Best Train-Wreck Show

The Detroit Cobras, Feb. 9, The Orpheum

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The Motor City band’s reputation preceded it: a rowdy, hard-drinking bunch that specialized in doing punked-up covers of old R&B songs. Lead singer Rachel Nagy was busy getting her drink on at the bar before the set, and she was complaining that the drummer was hammered. The Cobras got up to play, and immediately the sound was fucked. Feedback, bad monitors. Nagy started to fume and drink harder and faster. After a few false starts, she muttered “Fuck it!” and cut loose, belting out the numbers with careless disregard, letting the booze dribble out of her glass. She managed to sing and stand upright for damn near an hour. Man, it was great. You just don’t witness this kind of over-the-top stage behavior anymore. And through it all, the music was sloppy but powerful. Afterward, someone in the crowd complained that the set had been unprofessional. Damn right, but professionalism wasn’t the point. This was a show to remember.

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