Valentine’s Day Cover Show

No PDA allowed


What: Valentine's Day Cover Show

When: 10 am Fri., Feb. 15 -16

Where: Make.Shift, 306 Flora St.

Cost: $6-$10


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

I am a woman of strong opinions. About everything. However, I find myself trying to conjure up feelings—any feelings—about Valentine’s Day and am coming up empty.

Which is weird because plenty of people have plenty of strong points of view about this most polarizing of faux holidays. Those who are in love with love relish the opportunity to go all out and flex their romantic muscle, so to speak. Others are more cynical about the whole thing, while certain folks are downright bitter, scarred by experiences of Valentine’s Days past.

As for me, I’m out here floating around on my island of ambivalence. I’m mostly just sad that I can no longer inflict Conversation Hearts on my friends. But as long as Easter is on the calendar and Peeps still exist, I’ll get by.

If I had to guess, I’d say Make.Shift falls more on the cynical side of the Valentine’s Day equation, but that’s not going to stop them from using the occasion to throw one of their biggest and most fun annual events, the Valentine’s Day Cover Show.

The show came about nine years ago, and back then it was a pop-punk cover show, was intended to be a silly one-off and had little or no discernable connection to Valentine’s Day other than happening to coincide with Feb. 14 on the calendar. It came with the admonition that there was to be no PDA from anyone in attendance.

That first show was packed, there was indeed PDA and while it was unclear whether it was a celebration of or antidote to romance, everyone there was having way too good of a time to care either way.

Apparently, it was just the V-Day date Bellingham’s music scene was looking for, and the onetime one-off is now an annual tradition as warmly and tenderly embraced as any bouquet of roses or box of chocolates.

However, it was not long before the pop-punk theme was exhausted and it was jettisoned in favor of, in Make.Shift’s words, the “very specific genre of ‘whatever you loved to listen to in high school.’” It also expanded to two nights in order to accommodate as many participants as possible.

The basic order of operations for the Valentine’s Day Cover Show is as follows: A few months ago, Make.Shift put out the call for bands to play this year’s show. From there, local musicians formed groups, decided what band’s songs they wanted to cover and submitted their request to the arts nonprofit. Once they were given the go-ahead, the bands then began to put together a 25-minute set of songs by their chosen artist. They only rule was they couldn’t choose to cover this year that which had been covered last year, so you won’t see anything by Amy Winehouse, the Dixie Chicks, the Cramps, Faith No More, NSYNC, the Velvet Underground, Tegan and Sara, Now That’s What I Call Music (easily last year’s most inspired choice), the Cure, and a few others.

However, that leaves plenty of sonic landscape to be covered Fri.-Sat., Feb. 15-16, and a whole bunch of musicians will be showing up to cover at least some of it. As ever, I am surprised, delighted and only a little horrified by this year’s roster of famous bands that will be put through the local wringer. In keeping with the exceedingly loose customs of this event, both nights’ lineups are not organized along any theme or genre, and if there is method in the madness, I certainly cannot discern it.

The bands getting the covers treatment Friday night will be (in no particular order) Fleetwood Mac, the Runaways, Cream, Adventure Time, Soundgarden, the White Stripes, Zappa, and because someone wants to ruin me with an earworm of songs I hate, Fall Out Boy. Saturday night, things get either weirder or more normal (impossible to say which) with Weezer, the Beastie Boys, Snail Mail, Duster, Bright Eyes, Bayside, Rancid, Smashing Pumpkins, and some very brave souls are tackling Queen. If they don’t play “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I’m not sure they can consider themselves a Queen cover band, so consider that gauntlet thrown, faux Freddie and crew.

If this year’s shows are anything like the previous iterations, the Make.Shift basement will be packed for both nights of the Valentine’s Day Cover Show. And if it’s anything like that first year, there will be PDA.

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