VENUE – The Waterloo, Blackpool
DATE – 31st August 2023
Words and photographs – Graeme Wright
Additional photography – Nicola Warren
South Africa is not a country renowned on these shores for its Heavy Metal bands, so when I read about the origins of the Pretoria-based L.A. Cobra I knew I had to take the trip up the M6 to the UK’s best intimate venue (The Waterloo Bar in Blackpool) to check them out. They’ve been “breaking hearts and melting faces” since 2005 and are described as “Sleaze Rocking Hair Metal Stars” by their own record label. At first glance these boys look like proper rock stars and as they hit the stage for their opening song ‘Chemical Dependency’ it’s clear that they largely eschew the current modern aggressive Metal style that many bands have picked up on. Instead, they are proud to wear the influences of Guns’N Roses, Motley Crue and in particular early Skid Row on their sleeves.
So, they clearly look the part but can they cut the mustard musically? I’m happy to report that the answer is a resounding yes! Although the venue is not full tonight (there have been so many shows in the North West this week that the target audience has been stretched mightily thin), this band don’t care and from the start of this set, they are high energy and cool personified. Bass player Ewil, with his huge Scouser moustache that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the Kop at Anfield in the eighties, is clearly the joker of the pack and is having the time of his life. Drummer Callie “The Animal” is well-named and thrashes the skins within an inch of their life for the entire set. Guitarist Slade has already had quite an effect on the ladies in the audience (including my missus) and looks every inch the Rock Star, while singer Don Cobra works the crowd effortlessly and is the perfect frontman.
The main thing to note is that the band have three full-length albums behind them of uniformly strong material and tonight it’s all killer and no filler, every track being both powerful and immediate. They can clearly write big hooks and choruses in their sleep so it’s difficult to pick out a highlight. ‘Sell Your Soul (Little Girl) and ‘Shotgun Slinger’ were the two stand-out cuts of the evening for me, while the cover of Poisons ‘Look What The Cat Dragged In’ was ecstatically received by the Blackpool audience. Everything about the show was on point tonight. All four band members are quality musicians, the audio in the venue was excellent and it was brilliant to see that everybody on either side of the stage was having a great time.
The band had already received great reviews from their set at HRH Sleaze in Sheffield and hopefully, the buzz from that show and the reviews from this headline tour will mean that we won’t have to wait too long for these boys to take the trip over to the UK again. I had a great time at tonight’s show and I’m certain anyone reading this will love them too.
Don Cobra – Vocals and Guitar
Slade – Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals
Ewil Honey – Bass Guitar and Backing Vocals
Callie (The Animal) – Drums
- Chemical Dependency
- The Star
- Stray Cat
- She’s My Prison
- Somebody To Love
- Sell Your Soul Little Girl/Ride
- Strange Desires
- Shotgun Slinger
- Look What The Cat Dragged In
- Rock N Roll Pretoria
- Running Wild