Several years ago, the Detroit Cobras burst out of Motor City during what could be described as the third Detroit Invasion, after Motown's first wave and the Stooges/MC5 contribution to the birth of punk.
The third-wave Detroit Invasion, starting in the early '90s, combined the elements of the Motown era and the punk era. Perhaps no band epitomized this heady combo quite as much as the hugely influential, totally underappreciated, lo-fi garage-punk band the Gories. Combining punk, '60s garage rock, blues and soul, the Gories invented a new Detroit sound that fit comfortably alongside the city's previous achievements. This sound would remain well below the radar for several more years until the White Stripes hit the mainstream in 2000 with their commercially palatable version of this punk-garage sound. While the White Stripes are the only Detroit band of this "invasion" to enjoy bona-fide rock-star status, their success did open the floodgates for other Detroit bands such as the Dirtbombs, Bantam Rooster, the Demolition Dollrods, the Go! and, of course, the Detroit Cobras.
With the White Stripes' future in question and the Gories defunct for some time now, the Cobras are one of the last torchbearers of Detroit punk/soul (Poul? Sounk? Nah, nevermind). The Cobras take classic R&B numbers (most of which you and I have never heard before), chew them up and spit them back out dirtier and tougher than before while retaining the lighthearted, playful swagger that made that music so good to begin with. Singer Rachel Nagy's sultry vocals have the passion and range found in classic soul but with the added worn-in rasp of someone who has probably smoked many a cigarette and drank many a beer while listening to the Stooges at full volume. So while you and a million teenyboppers could wait for the next White Stripes . . . er . . . uh . . Raconteurs concert, you'd be doing your soul a much bigger favor by checking out the Detroit Cobras and trying to forget that Von Bondies/White Stripes feud ever happened.
Detroit Cobras with King Khan & BBQ Show and Taylor Hollingsworth & the Spidereaters at Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.galaxytheatre.com. Mon., 7:30 p.m. $13-$15.
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