience is ready made," said lead singer and guitarist Greg Humphreys, whose band will open for fellow North Carolinians, The Connells, Saturday night at Hammerjacks. "In Chapel Hill, we've got 20,000 college students, albeit without much money, who can walk to our shows. They are just looking for something to do."
In its earliest incarnations, Dillon Fence played campus functions and house parties. Eventually the playing field expanded all over the Southeast as its members graduated from the University of North Carolina.
Dillon Fence seems to go where Humphreys' songwriting and vocals takes it, and that usually means straight rock 'n' roll with plenty of acknowledgment to the Beatles and early Who.
Somehow, guitarist Kent Alphin, bassist Chris Goode, drummer Scott Carle and Humphreys have managed to bring it into the '90s alternative music scene with a few twists.
"It's hard to describe us in specifics," Humphreys said. "We have an energetic live show and we try our best to win over new fans."
Certainly, after its first local appearance Saturday night, Dillon Fence will leave Baltimore with some new loyalists.
Tickets for the The Connells and Dillon Fence show are $7. Call 659-ROCK for more information.
* The concert calendar:
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch play the Baltimore Arena (tonight). Rhythm Syndicate opens the show.
Coming to the Capital Centre, Rod Stewart (Sunday) and Dire Straits (Feb. 24) .
The Towson Center hosts Little Feat and Nils Lofgren on Feb. 3.
Hammerjacks welcomes Peter Frampton (Feb. 14).