Spotlight: The Love Hangover, Singing About Romance

photograph by Jonny Gillette

by Mimi Montgomery

Anti-establishment romantics, rejoice! Here’s a Valentine’s Day event just for you – one decidedly more interesting than Hallmark cards and drugstore chocolates.

The Love Hangover is a day-after event celebrating love in all its many forms. The heartbroken, the honeymooners, the singles, and the longtimers – all are welcome to this Feb. 15 jam-fest where local musicians pair up duet-style, take to Kings downtown, and perform songs all about l-o-v-e.

“The Love Hangover has always been about examining romance, love, and sex, all staples of not just rock music but most music,” says founder Richard Alwyn. “To me, even the seemingly throwaway sentiments of some candy-coated pop songs have something more to offer when you hear them in the voice of the world-weary cynic or the true-believer romantic.”

Alwyn started the event in 2000 while living in Raleigh. He knew that love, like a hangover, is one of life’s great equalizers: Both knock you down, but wasn’t it fun the night before?

His insight struck a chord. Seventeen years, 43 shows, and 400-plus performances later, the hangover just won’t quit. Performances are now hosted across the continent in New York, Kansas City, Mo., Ann Arbor, Mich., Chicago, and Toronto.

Each city puts its own spin on things, and Raleigh is no exception. Local performers Alexis Price and Stuart McLamb, Reese McHenry and Charles Latham, Caroline Mamoulides and Steve Howell, and Katie Stephens and Dave Wright will be at this year’s Oak City event.

Just like the event’s loyal participants, Alwyn knows there are always more questions to ask about love. “Some people said, ‘Oh, now that you’re married I guess you won’t be doing The Love Hangover anymore,’ but only someone who’s never been married would think like that,” he says. “Getting married doesn’t mean you’ve solved the big questions of romance, it’s more like starting graduate school.”

The Love Hangover may not immediately cure a broken heart or give you all the answers, but it’s sure to be a lot of fun. And, a lot like love, there’s something for everyone – just don’t blame us if the hangover continues into the next day.

Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show; Kings, 14 W. Martin St.; $8 all ages;