Brad Basker feels the fangs of Cobra Starship

I stood behind the main stage of the University of Houston’s Frontier Fiesta surveying the surrounding festivities. Children played overpriced games for cheap toys, and college students paid for overpriced beers. It was then that the clouds above me parted, lights dazzled and a vessel descended from the future. It was Gabe Saporta (vocals), Ryland Blackinton (guitar), Alex Suarez (Bass), Nate Novarro (Drums) and Victoria Asher (keytar). They are formally known as Cobra Starship, and they came to party.

Cobra Starship is a New York based group that professes to have been recruited by a futuristic cobra to ensure that humanity goes out in style. The bands concept is brilliantly outlandish, without making them seem ridiculous.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We just want to play music,” said Suarez. “If you come to a show you’ll understand. It’s just like a party.”

I had the privilege of meeting with Suarez under a tent next to a sausage booth, while he explained to me everything from The Way of the Cobra to penny loafers. He said that Cobra Starship was about a lot more than flashy dance moves and lights, and that, “Everything Cobra, is the only way to be.”

Cobra Starship has toured with artists like Fallout Boy, Panic at the Disco and Gym Class Heroes, and include “electronic stuff”, mad 80s jams, “gnarliness”, “today” and “tomorrow” in addition to being influenced by their peers.

When I asked Suarez what he thought about Starship being compared to Parliament Funkadelic, his eyes lit up with responsive wonder. He then proceeded to “drop some serious knowledge” on me.

“It’s a little known fact, but Ryland played a few shows with the P-Funk,” said Suarez. “They gave him a purple cape, and called him Ry-Black.”

Even when the members of Cobra Starship aren’t flying around the cosmos they continue to work on their music. A lot of communication is done through the internet, and they’re always looking forward to their future projects. Suarez says that the crew is waiting to see what will happen, but hints that they constantly compile new material and ideas with their sights set on a third album.

The Cobras sold out every show in fifty cities on their first headlining tour. This includes two encore concerts in New York and Boston. The success they have experienced so far compiled with devotion and creativity from fans, plays a big part in the party to end all parties.

All laughs and loafers aside, when Cobra Starship took the stage, they were focused on their mission. The stage could hardly contain the luminescent energy that they gave off. Saporta conducted only the flashiest of dance moves, while Vicki’s keytar played the fans into the cobra nebula.

Their sophomore release, Viva la Cobra, is a sure buy, but in order to embrace the Way of the Cobra until you see the band on stage. Their energy is understood through the expression and personalization of their performance.

“If you haven’t seen a show we’ll be around really soon,” said Suarez.

Once the screams had settled one by one the brave Cobra’s ascended to their shuttle. “Fangs Up!” followed by the “Cobra Gang Sign”, was the last I saw that night

You can catch the space expedition on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien, this Thursday.

To view Starship’s merchandise and tour dates, Visit their Web site at

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