Although Girl in a Coma doesn’t sound much like Morrissey (their namesake artist and biggest musical inspiration), they’re still pretty good. With each of the three female bandmembers (Nina Diaz on vocals, sister Fanie on drums, and Jenn Alva on bass) taking full command of her instrument last Wednesday night, the girls truly rocked the all-ages venue for an enthusiastic and near-full audience. Their style, made up of mostly garage punk, filled even the darkest corners of the quirky cafe.
More often than not, newer punk bands tend to get pigeonholed in an old punk sound; alas Girl in a Coma doesn’t fall into this category. Yes, the girls embody what would mostly be considered a post-punk/garage-punk sound, but their songwriting style and technique plunges headfirst into territory that’s usually untypical of the genre, resulting in a shtick that is refreshingly new.
The girls featured several new songs from their upcoming album (“Empty Promise,” “Vino,” “Slaughter Lake”), which they reported they will begin recording at the end of this tour. As far as older tunes were concerned, highlights included “Their Cell,” a charming number with an almost doo-wop introduction that eventually gets ripped in half by Nina’s aggressively heavy and distorted guitar, only to sew itself back up again with the charming scale from the song’s opening. It would be unfair not to mention Nina’s incredible vocal range, although the girls are three, Nina’s voice alone is so strong and powerful an instrument that she managed to turn acoustic solos (like “Simple Man”) into complex, layered ballads. And for such a tiny girl-her guitar is almost as big as she is-Nina’s range is even more startling.
Also out for the evening were the ever-expressive Killola and Santa Barbara dwellers Hero and the Victor. Hero and the Victor had an impressive turnout on Wednesday night, playing a mostly instrumental set that hinted at a number of different influences, but always succeeded in capturing all that’s right around the pop/high school emo genre.