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Review: Girl in a Coma at Bender’s Tavern

at Bender’s Tavern August 27th

We all need a little inspiration some days, and I received a big dose of it from Girl in a Coma who performed at Bender’s Tavern last night.

A band consisting of two best friends and a sister, these three young women from San Antonio have been playing shows, writing songs and touring for the past six years. They finally released their first album this year after a lot of work and a little bit of luck.

By the end of the first song at Bender’s it was obvious why Joan Jett offered them a record deal within minutes of seeing them perform for the first time: guitarist and singer Nina Diaz (the little sister) is an energetic bundle of talent. Her voice has been compared to Morrissey’s and her guitar playing has been featured on Gibson.com.

Drummer Phannie Diaz and bass player Jenn Alva were the first to recognize Nina’s singing and songwriting ability when they invited her to join their band after an impromptu tryout by the 12-year-old.

Nina is now 19 and I’m not sure where the comparisons to Morrissey come in, other than their band name, which is drawn from the famous Smiths song. Her voice is unique and doesn’t require comparisons to quantify how entertaining she is.

As Nina lost herself in her singing and playing during the set, Phannie and Jenn ably kept up by providing the backing for her intense lead guitar.

The album, “Both Before I’m Gone,” while good, doesn’t really do the live show justice. The raw energy of their performance only comes through in person. Even YouTube and their videos have so far missed the essence of what touched me in this show.

The inspirational part is seeing young musicians successfully working hard to acheive something that they really want. Maybe there really is a punk rock work ethic.