Cobra Verde – Detroit – The Magic Stick, MI – 2002-09-21

Cobra Verde
Where: Detroit – The Magic Stick, MI.

When: 2002-09-21

I must admit that this was one of the more interesting shows I’ve been able to recap for DOA in quite some time, as I found myself accompanied to the Stick by a very special guest, little Miss Sheila McClear of the ever-rocking Terranauts. Thankfully, the two of us were able to keep our typical rock-and-roll excesses in check for the evening, and as such I’m actually awake before 10 a.m. to rehash details of a show that I honestly remember details about without notes. Thank heavens for small miracles, right?

Anyways, Miss Sheila and I worked the dual PBR action at the bar while Cobra Verde took the stage for what came off as an uninspired, lackluster performance to start the night. We actually found ourselves as close to the stage as the mid-floor soundboard before our ears simultaneously cringed – It seemed Cobra Verde had decided to play a rather tuneless cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” that was pretty much unrecognizable until the chorus. Being from Cleveland, the band also tore through a messy cover of a personal anthem of mine, Pere Ubu’s “Final Solution,” that left me shaking my head. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what I expected from Cobra Verde, seeing as I’ve heard a zillion things about them from a zillion different people – and yet, until this show, I’d never actually heard anything by them. I’ll go out on a limb and say that it’s possible that I just caught an off-night for them, though Sheila had already warned me that the band seemed rather unenthusiastic the few times she’d seen them before.

After another visit from the PBR fairy, as well as the start of an ongoing night-long conversation with a really cool photographer guy from Ann Arbor named Jeremy, Miss Sheila and I stepped up to the stage for a set of simple, rowdy, and energetic rock from a three-piece known as Dead Moon. Trust me on this one – when I say ‘simple,’ I’m not kidding. I’ve recently started trying to teach myself to play guitar, so I keep finding myself watching guitarists at shows, looking for ways to help myself improve my currently pathetic attempts at playing. Well, 90 percent of the rhythm chords this guy played were set up within the first six frets of his guitar, with a few ‘moveable’ power chords tossed in for good measure. Still, simple or not, Dead Moon friggin’ rocked, especially during the tracks where the guitarist and the female bassist shared the vocals. Miss Sheila thought the bassist resembled Patti Smith both vocally and a bit appearance-wise, which I had to agree with. It still surprises me that a three-piece band that doesn’t rely on a wall of amps or crunchy distortion effects can still come off as energetic and ‘punchy’ as Dead Moon did.

By this point, Miss Sheila and I had sworn off the PBR fairy for the night, seeing as our previous few forays into the nighttime music world have tended to leave us a bit more tipsy than we should’ve been. Responsibility is a great thing, indeed. Anyways, the loss of our beer buzz still couldn’t kill the enthusiam that the Dirtbombs mere appearance on stage seemed to bring to the crowd (thought there was a notable absence of the wild audience ass-wiggling that usually breaks out at Dirtbombs shows). Mick Collins made me happy from the get-go by lighting into a cover of the old-school Motown cover “Underdog” to start the set, and from there the band slowly built momentum throughout the set. Fuzz-master TJ Potter was especially animated for this set, flipping off the audience and high-fiving people closest to the stage through the show, while local cutie Ko Shih of KO and the Knockouts hit the stage with a friend to add periodic backing vocals. Of course, bassist/producer extraordinaire Jim Diamond got his moment in the sun as well, taking the vocals on the hilarious throb, “I’m Through with White Girls,” before trading his bass for Collins’ guitar and wanking away quite impressively for a track. The D-Bombs pulled out a few more firecrackers out for the night, including an eccentric cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Kung Fu” and the funky Collins stop-and-go original “I Can’t Stop Thinking About It.” The band offered a rousing ending to the night, winding through a rock-laced introduction to the band members before Collins completely freaked out on guitar for a few numbers, allowing Diamond and Potter the convenient opportunity to uphold their reputations as ‘smoothest men in Detroit’ (title dubbed by yours truly, of course) by pulling some ladies from the audience up to the stage for some of the long-awaited ass-wiggling. Of course, the ever-humble Miss Sheila blushed and got all embarrassed when I suggested that she belonged on stage as well, once again showing me that modesty is a woefully unappreciated trait.

Speaking of Miss Sheila, I must admit that she was a little low-key during the D-Bombs set, though she said it was really only because she’d never seen the band live before this particular night. She did, however, leave with a smile on her face, saying she really dug the whole dance-while-you-rock vibe of the band’s set. With that, however, it was time to head towards the exits. After dropping a few kind words to Dirtbombs drummer Ben Blackwell (slight relation) and getting a really sweaty man-hug, Miss Sheila and I grabbed a few slices of wonderfully greasy cheese pizza from the joint just below the Stick (lucky us, we got the last two slices) and loitered outside the Garden Bowl patio, lamenting our lack of napkins and firm in the knowledge that sometimes, rock-and-roll, PBR and unhealthy pizza truly does make the world go around.

Damn, I love living near Detroit.