Detroit Cobras / Girl In a Coma / Roundheels @ the Firebird, St. Louis

Pictures and words by Duane Clawson
So once again, I found myself at the Firebird on a Wednesday night, not knowing quite sure what to expect.   I had heard from a friend that the Detroit Cobras were a must see and that was enough to spark my musical curiosity.  The first band on this triple bill was the up and coming St. Louis band, Roundheels.  Roundheels is comprised of Brendan Corcoran on vocals, Jacob Lewis on guitar, Eric Moore on the drums, Jessica Brock on bass, and Brian Marek on keyboard.  Roundheels frontman Brendan Corcoran is a bouncing, weaving, dancing ball of energy.  The band has many influences to their unique sound, which you will find dashes of punk rock, 80’s pop, and new wave.  Roundheels played a very energetic set to the small but gathering audience; I personally like the theory, ‘come early, stay late, you never know what musical gem you may find’.  Roundheels standout songs were “So much on my Mind”, and “Live with It” and in addition to the standout songs, Roundheels nailed their take on “Tainted Love”.

Next up was the all-girl trio from San Antonio, Girl In a Coma, consisting of sisters Nina Diaz (vocals and guitar) and Phanie Diaz (drums), and Jenn Alva on bass guitar.  Heavy, angry, and downright scary all describe this band’s sound and at times during their set, Nina looked as though she had just walked off of the set of the movie “Carrie”.  All three band members played their instruments with capable passion.  I would not want anyone to think (if attending a GIAC show) that you are going see a girly girl band sing pretty songs; that’s not happening with these ladies.  Now after making the previous statement, I digress.  The band opened their set with a somewhat down toned tune called “BB”.  “BB” begins with southwestern guitar flair.  I would believe this song is chosen as the opener to remind everyone where these ladies come from.  The band’s setlist continues to build in intensity and at the midpoint of GIAC’s set, the ladies brought the room to a boiling point with “Static Mind”.  I thought at any moment flesh would be flying through the air from Nina’s fingers during this massive guitar attack.  After vicious onslaught of “Static Mind” GIAC breaks out the highlight of the evening a cover of Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight”.  One would think this song would somehow deflate the mood of the evening, but that was not the case.  Nina’s vocals provide a heavy edge to this classic and reminds you she is not happy that she has to go “Walking after Midnight”.  When she finds you, it won’t be pretty.  I would advise you to put GIAC on your must see list.

After waiting…and waiting…and waiting…and finally at 11:20pm, the Detroit Cobras took the stage.  Band founders and mainstays, Mary Ramirez (guitar) and Rachel Nagy (vocals), literally came in the front door of the Firebird and took their purses and travel bags straight to the stage.   Mary and Rachel also bring with them a continuous, ever-changing cast of talented backing musicians.  The Detroit Cobras main musical focus is obscure 50’s and 60’s soul and B side covers.  The Cobras opened with “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand”, a song that showcases Rachel‘s ability to recreate these soul classics.  Unfortunately, due to the late start of the show, many had to call it an early night but those that did stay around, were dancing and singing along with the band.  I do have to say the show was enjoyable, but at times, I felt as the band was just going through the motions.   I should point out that at many times during the show, Rachel did try her best to bring the sparse audience to life, by encouraging the St. Louis faithful to cheer up; the down mood may have stemmed from the aforementioned late start.   The Cobras covered “Cha Cha Twist”, which is the original version of the Chubby Checker classic.  One of my favorites of the evening was “My Baby Loves the Secret Agent”, a song which puts the spotlight on Mary’s driving rhythm guitar.  “Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat)” is a fun song and a rare original from the band.  The band had an extensive setlist prepared for the evening but had shortened the list considerably and the night ended abruptly with “Ya Ya Ya (Looking for my Baby).  Those that remained at the show, along with some band members, seemed confused, not knowing if the band would retake the stage.  At 12:20, the house music came up and the Cobras began packing their gear.  I have seen live footage of the band and know they are capable of a better show.   I have to admit I would like to see the Detroit Cobras again under different circumstances.  As usual, I would like thank my gracious host at the Firebird and Mary of the Detroit Cobras for allowing me to cover the show.  Pictures of the show are below:

Girl In a Coma
Detroit Cobras
Contributed by Duane Clawson
Detroit Cobras / Girl In a Coma / Roundheels @ the Firebird, St. Louis Detroit Cobras / Girl In a Coma / Roundheels @ the Firebird, St. Louis Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on August 07, 2011 Rating: 5
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