The Detroit Cobras played at The Earl Friday night and it was the first time I had seen them live. The band covers oldies and R&B and seems more at home in a dive bar than anywhere. Lead singer Rachel Nagy had a presence that was as imposing as her voice is powerful. She had a lit cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other, constantly replacing them both as she sang one short and soulful song after another. While being covers, the band reinvents each song as their own, pouring a whole new attitude into the music that makes the crowd shake their hips involuntarily.
Pitchfork had this to say about the band: "Covering old cuts of r&b and soul as they do, you might expect Cobras vocalist Rachel Nagy to try on her damndest Carla Thomas or Aretha Franklin, or at least sing with cockeyed arm on hip. But instead Nagy sings with a cocky, slow-burn confidence that's throaty enough to handle the material but is all kinds of unique, too. Her voice places the Cobras on the cusp between purism and reinterpretation."