Cobra Starship / All Time Low - Manchester Academy 3 - 16.5.08
Cobra Starship are a difficult band to define and are tonight paired up with fellow American pop-punkers, All Time Low to make up the two halves of a mismatched but nevertheless entertaining co-headline show. Enthusiastic three-piece, Broadway Calls deliver some well assembled powerchord anthems and warm the stage suitably for the acts to follow.
With amazing confidence and hand claps, Cobra Starship tear into their set with a menagerie of resounding, pounding electro-dance funk. Glowsticks, bright attire and an impressive light show make this show very visual to match the musical atmosphere. About one minute into their first track technical hitches threaten the show and natural born frontman, Gabe Saporta resorts to a spontaneous and beatboxed Beastie Boys cover to fill the time. Teaching the crowd the Soldierboy dance, impromptu comedy and a little Gwen Stefani sing along also play a part in filling the ten minutes of entertaining but dead air.
Eventually the show kicks off again and Cobra Starship fill the air with waves of electronica, clean, crisp vocals and some exceptionally camp dance moves. This is a band that could win over a crowd with looks and interaction without playing a single note, which is not to say that their music is bad. Catchy choruses, plenty of whoa-ohing and some tofu based banter thrown in for free make for a fun show and a crowd favourite. Cobra Starship fill the room and spill out. You will never see the, play this small a venue again.
A disclaimer blares into the crowd's collective ears and warns explicitly and with examples of the bad language that they are in for during the next set. All Time Low set the tone and march on stage hip hop stylee to rock some comedy pop-punk. Blink 182 spring to mind as the band play some happy-go-lucky summery songs that get the crowd jumping in moderation. A few dancey numbers later, hardworking guitarist/singer Alex demands a circle pit and the rock kids oblige. Black eyes and bloody noses then ensue as All Time Low play the classic track "Let It Roll".
The suped up cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella" marks the midpoint of the set and the band are visibly tired. Although they play tightly, an unfortunately dragging second half sees a lack of movement (an essential given the genre) other than the sweat dripping from the musicians' faces. The Audience are warned of an encore en route and the band leave the stage, presumably to douse themselves in water and energy drinks, only to return and treat the fans to another three songs with a second wind of gusto.
There's not a bad band in sight tonight although there are a couple of ordinary moments that disappoint somewhat. Cobra Starship completely stole the show and are likely to become big players come 2009.
Ben Herbert

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