Due to being a part of the “Cobra Crew” and being a quick ticket buyer, my friends and I received a Meet and Greet opportunity for Cobra Starship. However, due to poor planning, I left anything I could have had signed in my apartment when I went home for Thanksgiving, and so I was left standing in the M&G line with nothing but my ticket.
I find Meet and Greets to be really awkward. You walk up to a band, hand them something to sign, and then take a picture with them. But remember, these are people you don’t know, and you have to make some sort of small talk, not just shove your to-be-autographed item at them. So I often end up just smiling really big and starting off with a very peppy hello and some variation on how much I liked the last cd/live performance/music video/etc. This often leads to very favorable, non-creepy interactions. Last night was no different, though I made a comment about how they all looked so tired and I wanted to send them all to take naps not make them stand there signing things (way to be creepy, Alex) and Victoria said she was really tired and Gabe said that he’d just woken up from a nap that had contained some very bad dreams. I didn’t ask. All of the Cobras are very friendly and super nice to fans, and I even got a smile out of their very shy drummer, Nate, so all was well with the world.
(As a side note, here’s a super old, poorly written livejournal entry from the first time I met Cobra at Warped Tour. Even then they were expressing their Weezer love.)
So the first band to play wasn’t really a band, but two boys on acoustics. They were actually really good. The main musician was Gregory James, and his music was really cute and fresh and catchy. Sure, it’s just two boys playing pop rock on acoustics, but it was good pop rock on acoustics. Honestly, I liked him a lot better live than his recordings online, and I wish I’d gotten video of him, but “Hi” was definitely my favorite.
Next up was VersaEmerge. I’m kind of confused by them. I got a very Nightmare Before Christmas vibe from them, from the keyboard (which was a track, unless there was an invisible keyboard player onstage. Down with tracks in live performances!) to the lead singer’s microphone clutching, eye-rolling performance. It seemed vaguely gothic, but a strange goth caricature of scene music. I don’t know what they were going for, but there were a ton of people there who loved them. They ended the set with a song called “Polar Bear” which I can’t seem to find online (Edit: Turns out this title was a joke - the song's actually called "Whisperer." It says something, though, that I couldn't tell the girl was joking about a song called "Polar Bear"). Nothing about their set really stood out for me except for my confusion.
A Rocket to the Moon was next. The lead singer’s hair! It is ridiculous and huge! I’m torn between it being awesome-ridiculous or stupid-ridiculous. His attitude was a little off, or maybe he was a bit tired from the tour – when The Maine tried to prank him, and overrode his microphone so that they pretended to talk for him, he didn’t laugh or smile, he just let them know they were being lame and told them to stop. Ehh. Regardless, I liked his music a lot. His songs are the kind that you want to be sung about you, to you, from a long boy in a room on an acoustic. Except maybe “Annabelle.” I don’t think I want that one sung about me. But seriously, listen to “If Only They Knew” or “Dakota” and tell me you don’t want that coming from a boy sitting across from you strumming softly. “Like We Used To” was my favorite, even though it’s a touch sad.
Next was The Maine. They’re a band that’s been kicking around on my mp3 player due to a mix CD, and over the past year or so “The Way We Talk” has really grown on me. I was pumped when they played it, but the rest of their set was kind of lackluster. It was good, but the crowd was kind of dead, and so I think they were lacking the extra boost of energy they needed to make a stellar performance.
However I do at this point need to comment on one woman who was certainly not dead. No, there was on drunken mother (grandmother?) who was dancing on a booth. I am not lying to you. This woman had to be over 50 and was drunk dancing to scene music on a booth. It was one of the best things I’ve seen in a while. I only wish she had stuck around longer – if only she’d been around for the Cobra set, for she was the epitome of a Hot Mess.
And next up was Cobra Starship. They played a bunch of new songs that I hadn’t seen live, including “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Nice Guys Finish Last,” and “Hot Mess.” It was awesome. This was my sixth Cobra show and they’re keeping the standard high. They did use a few tracks to fill in some of the sounds on the new album (no! I do protest!) but other than that they were good old Cobra. Before “Bring It” Gabe did his customary explanation of “Fangs Up” and told even the moms in the back to throw up their fangs, but added in this time that really the fangs are a symbol of unity, that no matter who you are you’re a cobra. It was a nice touch.
Of course there was also Suarez with the maracas, Victoria hitting some awesome notes on “Good Girls Go Bad,” and Nate rocking out on the drums. Also, Ryland’s voice (because he’s still picking up a lot more vocals than he did before Gabe’s surgery) continues to be very good. They should really have him singing more. I mean, he’s got time in between playing both the keyboard and the guitar in the same song to squeeze in more vocals, right?
And finally, Boys Like Girls. I’ve never been a Boys Like Girls fan, but only because I didn’t really know anything by them. “Love Drunk” was always on the radio while I was commuting this summer, so I really liked that song, but I knew nothing else. It didn’t really matter though, because they were pumped to be playing a hometown show and the crowd loved them. It was a fun rock set, complete with rockstar attitude and swooning fangirls. A little over the top? Maybe, but it was alright because they backed it with strong songs and a lot of energy. They pulled one of their moms up onstage at one point, which was great, but then they failed a little bit. The lead singer called for a circle pit to be opened up... in the middle of the fourteen year old girls. They had no idea what he was asking for and just stared at him for a while. Finally someone near the back got the idea and opened up the weakest pit ever and scared the small girls, but it was kind of funny.
Their encore began with a drum solo, which was wicked awesome. Their drummer is so, so good. I was honestly brought back to Travis Barker’s encore drum solo of this summer. Huge props to the kid, he was great. For the final song, “The Great Escape”, they invited all of the crowd to get up on stage with them, and about half of them fit. There was a lot of bad dancing on that stage but everyone was having a good time. I did laugh a little at the fan that the lead singer kissed at the end though. She did the perfect “Oh my god he touched me!” face, complete with shocked open mouth, wide eyes, and fluttering hands by the side of her face. It was the perfect, cliched ending to the night.