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Girl In A Coma / Miss Derringer / Killola
7.18.09 | Knitting Factory | Los Angeles

review by Chad Elder

What a breath of fresh air.

After focusing my recent musical pursuits on angry testosterone-fueled hardcore (in my defense, I do not follow hardcore or buy hardcore albums or really even know what hardcore means or how it differs from other forms of screaming, I just happen to have found myself at hardcore shows recently), the Knitting Factory offers a moment of respite on Saturday evening with Girl In A Coma and local lass lead bands, Miss Derringer and Killola. After barely surviving my first ever on-camera interview with Girl In A Coma a few hours prior, the energy from the packed venue brought me back to life in time for Killola to kick off the night.

Killola front woman, Lisa Rieffel, owns the stage as the band blasts through their own brand of pop rock with serious attitude. Killola proves to be the perfect openers for the night, as their energy meshes well with the crowd and the bands to follow. While tearing up the LA scene is enough to draw a legion of their own fans, the people that are there for Miss Derringer and Girl In A Coma quickly become fans, as the band immediately impresses.

Lisa leads with a sassy finesse, ranging from sexy songstress to raging dominatrix. The rest of the band remains subdued as Lisa stalks from side to side, interacting with crowd and her band mates - Johnny Dunn (bass), Mike Ball (guitar) and Dan Grody (drums). The initial lull and disappointment that often comes with many opening bands is put to rest early and for good as Killola starts the night right. You can download Killola's latest album, I Am The Messer, for free at www.killola.com/free. Visit www.myspace.com/killola for more info.

Much anticipation accompanies Miss Derringer as they take the stage next. They've been on tour with Girl In A Coma all summer, and this night is a much awaited, albeit brief, homecoming for the band.

Their unique sound pulls its influence from a wide range of musical history, from 60s girl groups through early punk to rockabilly, yet they do it all with a 21st century flair. Singer Liz McGrath, in her cute-as-a-button dress and hat ensemble, theatrically pouts and flirts as she performs. Liz and guitarist/husband Morgan Slade are a perfect compliment to one another, her with tiny voice and fists on hips and he with jangling guitar and gruff backing vocals.

The sound is rounded out by Sylvain de Muizon, Cody James, and Ben Shields on bass, drums, and guitar respectively. None of the sounds could exist alone, but together they are a perfect sonic convergence. Their new album, Winter Hill, is out now. Visit www.myspace.com/missderringer for more info.

This unique night is rounded out perfectly by Girl In A Coma, who play for over an hour to a hot and sweaty and loving crowd. The girls from San Antonio show the energy and sound that have impressed such music luminaries as Joan Jett and Dave Navarro.

The three-piece is tight with a practiced sound that is accomplished through their long history together. We are lucky that Girl In A Coma has survived the music industry and thrived. Nina Diaz's voice is other worldly; sickly sweet with a hint of mid 20th century flair and a punk attitude. The music is a backdrop for this amazing voice, but never steals from it. With Jenn Alva on bass and Phanie Diaz on drums, the band pays homage to their heroes at the same time they are becoming heroes for a new generation of girls and boys. The crowd sings along to songs from GIAC's new album Trio B.C., as well as their older songs. Girl In A Coma’s fans are passionate and the ladies magnify this passion on stage. Check them out at www.myspace.com/girlsinacoma.

The evening began with me sweating profusely while interviewing Girl in a Coma, and ended with me sweating profusely while packed into the Knitting Factory listening to this amazing band. Along the way I was treated to arousing performances by two exciting Los Angeles bands. If I could watch performances like these every night, I would never have to see another hardcore band in my life. Please come back soon Girl In A Coma!