COURTNEY COLES / Bull
Hollywood is not too far from the San Fernando Valley. There is no need, however, to drive 20 miles to Hollywood, 50 miles to Anaheim’s Chain Reaction or Pomona’s Glasshouse when there is an all ages venue in your own backyard.
Owner Dave Politi wanted an alternative to the bar scene on Ventura Boulevard in 1990, so he opened a “San Francisco-style coffee shop,”.
Starbucks began creeping up on every corner and the coffee business did not look so good for an independent. But Cobalt had open mic nights, poetry readings; Cobalt offered a unique experience.
Able to hold 400 people, Cobalt is one of the only live music venues in the San Fernando Valley – and he stomping ground that many, mainly high school kids, call home.
John McCrary, 29, and his girlfriend, Maggie Hasbun, 28, started “twoHEARTS Concerts” in 2001 with $3 backyard shows that became the force behind bringing talent to the Cobalt Cafe.
In transitioning from backyard shows, McCrary chose to promote at the Cobalt due to its sentimental value and convenient location.
“We started doing shows here because this is the first place I ever played,” said McCrary. “It has sentimental value. The first show I ever went to was here.”
The venue has always, and continues to, provide possibilities for smaller artists. Such bands as Jimmy Eat World, Less Than Jake, Linkin Park (then Hybrid Theory), Avenged Sevenfold and Hoobastank all got their start here. Recent national touring bands that have played at the Cobalt Café with promotion from twoHEARTS Concerts include The Ataris, The Casualties, We Shot the Moon, American Me, Memphis May Fire and The Ghost Inside.
When it comes to moshing, hardcore dancing and being interactive with the musicians playing on stage, the Cobalt Cafe has a lax attitude, so long as you’re not endangering yourself or those around you, anything goes.
Since the Cobalt Cafe is an all ages venue, alcohol isn’t served but if you’re of age, but Scotland Yard and Casey’s Tavern are two bars within walking distance.
“I hope that this can someday become a full time career,” said McCrary. “Until that day, I must continue having a 9 to 5 job to keep investing in our much improved and much more enjoyable music scene.”