Written by Washington Post Express contributor Alfredo Flores
IT'S TOUGH TO take a band seriously when it launches its career by singing the theme for the novelty flick "Snakes on a Plane," and its members wear neon-colored clothes from the '80s and perform before two giant screens that say "Get Awesome." But that's exactly how pop-punk band Cobra Starship likes it. "We like to party a lot, so we like to make music we would party to," said Cobra bassist Alex Suarez. "We don't take it too seriously, because we've all been in bands where they took it very seriously. Music should be fun and be awesome. There you go." The band's new CD, the Patrick Stump (of Fall Out Boy)-produced "Viva La Cobra!," is an ode to all they like (sex, partying, drinking) and like to make fun of (plastic surgery, celebrities' decadent lifestyles). The eclectic, dance-friendly rock track "Smile for the Paparazzi," Cobra's ode to those who do everything they can to get close to celebrities, mocks the celeb-hungry with a snide chorus. "People who are famous for balling, it's just a phenomenon," said Suarez. "We laugh at all of it." The lighthearted fivesome are nothing if not inventive, their lyrics — backed by groovy electro-hooks — are quirky with lines like "Girl, I dig your fanny pack" (in "Damn You Look Good and I'm Drunk [Scandalous]"), "Playtime for the young and rich … designer drugs for designer friends" ("The City Is at War"), and "If the world is ending, I'm throwing the party" ("Guilty Pleasure"). Officially, the band's name came from what was on the back of one of Cobra frontman Gabe Saporta's vintage jackets, but unofficially he was tripping on peyote when a cobra bit him and told him to tell emo kids to stop pouting. He indeed took a drastic turn from the darker, moodier music of his former punk band, Midtown. Cobra's live shows reflect the band members' carefree nature. They put their "fangs up" (index and middle finger curled to form fangs) and dance, and even have a rocking keytarist in Victoria Asher. "What would be more authentic ['80s] than a keyboard you can play like a guitar?" said Suarez of the keytar. "Plus, it looks really sweet and seems to bring the fans closer to the stage, shaking their booty." » Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md.; with Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, 50 Cent, Hey Monday; Sat., Apr. 25, doors open 5 p.m., $36; 202-265-0930.