True Love seconds

I’ve got mixed feelings about 2315 K Street.

On one hand, being of the vegetarian persuasion and having grown up in Stockton, with its large Lebanese population and delicatessens, it was nice to see Sanad’s, a Middle Eastern restaurant, open on the ground floor. To this scribe, a plate of falafel and tabouleh is soul food, and Sanad’s really hits the spot.

On the other hand, something is gone from that space, and that something is the True Love Coffeehouse.

But not to worry. On Sunday night, the True Love reopened in its new location directly upstairs, which the venerable cafe had been using as a performance space since last year.

Co-owner Kevin Seconds sent out a text message early Sunday evening that the all-ages venue would be kicking off its third incarnation (after the downstairs location and, preceding that, the J Street space now occupied by the Beach Hut Deli) that night, with himself, Allyson Seconds, David Houston and Kepi Ghoulie playing for free.

The setup is compact but makes more sense. If you’d been in the old, two-floors incarnation of the True Love, the stage is in the same corner of the upstairs main room, with seating in the south apse; the seating area in the west apse is blocked off by a waist-high bar with stools behind it. On Sunday, these were occupied by Kepi and a couple of friends, along with promoter Jerry Perry, who was trying to work through The New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle.

Onstage, Houston was playing, while Kevin leaned against a door frame, occasionally adjusting the volume on the PA, and Allyson puttered in the kitchen behind the stage with two other women, who were busy turning out coffee and tea drinks (which is basically the entire True Love menu now).

After Houston finished, Kevin took the stage; a few songs in, Allyson joined him on harmonies. Then Kepi, with Kevin on drums, DinoGirl (Kepi’s bandmate from the Little Medusas) on bass and Houston on percussion, launched into his set. It was a bit like sitting in on someone’s living-room party.

At one point Kepi, who often bubbles over with the kind of sugar-fired enthusiasm one sees in little kids who overdose on breakfast cereal during Saturday morning cartoons, voiced an epiphany about a future Valentine’s Day lovefest at the venue. “We can get all our friends up here!” he gushed. “Ghetto Moments [Kevin and Allyson’s current band] over there, and Kepi and his friends here, and David Houston and his friends over there, and we can even put Baby Grand over there!”

At times, the True Love’s core musical group can feel like high-school redux—it’s great if you’re in the inner circle, but not so great if you’re prone to feeling like you’re outside looking in. I’ve occasionally defended the True Love circle against such charges, when people who felt alienated by it grumbled something like “I hate that whole Sacpop scene.”

And I’ll do it again. The beauty of such microscenes is that they, at the core, are small circles of friends who share good times and music together, like a house party that has outgrown its space, whether it’s the True Love gang, or the Midtown Monthly cabal (Th’ Losin Streaks, the English Singles, the Bananas, Knock Knock, etc.), or the more inclusive Juggs hootenanny crew.

The problem, at least for some of the more socially retarded of us, is that we don’t fit in to any groups, and thus remain perpetual outsiders. To those of you in that camp, a roommate’s dog makes a dandy audience whenever you’d like to play a few songs. Or go to an open-mic. Speaking of which, True Love’s resumes this Tuesday night.