By SEREENE CONNEELEY
COBRA Club, the hard rock club held weekly in the western suburbs of Sydney, turns three years old this month.In a time of changing trends and shifting loyalties, it is a huge achievement for a club to hang in there through the hard times of the recession and keep on pumping out the music and atmosphere of four hard rock bands a night. Danny and Susan, together with a dedicated team of people, started the club because they wanted somewhere to go.
“The aim was just to make sure it stayed around so I always had somewhere to go, somewhere I could hang out with people like me and see the bands that I like and hear the music I like,” Danny says. “It was an opportunity of doing something new and different and doing it properly. We’d done lots of gigs in the past, organising concerts at various venues, touring bands, but this was different.”
In its three years the physical existence of the Cobra Club has changed a little, moving from the smaller and ‘more intimate’ Asylum to Club Parradise, still in Parramatta, but, “Instead of having a small room, it’s turned into a two-storey big room, with a pool table area and live bands downstairs”.
The music that’s played by the bands and the DJs has evolved slightly over the years, with the emergence of the Seattle scene, the waning of acts like Bon Jovi and the rising popularity of Pantera and their ilk, but the
general style remains.
According to Danny it’s good hard rock music, and that’s the way it’s staying.
“We’ve got a very loyal group of people that make the Cobra Club what it is, plus it seems there’s a big flow through of people as well, and I just don’t want to alienate any of them,” he says.
“We spent a lot of time building it up as a place where all those people would feel comfortable — especially girls, they don’t get hassled — and I’d just rather keep it that way. I mean, if there was a huge groundswell, an uprising from the people that go there wanting thrash and stuff then I’d have to consider it. But nobody complains. We did do a special with Kreator recently, which was quite interesting.”
But that was the exception rather than the rule. Danny originally got into hard rock music when he was on holiday 12 years ago. He saw a band he thought was fantastic [Danny, from Perth, saw Egypt in Adelaide J-Ed], and they told him they couldn’t any get gigs. So he threw in his job, exchanged the three piece suit for a black t-shirt and jeans, flew to Sydney and became a band manager.
That evolved into the Cobra Club, which has been a regular venue for local bands such as The Poor Boys, Judge Mercy, The Candy Harlots and Kilswitch, as well as bands from all over Australia.
“We like to bring bands in from all over the country, to promote trades between interstate venues, so they’ll take Sydney bands, and so that Sydney people can get to see bands they wouldn’t ordinarily get to see. We go out of our way to get them,” Danny says.
“A few promoters who are planning to bring out international bands have approached us and asked if we’ll do a ‘Cobra Club Presents’ all around the country, which we’re definitely thinking about. And we’re also considering offers from a few venues interstate to set up permanent Cobra Clubs.”
As well as the usual weekly give aways, the club has presented punters with cars as major prizes and recently a week for two plus return airfares to the Whitsundays was won. In June they’ll be giving away some leather jackets. Musically, high-lights have included Push Push, Scatterbrain, Faith No More, Ian Gillen and Head Like A Hole, plus ‘meet and greets’ with Kreator, Ugly Kid Joe, Nelson and Lita Ford. Scatterbrain went there while they were in Sydney, Rhinobucket jumped up for an impromptu gig while they were at the club and the Baby Animals, Screaming Jets and Judge Mercy played there before any of them became as successful as they are today.
The Cobra Club also presented the world premier album launches for Guns N’Roses (Use Your Illusion I & II) and Metallica (Metallica), launching them before the rest of the world due to the time differences. And they keep constantly up-to-date with the latest releases in Australia, both CDs and videos, so everybody gets to hear new music while its current.
There’s always new things in the works — like the Cobra Club radio station that is under consideration. And they have just negotiated permission from Club Parradise to run an under-18s Cobra Club, on the last Wednesday of every month. “At this point in brae were just trying to get it together, and were very interested in getting letters from people who will be able to attend an under-18s function telling us what they want,” Danny says.
“It’s just for under-18s because the licensing laws actually don’t permit over-18s into under-18s things in clubs. It’s very strange. Imagine, ‘Can I see your ID? Sorry, you’re over-18, you can’t come in’.
“We’re looking at starting it in the last week of June, which is the first week of the school holidays. We’re not sure who well put on yet – hopefully we’ll get a huge response.”
Send your thoughts to P0 Box 540, Leichhardt NSW 2040. Big things are planned for the birthday celebrations on June 17. Kllswltch, Savage Heart, Adelaide band Kickstart and Melbourne’s Call Of The Wild will perform live and drinks will be $1 all night.
“I just said to the owners, ‘Let’s give ’em something back’, and they said, ‘Well, they’ve been good to us, so we’ll be good to them’. Which is very nice,” Danny says with a smile. Sure will be!