Anti-Valentine’s Day coming back your way
*Editor’s note: After this story went to publication, the venue announced that they were closing. The event has been moved to LaRue Elm. This article has been updated to reflect the change.
By: Katei Cranford
Valentine’s Day: some folks love it. Some folks hate it. Shari Blades and her sixth annual Anti-Valentine’s cover show are hoping to satiate both at LaRue Elm on Feb. 16.
Blades is a heartbreaker looking to rip it up, and mend a few pieces, too, by pulling-out stops and putting together treats for what she calls a “safe haven” from the sap of traditional Valentine’s celebrations.
So no worries if you ain’t got a honey, in fact, that’s the point.
“Calling all singles: the disenchanted and fed up!” Blades decried over Facebook, “just when you thought it was over, Valentine’s Day rears its ugly head once again.”
Cupid doesn’t play, and Blades doesn’t mess around.
“We guarantee there will be no cheesy, obnoxious romantic clichés,” she said. “Okay, well maybe a little cheese,” she admitted. Either way, Blades assures: “booze, games, bands and general feelings of bitterness will be provided for all.”
In addition to the tunes, comedy bits and raunchy Q&A sessions are customary. Each year boasts a special surprise or two, ensuring tears of laughter roll harder than tears of pain.
Though the event doesn’t diss those who feel lovey-dovey, it is an environment that welcomes scorn on the sappiest of holidays. A cathartic gathering of friends as loved ones during a time it’s all too easy to feel lonesome.
“The Anti-Valentine’s Day show has always been one of our favorite events,” said Chris Nielsen, guitarist for scheduled performers, Time Machine Drive-By. “It’s just so much fun to be irreverent about something so culturally sacred.”
Beyond romance, friend circles can shift greatly in the span of six years, since the first Anti-Valentine’s show in 2013. Members of TMDB have found themselves splintered across the country. They agree it’s all too easy to take for granted the time you’ve got to spend with friends or bandmates—it’s a love worth celebrating.
With that, the biggest surprise this year comes in a blast from a Time Machine Drive-By reunion.
“Even though we threw in the towel on being a full-time band in 2016, there’s been an unspoken expectation that we’d come back around for at least one more Valentine’s show,” Nielsen said. “It’s in our blood,” he quipped.
The band, for which Blades is a vocalist, has been involved with each anti-Valentine’s show so far. “Rob’s flying in from Florida and Alex is pulling an all-nighter from D.C. just to make this happen,” Nielsen said of the strides made by the drummer and bassist in pulling it all together.
“When I heard the Anti -Valentine’s Day show would ride again I felt an immediate pull to be a part of it,” said drummer Robert Joyce. “I jokingly told Shari I was buying a plane ticket. A day later, Time Machine had been assembled, and I bought that ticket.”.
“The Anti-Valentine’s Day show has always meant a lot to me,” Joyce noted.
For all the romance smack-talk, the show remains all about love. “It’s about giving people who don’t have dates a place to be and feel cared about,” Joyce explained. “But I also love breaking-down the societal norm that is Valentine’s Day ‘proper,’ and turning it into an event we can all share together,” he added.
For Joyce, “it’s the love of friends and community over the love of shiny objects and fancy dinners. We’re looking to lift each other up and give each other something to look forward to.”
Drinks specials and other treats have been inferred, and Nielsen has crafted custom guitar picks for the broken-hearted looking to strum the pain away. But with the covers being the most anticipated morsel of the night, Blades and company have carved a new niche for all the lovers with nobody to love.
“There’ll be some sardonic takes on heartfelt love songs and plenty of jaded anthems celebrating singles,” Nielsen said of the musical selection. “There’s also a fleeting chance to catch some TMDB originals.”
“Whether you’re looking to meet your next ex-lover or trying to escape the sap with your sweetheart, it’s the place to be,” he added.
“All bands will be performing a vast amount of covers,” Blades said. “The catch is that it’s love songs only: Kenny G, ColorMeBad, Marina and the Diamonds, no ode to love is safe this night,” she added.
For Blades, the motto is “No date? No problem! It’s time to go crazy.”
The sixth annual Anti-Valentine’s Cover show will go down on Feb. 16 at LaRue Elm (403 N. Elm St.).
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who hosts the Tuesday Tour Report, a radio show that runs like a mixtape of bands touring through NC the following week, 5-7pm on WUAG 103.1fm.