If you are like me and grew up in Southern California, there is a good chance you might have stopped by the legendary Cobalt Cafe at some point to see a show. For those of you that don’t know, The Cobalt Cafe was a little club in the San Fernando Valley and was around for over 20 years. It was an all ages venue and it was a staple in the area not just for bands to get a placeto play but many of your favorites over the years got their start on that stage like Incubus, Hoobastank, Jimmy Eat World, A.F.I., Linkin Park and Avenged Sevenfold to name a few. The Cobalt is back in a whole new way and bringing the fun vibes from back in the day to today!
The 31st Anniversary was a two day event that featured bands from The Cobalt’s past as well as up and coming new bands as well as a couple new bands featuring members that have played at The Cobalt in its heyday. Night one took place at Corbin Bowl and featured the bands Speed Of Light, The Moon Rocks, The Scuba Kids, and Angelo Moore aka Dr. Madd Vibe of Fishbone. Kicking off the night was up and comers Speed Of Light. This three piece band made up of siblings are ferocious and killer. Not only did they get the energy and crowd going, their set reminded me of being back at The Cobalt and discovering a great new band for the first time. Their hard charging punk rock energy definitely set the tone and made everyone in the venue look up and pay attention. Be on the look out for this band! Next up was Dr. Madd Vibe and his saxophone and introspective poetry. Listening to Angelo speak was very interesting. When you consider where the world is at today and you hear the words he was saying, you could definitely take something away from what was said and apply it to society today. Following that was The Scuba Kids. Their infectous ska/punk set was an absolute blast to watch. This was also the bands first show in over 6 years and it’s like they never lost a beat. I will admit I’m not much of a ska guy but, I do love a good ska show as fun as their set was. The Scuba Kids were one of the bands from back in the old school Cobalt days and they really made it a fun step back in time. Closing out the night was The Moon Rocks. Just like Speed Of Light, be on the look out for this band when they are playing shows. Not only do they rock but they absolutely kill! There’s a real sense of urgency and passion in the songs and performances of the three members of The Moon Rocks. They are one of the best bands in the Los Angeles area and it shows! What a great first night to kick things off!
Night two was just as fun if not more than night one. Just like on night one, this night was filled with bands from the past and present of The Cobalt featuring the reunion of Lava Diva, Centershift, Seven 40 Seven, Madam Bombs and Powder Pink and Sweet. The Federal in North Hollywood was on fire as every band that played brought the goods and slayed! First up for the night was dream pop/shoegaze band Powder Pink and Sweet. Their charming set got the night started off tremendously. Their songs have a very awesome 90’s alternative vibe mixed with a bit of an 80’s goth tinge a la Siouxie and The Banshees or The Cure. Next up was the explosive and electric Madam Bombs. These girls absolutely kick ass. Playing as a three piece this evening they took no prisoners and left the audience in awe. Their set was mixed with originals (which are killer) and covers that they have made their own including a cover of The Rolling Stone’s “Paint It Black,” which is now the only way I can listen to that song now. As I mentioned above about Speed Of Light and The Moon Rocks, Madam Bombs need to be on your radar as well!! Following the Madam Bombs is no easy task but, fellow Cobalt alumni Seven 40 Seven brought their rock to the stage and did just that rocked it! If you are looking for a really fun and good time rock band to see, Seven 40 Seven is that band for you. It was a pleasure to watch these guys love what they do on stage and it shows. Next up was a quick set by Dr. Madd Vibe and he delivered an inquisitive set as he set the table for Centershift to take the stage. My homies in Centershift just released their new single and video for their song “My Own World.” Check it out when you get a moment! It’s worth noting that Centershift singer/guitarist Jasan Radford (formerly of Onesidezero/Abloom) is also a Cobalt alum as he was instrumental in starting one of the first open mic nights at The Cobalt. Playing songs from their upcoming debut album, Centershift’s brand of melodic rock mixed with a bit of a post hardcore vibe makes for one hell of a fun set. Closing out the night was Lava Diva. If you don’t know, Lava Diva was a trio from about 1992 to 2002. The band is/was made up of Dawn Frinta on guitar/vocals, Johnny-G (Gianna Sabella) on bass and on drums/percussion was Greg Bernath. It’s been a minute since the three of them have been on stage together and it’s like they never left. Without missing a beat they tore threw their set as though it was back in the bands heyday, complete with the crowd not leaving and demanding one more song at the end.
What a great celebration for The Cobalt Cafe and its legacy. As I mentioned, The Cobalt is back in a whole new way. Instead of having a set venue, Cobalt nights are coming to venues all across Southern California. Every person that attended these shows left with a smile on their face and some new Cobalt memories. Bringing together the new and older generations at shows like this is truly awesome. It’s a bit like passing the torch to the new school in a total good way. Do yourself a favor and check out all the bands that played and make a point to come out to the next Cobalt show (Friday February 4th at Corbin Bowl)!!!