When the weather warms up and city girls break out stilettos and cut-offs, you know it’s time for the bad-ass ladies of The Detroit Cobras to ambush your town like a rock n’ soul version of The Wild One, brandishing guitars and tambourines in lieu of motorcycles and chains. Vocalist Rachel Nagy and co-conspirator/guitarist Mary Ramirez are the undomesticated ladies at the core of The Detroit Cobras, a rollicking retro-garage combo that fires on all cylinders with the help of some heavy-hitting male counterparts (varying since their 1994 inception) on the road and in the studio.
The Cobras revisit the days when rock was for rebels and delinquents, love courted danger, and messing with the wrong girl might end in a black eye. Rachel Nagy- weaned on Ike & Tina Turner, Irma Thomas, and Otis Redding- came up in blue collar Detroit and soaked in more musical influences than perhaps she realized at the time, not discovering her true penchant for rock and soul singing until already fronting the Cobras. Nagy has been breathing raw power into forgotten 60’s rock and blues tunes since before Amy Winehouse even inked her first tattoo- and she does it with spine and individuality.
With four proper albums under their belt (including 2005’s Baby, produced by Jack White), a new full length in the works, and a summer tour under way throughout June, you’d be remiss not to catch The Detroit Cobras at Neumos Tuesday night. They’re a phenomenal bar band and a real find among the current revival of American roots music- the Cobras are just about the best in the business at reviving nearly extinct rock and blues. See these classic songs live before they disappear (and see if you can pick out the DC originals among them as well).
If you need a visual, here’s an older video clip for “Cha Cha Twist” (featuring what appears to be a cameo by Meg White as Red Riding Hood):