Skipping Valentine's Day With Soul Repair and King Cobra

And I somehow managed to make Manson.

The Sole Repair Shop is an absolutely beautiful private party room—on Capitol Hill—owned by Neumo's co-owner Jerry Everard and run by Grace Hoffman, who previously served as bar manager at Neumo's and helped Everard get his swank Belltown sports bar, Spitfire, up and running a couple of years ago. The soaring ceilings, rustic-but-refined recycled fixtures, and upper loft area make the Shop's overall vibe very New York, and the music industry connections Everard and Hoffman share make it a very logical space for music-related events. Indeed, the Sole Repair Shop has already hosted several DJ-driven dance parties since opening in December, and there are bookings for CD-release parties and live shows on the calendar. However, that isn't its primary focus. "There are enough clubs in this neighborhood, and we are not trying to compete with that scene so much," explains Hoffman. "We have a gorgeous bar and private space that can be set up exactly to fit the event at hand." The event at hand last Thursday was Hoffman's un–Valentine's Day party, a casual and spontaneous gathering based on the fact that she's no fan of V-Day. Local musicians Nick deWitt and Ty Willman stopped by, as did One Reel programmer Chris Porter and a handful of Neumo's staffers. Everard modestly plays down the Shop's environmental angle, so the salvaged metal railings, doors, and countertops are as pleasing aesthetically as politically. "We decided to make efforts to be 'green' for no reason other than personal ones," he says. "It's just fun to know that the bar top was once junk destined for a landfill.It's certainly not going to make a difference in whether someone books the space, but we like it!" Across the street that same evening, King Cobra was having its own anti–Valentine's Day séance of sorts, kicking off its first night of live music with a thundering evening of superior local metal in the form of Sindios. I walked in just in time to catch the latter half of their set, and was pretty much blown away by how good the room sounded. Expertly installed by Kelly Berry (the ears behind Neumo's sound system) and manned by revered local engineer (and former Foo Fighters soundman) Greedy Greg, the sound system provides fullness, warmth, and formidable volume—an asset the club has on its side as it tries to find its footing within the competitive triangle of neighboring venues that includes the Comet and Neumo's. You can check it out for yourself Friday, February 22, when freshly-minted Blondie tribute band Blackie take the stage. Touting this unproven tribute band sounds rather ridiculous until you consider the power of the players involved. Describing themselves as what "the love child of Debbie Harry and Otis Redding would sound like," Blackie is fronted by golden-throated glamour-puss Dejha Colantuono (best known for her role in the Rotten Apples), and has filled pivotal positions with local veteran musicians like Gary Westlake (the Girls, Kim Virant) and Rob Skinner (Coffin Break, the Fongs). As anyone who's witnessed Colantuono doing her thing will testify, the lady justifies the use of the cliché "siren." Hell, I'd pay good money just to hear her deconstruct "Call Me." Creative deconstructions were abundant at the last stop on my venue-hopping Valentine's Day itinerary, Jenny George's wildly successful "Dancing on the Valentine" benefit at Nectar in Fremont. Though Central Services prompted the biggest group sing-along when they busted out a letter-perfect rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," Ms. Led leader Lesli Wood almost stole the show entirely with a trifecta of great choices, including Prince's "Take Me With You," Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop," and Kim Wilde's "Kids in America." After all that plus a whiskey-soaked weekend with the Drive-By Truckers down at the Showbox, it was sort of amazing that I managed to rally and make time for the Marilyn Manson show at the Paramount on Monday. Luckily, it was well worth it; I haven't seen a big rock show that explosive, that spectacular, in ages. There's no more space here to get into all that satanic pageantry, but my full review is available online via our music blog, Reverb (

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