Prehistoric riffage

Seattle’s Iceage Cobra brings heavy hooks to Nick’s Night Club

HEAVY METAL YOGA<br>Iceage Cobra blows into Chico like a freakin’ unfrozen snake that will bite you hard with its fangs of rock.

Iceage Cobra blows into Chico like a freakin’ unfrozen snake that will bite you hard with its fangs of rock.

Courtesy of Iceage Cobra

When a band prides itself on work ethic and commitment to live performances as much as Seattle’s Iceage Cobra, not even the birth of a child can slow it down.

“We had a show booked the day my daughter was born and I still played,” said Jordan West, guitarist/vocalist for the riff-heavy three-piece. “I celebrated for a couple hours and then played, and it was one of our better shows.”

This dedication, coupled with a scorching repertoire of songs full of classic rock, garage and progressive rock influences, has earned Iceage Cobra a ravenous group of fans and praise in a brief period of time.

Originally from Spokane, Wash., the 24-year-old West has known drummer/vocalist Metch Brasch since elementary school. Only years later, however, when the two attended the same community college, did the beginnings of Iceage Cobra take shape. The two found a bassist, Brad Kaufmann, and after exhausting the Spokane scene, made the move to Seattle in September 2005.

“Spokane has a big ‘screamo’ scene, so our sound wasn’t doing so well,” West said of the motivations for the move. “We had only played a few shows in Seattle by the time we moved and we already had a bigger following than in Spokane.”

With Seattle’s obvious ties to the grunge movement of the early ‘90s as well as a steady history of producing some of the best rock bands, regardless of subgenre, in the country, the city’s audiences immediately latched onto Iceage Cobra.

The band’s music is unceasingly heavy yet diverse, full of passages utilizing blues-rock Zeppelin-style riffs, and fits of spastic punk and dissonant noise, and drew some easy comparisons to previous Seattle rock giants.

“We play some loud, heavy music, so some people say, ‘Oh, I hear some Nirvana or Mudhoney,'” West said. “If people latch onto that, that’s cool but it’s not necessarily what we hear.”

It’s not that Iceage Cobra doesn’t share anything in common with those bands, but simply writing them off in that way is doing a real injustice to the mix of sounds and styles they have worked to create. In fact, West confirmed that he doesn’t even own a Nirvana album.

“We listen to Motörhead and Cat Stevens in the van, you know,” he said.

After recording and releasing their album, Brilliant Ideas From Amazing People, on their own Heavy Soul record label, the band recently enlisted the help of promotion company/label In Music We Trust to assist with marketing and distributing the album.

The pummeling cymbal and power-chord assault of “Baconface Sweepstakes” sounds like a Toadies cut with a trippy T.Rex-style breakdown in the middle, while “We Gotta Move” (which the band has an awesome video for) calls to mind a heavier and distinctly American take on the current garage rock movement popularized by bands such as the Hives and Mando Diao.

West said the shifts in style can occasionally be off-putting for some, but they are simply creating music they themselves would want to hear.

“We just play what we wanna play and try to make sure everyone who comes to the show has a great time,” he said.

Just recently, Kaufmann left Iceage Cobra for personal reasons, leaving the band without a bassist. In November, they added Ben Harwood, the previous vocalist/ guitarist of a friends’ band, to fill Kaufmann’s shoes. This current tour is Harwood’s first.

With stories of past Iceage Cobra shows full of naked band members and West hanging from rafters upside-down while still playing his guitar, it’s a safe bet their stop at Nick’s Nightclub should be quite the visual and aural spectacle.