Thursday, Nov. 17
Radio Radio. San Antonio-based trio Girl in a Coma stopped in Indy at Radio Radio on Thursday night, just two weeks into their tour to promote their new album Exits and All the Rest, released earlier this month via Joan Jett’s record label Blackheart Records. Far from being comatose, the girls played grunged-up versions of tracks from the new album as well as some of their old standbys and even a Beatles cover.
Fronted by lead guitarist and singer Nina Diaz, the group opened with “One Eyed Fool,” a track off of the new album. Staring intensely at the audience, her dark eyes wide and focused, Diaz’s vocals didn’t seem to be coming through properly. It seemed almost as though she were hoarse or that her throat was worn out.
However, that was remedied when she asked for a little more volume to her mic between songs. When they played the next song, “Static Age,” from their 2009 album Trio B.C., it was apparent things were under control and her voice was seemed to be cutting through the music a little better. And it’s a good thing, too, because her strident-yet-sweet vocals are one of the main reasons to listen to this band.
Not to dismiss Jenn Alva on bass or Phanie Diaz’s (Nina’s big sister) on drums. Alva plays an Epiphone bass that lent a rich, full sound and an almost seamless kind of undercarriage to the performance, while Phanie Diaz showed her punk roots on drums with good fills and lots of cymbal work in the right places.
What was most apparent during this show was the grungey, alt-rock sound these girls have when playing live: they slow the tempo down a little bit, add more distortion, and seem to linger over the chords a little bit more. This was especially apparent on the song “Control.” Grunge mode doesn’t seem the best way to showcase Nina’s voice, but it makes for a better live performance.
After “Control” they punked up a version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” by the Beatles, which was kind of fun. Next they played their single from Exits, called “Smart,” a totally wistful, '80s emo song that harkens back to their primary influences, like The Smiths.
Opening for GIAC was Atlanta, Ga.-based The Coathangers. Also an all-girl band, The Coathangers put on one of the most fun live performances I’ve seen in a while. This raven-haired post-punk foursome have an energetic, playful style in the vein of Delta 5. Lead singer Julia Kugel sings most of the time in a back-of-the-throat sort of rattle, like a little girl throwing a tantrum, while Candice Jones plays a trippy keyboard/synth with her black hair hanging down over her face. Drummer Stephanie Luke got up to play guitar a few times, but the highlight of the show was when the petite, pony-tailed bassist Meredith Franco took the mic on the sassy, quirky song “Nestle With My Boobies,” and bopped right off the stage into the audience.
Black Box Revelation warmed up the night. The only male musicians to play that night, this Belgian duo play a kind of bluesy-rock in the vein of the Black Keys.