Cobra Verde’s members are not beautiful, so it initially seems odd to describe the group as “glam” just because the Cleveland rockers wear leopard-print shirts and crib riffs from Marc Bolan and David Bowie. But Cobra Verde is filled with showmen, the kind of rockers who know why a stage is raised up above the audience and why a performance entails more than merely strumming a guitar until the song is done. It involves making believe you are a star despite driving around in a crappy van, having no dressing room, stinking, drinking, and—in the case of Cobra Verde frontman John Petkovic—thinking. An arts writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a music critic for Alternative Press magazine, and a passionate objector to the war in the Balkans, Petkovic writes literate, smart-aleck lyrics. Cobra Verde’s latest CD, Nightlife, expertly wraps up his catholic concerns. See a real rock show when the band performs with Vanity Champ, Signs Point to Yes, and Caligari at 9:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $6. (202) 667-7960. (Christopher Porter)