As someone who absorbs and analyzes a lot of music, it's easy to turn the whole endeavor into a pretty unfulfilling academic examination. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with critically appraising art, it's just that sometimes music is best experienced when your lizard brain is stimulated first and foremost. Motor City garage rock legends The Detroit Cobras aren't appealing to the lowest common denominator or anything, but their work, even on record, thrives because of its
visceral impact and elemental Rock and Roll lineage. Their guitars snarl and chug along with ancient Bo Diddley rhythms, while tambourines slam emphatically over hi-hats and lead singer Rachel Nagy howls about things like the lord forgiving her for trying to steal some chickens in Alabama, as she did on arguably their most famous track "Shout Bama Lama."
It's telling that the Cobras were formed in Detroit's esteemed Cass Street Corridor scene; the same crucible The White Stripes emerged from to become the rock and roll saviors of America in the early aughts. The bands of Cass Street were subject to a gold rush around the turn of the century thanks to a chart invasion of "The 'The' bands" like The Strokes, The Hives, and of course the aforementioned White Stripes. Detroit groups like The Von Bondies, The Dirtbombs, The Henchmen, and The Electric Six were suddenly and viciously courted by major labels, and the music press tossed around headlines like "Is Detroit the New Seattle?" The Cobras never signed to a label with corporate holdings, kicking around on smaller shops like Detroit's Sympathy for the Record Industry, Chicago's Bloodshot Records, and London's entrenched tastemaking label Rough Trade.
Nowadays, they are about seven years removed from their fourth full-length album
Tied & True, but it doesn’t really matter. Their music has always thrived because of their fevered zealotry at the altar of rock and roll revivalism, and their live show, without hyperbole, is the stuff of legends. They stop by Club Cafe to play the late slot at 10:00 PM on Tuesday and have nothing too new to promote but their own stellar back catalog. So don’t miss a chance to catch one of the most incredibly underrecognized rock bands of the past twenty years while you still can. (56 South 12th Street, South Side, Club Cafe