Early in the Detroit Cobras set at The Beachland Ballroom, singer Rachel Nagy had to give the Cleveland audience a lecture. There she was, under the hot lights of the stage. The light, she said was beaming down from heaven judging her hard life. Her dress was tight and short and she had nowhere to hide. Then, in her rough, soulful voice, she implored the crowd to dance. If she could get her fat a** in that dress (her words, not mine), then surely the crowd could go to the bar, get another drink, and do whatever they needed to do, to loosen up a bit. She had a point. When Nagy and her band crank out their super charged versions of obscure r&b and soul numbers like “(Ya Ya Ya) Looking For My Baby,” “Bad Girl,” “You Don’t Knock,” and “Hey Sailor,” it’s much easier to shake your stuff than it is to stand stiff with beer in hand. Maybe we needed that lecture, or maybe the laws of a** shaking finally set in, but after that short lecture, the ballroom finally began to resemble the Saturday night dance party that a Detroit Cobras show should be.

Guitarist Aric Bohn did his best to turn The Willowz set into a trainwreck. He looked and acted like he had been boozing at the all day Kenny Chesney tailgate party outside of Cleveland Browns Stadium. If he wasn’t chucking his guitar at the amp, he was muttering gibberish into his mic. What a shame. I really enjoyed The Willowz latest release, the riff heavy Chautauqua, and was looking forward to seeing them live. The set started so promising, too, with drummer Ted Humphrey shaking the sh*t out of his kit on the ominous blues monster “Beware.” Vocalist/guitarist Richie Frollin, bassist Jessica Reynoza, and Humphrey did their best to prevent their night at The Beachland from being a total waste. Yet, Bohn wasn’t satisfied with chucking one guitar. While the rest of the band were engaged in the end of set freakout, he decided to so some cartwheels as he exited the stage, mutter more nonsense, then chuck a second guitar. It was more impressive than his first attempt at guitar chucking. It went from off stage all the way to the bass drum at center stage. Nice. This was their first night on tour with The Detroit Cobras, and thanks to the antics of Bohn, I imagine it’s only going to get more interesting as they wind their way through the states.

Cleveland’s Boatzz took the stage first with a set that featured a number of new jams. After a recent trip to Zombie Proof studios to record two tracks an upcoming split 7″ with the Doctor Teeeth, they emerged with a few extras. The new jams build upon their modern rock, soul, and garage sound by adding tighter musicianship, a little more patience, and a new found appreciation for instrumental breakdowns. I’m looking forward to hearing the finished work.