We Love Music: Girl In A Coma @ DC9, 11/9/2011

photos by Aminta S. Nieves-Candamo

San Antonio rock trio Girl In A Coma played a power-charged set to a crowded DC9 Wednesday night. They are currently in the middle of their US tour in support of their latest album Exits & All The Rest, released November 1st on Blackheart Records. They were joined by punky openers Brothers of Brazil and The Coathangers.

First up were Brothers of Brazil, a goofy, fun duo, playing a super-energized set of tunes that blended punk with bossa nova, with pleasing results. The pair looked like they stepped out of a time-machine- perfect specimens of punk rock and rockabilly from head to toe. Their set was high-energy- the drummer sometimes stepping away from his kit and running around the stage and audience, sometimes blowing a whistle, or jumping and dancing. (He looked like a combination of Green Day’s Mike Dirnt and Beetlejuice.)

Second to play were the all-girl punk rockers The Coathangers. A quartet from Atlanta, they played straighforward, raw, screamy girl punk/noise-rock. The band was full of energy and attitude. The lineup included keyboard, bass, guitar and drums, with members swapping roles/instruments a few times in their set. The vocalist’s range varied from whiny/screamy to little-girl-scolding-someone, to muppet, all equally enjoyable.

At last Girl In A Coma took the stage. They played for a solid hour, mostly sticking to their new material off of Exits & All The Rest. The band is made up of sisters Phanie and Nina Diaz (on drums and vocals/guitar, respectively) and Jenn Alva on bass. Their modus operandi is dark, moody, rockabilly-tinged rock & roll with dramatic female vocals.  They were in fine form on “Adjust“, a brooding track from their new album. Here Nina’s rich vocals were showcased amid dark bass and alternating smooth and distortion-heavy guitar. She crooned, sometimes bellowing, and added flourishes with her signature tremelos. Two of the high points of the night actually came in the form of covers, off of their Adventures in Coverland album. Early on in the set they played a beautiful, dark rock rendition of The Beatles song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Later on they gave the audience a thrill with the Spanish-guitar-laced, growly, fast-paced version of Selena’s “Si Una Vez.”

The ladies also pleased their fans with a few songs from their 2009 album Both Before I’m Gone, including their power-charged “Say.”  My only real complaint for the evening would be the sound/sound system. From where I was standing- slightly to the right of the bass player, in the second row, the vocals were muddy a lot of the time, making it pretty hard to understand the lyrics. This didn’t seem to affect the band at all though. They clearly enjoyed themselves onstage, talking to the audience between songs, and even invited fans to join them after their show to watch their national TV debut on the Carson Daly late night show on the bar’s TV downstairs. They ended their set with “Hope” from their new album, but were cheered into playing an encore, “Clumsy Sky.”

Alexia Kauffman

Alexia was born and raised in Arlington, VA. She has been a cellist since age four, and a lover of rock & roll soon after. The first tape she owned was “Make It Big” by Wham, and the first tape she bought was Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” and she still loves both. She was a member of local synth-rock outfit Soft Complex for several years, and has recorded with bands including Engine Down and Two if By Sea. By day she works for a non-profit distributing royalties to musicians and labels. She currently plays cello, lap-steel guitar and tambourine in the DC post-folk/Americana band The Torches.

One thought on “We Love Music: Girl In A Coma @ DC9, 11/9/2011

  1. Great show, but I agree with you comments about the sound. I was standing pretty much in the center, a few people back, and there was too much bass and not enough vocal/guitar. For the encore, I stood over by the left side of the stage, and the mix sounded fine.