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Girl in a Coma
Saturday, 29 August 2009
Oh man, last night was fun. I saw Girl in a Coma and they rocked the White Rabbit like only true hometown heroes can. Let me rewind…

I first saw GIAC a few years ago in Austin at the Beauty Bar. I was impressed, but the venue is so horrible it distracted from their charm. It was hard not to notice that this band made up of three girls was… different. Jenn on bass and Phanie on drums are a rock steady, solid body rhythm section with no shortage of cymbal crash and thrash. Up front is Nina on guitar, a petite brown eyed beauty who’s voice can croon and howl and bring magic to the room. You just know they are special… But why?

Do I really have to answer that question? Is that a question that can be answered? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but bravery on stage is a different thing. You see it when people know that what they are doing is vital, they are blowing there own minds. It often happens in theater and dance, but actors and dancers are people who are essentially exhibitionists and good at making fools of themselves, and are proud of that. Rock and roll at it’s best has less pretension, or so much of it that it transcends camp. GIAC have all of that in spades and they know it.

I had the pleasure of meeting all three of the girls (They have the well earned distinction of being known as “The girls” here in San Antonio) last night and are they true blue or what? First I met Nina. Nina Diaz. If she wasn’t such a tornado of a performer I would just talk about her beauty. A dark haired, brown eyed girl with a gentle and reserved hand shake. A knock out. You can tell that she is very gifted, yet she really isn’t trying to re-write the book of rock. Her voice is prone to croon, and is perfectly punctuated by Jenn’s back up vocal blasts that remind me of the Misfits at their melodic best. When I met her before the show she was wearing a very pretty dress. She wore that dress on stage and toward the end of the show the light color of the gauzy fabric had begun to turn black with her sweat. Pretty to punk in about ten minutes. Nina is an electrifying performer and I think her reach will one day extend past Girl in a Coma. I don’t mean that in an ominous way, but her performance abilities are obviously very broad.

Then I met Jenn. A strong girl with a million dollar smile. Riot girl does not do this bassist justice. She’s a fucking war. I introduced myself and she had a firm handshake. Bass players often do. You get the feeling that Jenn sets the tone for the band. Something about Elvis, rockabilly… Greased lightning. During “Their Cell” you see her just enjoying the drums thump and Nina’s pained voice as she drops the bass out near the end of the song. A bass player that knows the value of negative space is key to genius rock and roll.

And Phanie. I met her last and I told her that in my opinion she was currently the most iconic drummer in rock. And I meant it. She knew I did and bear hugged me in all sincerity. I told her to read this and I would write why I think that.

Why do I think that about Phanie? OK, real talk. She’s not a small girl. She’s not all dolled up. She’s a punk rocker. She’s Mexican. She’s not into guys. Her beauty radiates like laser beams behind those drums and as Nina’s big sister you know she has helped to shape the mind of one of today’s most talented front ladies. It’s about breaking molds with this drummer and one can only imagine what inspiration she’s going to be into the future for girls everywhere who don’t want to be cheerleaders, girls who like wearing Chucks. Girls that want to pound on the drums. There’s just something about the whole band that feels heroic and Phanie for some reason seems to embody that spirit the most.

And that’s the other thing. These girls are of San Antonio. San Antonio’s own. Watching them play to their hometown crowd was exciting and really put the pretentiousness of Austin’s music scene in perspective. Most bands from Austin seem foreign, because they feign like they’re from somewhere else (Brooklyn, mostly…). GIAC at home, surrounded by family and fans that are proud to have them was the perfect setting, and I was there. when I met them I basically just said hi and told them that I thought they had something special going on. And they do…

To be really real, I have to mention my one complaint about the show (besides the painfully understaffed bar at White Rabbit). For most of the concert there was some guy with long hair and a beard practically standing on the stage behind Nina. WTF? Sure it’s cool to be pals with the band and get to watch from backstage, but people should show some respect and be a bit more discrete about it.

Anyway, aside from that slight annoyance the girls tore through all the favorites and then some. They rocked out and the crowd poured love back at them. It takes a lot to get me going about rock music but these young ladies have the magic touch. I’m lucky to be here in San Antonio to witness this phenomenon first hand and it will be fun to see what they come up with next. Did I mention that they are on Joan Jett’s record label? How cool is that? Not unlike their beloved Morrisey, Girl in a Coma stand tall as a champion of people who may feel different, alienated, or straight up persecuted. A little heartbreak? Check. Rebel attitude? Double check. Power, beauty, and sonic authority are what they bring to the table, and I’m there.

Girl in a Coma, I know, I know, it’s serious…