Detroit Cobras, Dexter Romweber Duo, Blacks, Lawrence Peters Outfit | Double Door | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Detroit Cobras, Dexter Romweber Duo, Blacks, Lawrence Peters Outfit Tickets Available Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Sat., Dec. 19, 8:30 p.m. 2009

Though this can be hard to imagine in retrospect once you're familiar with them, if you haven't actually heard the Detroit Cobras they don't sound like such a big deal. Front woman Rachel Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez, two high-talent chicks from Detroit with a tough-girl shtick as unsubtle as Nagy's big ol' voice, have been working since 1994 with a revolving-door backing band that often includes the Reigning Sound's Greg Cartwright—who seems to have a hand in every decent garage-rock project in this arm of the Milky Way—but their smokin' sets of garage-soul consist almost entirely of covers. Nobody who wants to get taken seriously as a musician starts a cover band, but in an article on the Cobras' Web site Nagy offers a sensible explanation for this modus operandi: Why write umpteenth-generation copies of the classics when you can go straight to the source? She and the band rough up nuggets from the 50s and 60s by artists both familiar and obscure, paying tribute instead of merely ripping off. The one Cobras original I've heard—"Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat)," from 2005's Baby—is a catchy but insubstantial piece of Devil Dogs-style innuendo, but it's hard to argue with the lost treasures of artists like Ruby Johnson, the Chiffons, and Garnet Mimms. This show is a 15th birthday party for Bloodshot Records, the Cobras' current home, as well as a benefit for labelmates Lawrence Peters and the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, who are both struggling with some serious medical bills. Donations of canned food for the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago will get you discounted drinks, and there will be free Santullo's pizza while it lasts (which won't be long). —Ann Sterzinger

Price: $10 suggested donation.

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