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Ice, Ice Baby 

Iceage Cobra is definitely making a go of it in Seattle. And while you have to hate the departure of local talent for the greener pastures of more metropolitan and cosmopolitan environs, it's impossible not to root for these guys, no matter where they are. Regional pride from those of us still in the 'Kan, however, isn't the only thing this three-piece has going for them. A recent show at the Liquid Lounge garnered the band some high critical praise in Seattle's edgy pop-stalwart The Stranger. And if their myspace.com page is any indication, the band is rapidly building an enviable fan base, mostly of the female variety. I'll get back to that little detail in a moment.

For the local scenesters who might have missed their last show in Spokane, Saturday night will be the perfect opportunity to show these boys some respect. The intimacy of Unified Groove Merchants offers an interesting juxtaposition -- its relatively limited confines might have trouble containing the bombastic theatricality of Iceage Cobra's sound. It's brash and buoyant, abrasive and raw. But don't take my word for it. We'll let singer-guitarist Jordan West testify.

We'll start off slowly here. Were there ever cobras during any ice age? & r & No. None that I know of. We just thought it would be really tough if there was one.

When was the last time Iceage Cobra played in Spokane?

The day after Thanksgiving. It was Morning After's farewell show. It was their night. But Saturday feels like our homecoming performance.

How does it feel to be returning to Spokane after gaining so much notoriety in Seattle? Do you feel like a conquering hero?

In a lot of ways, yeah. The whole time we were telling people [about the move to Seattle], a lot of people tried to lower our expectations of what living in Seattle is like. We have to work hard here. But things have been working out a lot. The Emergency has been helping us out. None of this would be happening if it weren't for them. We've met a lot of great promoters and venue owners who have been throwing us favors. We've come this far and we'll go even further because of the help and support we've gotten.

Has this new work ethic changed the band?

Absolutely. When we were playing in Spokane, all the people there were our friends. But in Seattle -- sure, our friends will come, but there are a lot of people who we see at all of the shows. And we don't necessarily know them. And that's awesome.

How do you envision your musical development?

That's basically what we're looking for on this tour. For a lot of people, when we play all-ages shows, they'll hear power chords and think it's total classic rock. But the vocals are rougher, definitely unpolished, because all three of us do lead vocals. For people who listen to a lot of classic rock, they think we're something new. Everyone has their own interpretation of what we're doing. And that's what I want to go for. I want to play louder and much quieter; faster and much slower. Something totally harsh. And poppy and mainstream.

I really dig "Deathmobile." Is this song's energy a fair representation of what we can expect from Saturday's show?

Absolutely. That song's become one of the more crowd-pleasers. We played Chop Suey last Tuesday and that one stole the show.

It looks like the band has scheduled two mini-tours, one in February and one in March. Are these warm-ups for the longer tour in April and May?

We weren't really planning on "mini-touring." We just wanted to get more out-of-town shows.

Regarding the longer tour, there's the Knitting Factory show in L.A. in early May and the "Hopefully Mootsy's" show back in Spokane in late May. Otherwise, there aren't many confirmed shows. What's the story?

For one thing, our work schedules make it really hard to sit down and book a tour. We also want to practice all the time. So when we have time to book a tour, we also want to sit down and practice. It's tough. I want to see if friends in these other cities can give us some information. And I'm waiting for a chance to utilize this information.

So I take it that friends are drawing you to Oklahoma City?

That was [bass player] Brad [Kaufmann]'s call. You never know where you're gonna play. One of the most enjoyable shows we played was in Walla Walla.

Referring to your myspace.com Web site, how does it feel to have so many rabid female fans? Is that part of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle I'm always hearing about?

We've met some really great girls over here in Seattle.

Back to Saturday's show: Is there any chance we'll see you play the Frampton-style talk box? I'll be mighty disappointed otherwise.

That's definitely going to be there.

And it definitely should be. So now that you know some of the goods, mark your calendars, boys and girls. It'll be a night to remember. And it will be worthwhile seeing whether the confines of Unified Groove Merchants will be able to contain the ferocious enthusiasm that West so easily conveys.

Iceage Cobra at Unified Groove Merchants with Belt of Vapor, Flee the Century, Rocky Velour and the Silvers, and Rebel Red Renegades on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 6:30 pm. Tickets $5 at the door. Call 326-4842

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