A Coma And Von Iva Show
Last Friday the echoes of a new musical age passed by, if you are familiar with the Doppler effect you might understand. Girl In A Coma, Von Iva, and Goodbye Gadget came to town, passing by like comets or meteors hurling the force of their sound against a silent landscape.
There have been very few moments when I have felt close to the edge of genius, last night was one of those moments. We all know how tired we are of listening to classic rock on the radio, this being largely a male dominated industry, Its relieving that out there in space there are stars being formed out of women. Rock and roll is a mass of dead dust, and out of that tragedy of a long dead star, come these three bands to breathe life back into music. I interviewed Von Iva and Girl In A Coma both had their own perceptions of music and defined ideas about their work.
Walking into The Blank Club you hear the sounds of Goodbye Gadget, the basic elements are there, drums, keyboard, guitar, and vocals. My writing falls short of the phenomenon that these three bands produce. Goodbye Gadget is playing, “Bitter Freedom” as the disco ball is scattering red dots over the crowd, the sound leaks outside.
The girls from Von Iva walk out with us towards the Greyhound station across the street, standing behind a slot machine they tell us about their music. Kelly, Jill, and Rebecca are dressed in very glamorous outfits, Jill with her Joy Division shirt tells us about the sounds that they produce. The funk and soulful sound that comes out when these women are together is mesmerizing, Jill tells me about how she had grown up listening to Motown and old soulful music, Kelly tells me about her fascination with old disco and funk. She tells me that she admired, (like most great musicians do) the drums of someone's album, Drummers whose names and talent were overlooked for one reason or another. Despite their influences of 70's rock, funk, and disco they have managed to produce a sound all their own, with songs like, “Guise” you are immediately drawn in. The drums pushing itself over the room, the synthesizer moving the crowd and Jill's soulful rhythmic voice calling you to dance. Von Iva's glamour mirrors their outstanding original sound. Kelly tells me the drive that they have is not grounded in getting a record deal but spreading the music to as many people as possible. One of the most intelligent things a musician can say, knowing that one's true success lies with the people that they reach out to. Von Iva's character, presence, and music show us that an artist has to play by his own rules to be appreciated and loved.
As we walk back to The Blank Club the girls from Von Iva tell us their mission to rock our brains off, a clear objective in a world slowly deteriorating, A place waiting for new musical icons. With songs like, “ Guise”, “Birds Of Prey”, and “ Hypnotize” one is instantly moved.
Outside people are still arriving, the bouncer is standing guard of the door, a stamp is placed in my right arm. Nina from Girl In A Coma is outside talking, Jenn and Phanie can be seen out of the second floor window waving down at us. The bouncer won't let Nina in, being that she is 20 years old. I think to myself that a star like Nina shouldn't be treated like this, waiting on people that should really be waiting on her. Nina has these profound eyes under her thick brows that stare deep inside you, we talk about her musical influences, sound, and literary influences.
She tells me that originally her sister had introduced her to The Smiths, The Pixies, and then moved on to listening to Fiona Apple, Billy Holiday, and The Smashing Pumpkins.
“As you grow older your obsessions evolve, you never really get rid of them, they mature with you in time”, she tells me. Nina's deep felt poetry seeps into your heart through her profound voice. Phannie and Jenn combine their musical elements to produce the sound called, “Girl In A Coma”, just from hearing them you know that these women are craftsmen at what they do.
I ask Nina what she thinks about the Industry, and being put in a genre of music.
“A band should not be forced to become anything, a band should always follow what they think is best. They should not change for anyone.” Nina says this knowing what she is part of. Her band, her music, and integrity are made one with her words.
Nina is a great songwriter, and for a young woman as her to produce such poetry is admirable. She tells me that her song's all emerge out of her subconscious, that there is no real process.
“Both Before I'm Gone”, the album title reminds me of Dorothy Parker's poetry books, like “ Enough Rope”, and “Death And Taxes”. Titles that although not clear insinuates one's mortality, or having something before an unavoidable end. The writers she is currently reading are Sylvia Plath and J.D. Salinger, both controversial and eccentric icons in American literature. Towards the end of our interview Nina has told me a lot, but I still question if her poetry comes out of a process or her subconscious. The mysterious origins of an artist work has always left us pondering.
When they get on stage I feel like Odysseus when he travels through the land of the Sirens. The overwhelming sound of her voice and their music is as deep as their hypnotic presence. Songs like, “Say”, “Celibate Now”, ”Sybil Vane…” and “Their Cell” are just some of the girl's work of art, artwork that keeps drawing you in after every listen.
Goodbye Gadget, Von Iva, and Girl In A Coma are truly a sight to be seen. These women are a defiant burst of energy, so next time you hear this burning star pass by be sure to come and watch. Maybe some of its pieces will land on this earth; the impact of sound will leave you wanting more as it fades into the night.
For more information on the bands check out their websites and Myspace at Goodbye Gadget.com, Voniva.com, and Myspace.com/girlsinacoma.