The Cobbs : Live

<img src="" alt=" " />Opening up for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Cobbs delivered an effective and effecting set that, by its finish, really won over New York’s Webster...

The Cobbs : LiveOpening up for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Cobbs delivered an effective and effecting set that, by its finish, really won over New York’s Webster Hall.  The five-man band was actually something of a late sub-in as opener, grabbing the spot after The Horrors backed out.  Now, The Cobbs will be accompanying BRMC on their cross-country tour, and, from what the boys from Philadelphia brought to town on Thursday, May 31st, they were a very good pick.

On their latest release, 2006’s Sing The Deathcapades, The Cobbs often displayed a sound that bore some distinct similarities to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s driving, alt-road style, matching blues-rock to indie-rock.  And that was how The Cobbs opened up their set, with Deathcapades’ single-worthy “Say You Never Knew Me”.  But that’s not all The Cobbs are – “Say” also had a wry, upbeat tinge that set it apart and helped make it great.  That sunnier attitude shined through brighter with the following number, “Don’t Walk”, a neo-Beatles power-pop, heavily leavened with irony, that owed more to Apples in Stereo than to BRMC.  Just as how Deathcapades served a mix of the two paths, so did The Cobbs at Webster Hall (QRO venue review).  After the one-two “Say”/“Walk” punch, the group delivered a similar knockout combo, with “Climb On Top” and “Meia”.  “Climb” was probably the night’s most ‘Black Rebel Motorcycle Club-ish’ piece, with dark, driving bass and guitar, which were accentuated by an attention-grabbing distorted wail from the second guitar.  And then “Meia” let the sun back again, with a rollicking beat.

The one disappointment with The Cobbs’ set (other than they only had about twenty minutes) was their song choice in its second half.  Of those four pieces, three of them were unfamiliar ones, not featured on Deathcapades.  This isn’t to take away from the unknown songs: the two that followed “Meia”, a glowing number and a more jumpy one, seemed to get to the crowd particularly well, and they ended the set with an alternating slow/rapid-fire jolt (reminiscent of art-punk icons Mission of Burma) that left the audience with something to remember.  The critique is really just that Deathcapades featured a number of other great songs that would have been a welcome addition to the night – “Go”, in particular, with its lyrics, “Here I come, NYC / It’s only you I’m needing” (whether or not those words are sung sarcastically).  The one recognizable piece of the latter four was the hauntingly atmospheric “Deathcapades”, which married The Cobbs’ twin strains, and took them to an almost psychedelic level.

Harping on ‘song choice’ is, however, more American Idol than American indie, and perhaps The Cobbs were actually playing it smart.  The audience had to be less than completely familiar with Sing The Deathcapades, meaning that the band could range from the record in a way they might not be able to, back home in Philly.  The crowd certainly seemed to enjoy the set more and more as it went on, with Webster Hall going from mostly empty with only scattered clutches of people at the start, to a really fleshed-out house by the end.  And judging from their performance, The Cobbs are set to have a lot more interested crowds in the days to come.

Concert Reviews
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