Girl in a Coma Reunites with Muddy Waters

The Sounds, Thao, Nico Vega, Mutineers Prove Ladies Rock

Finn Riggins

LADIES’ NIGHTS: Since last Thursday’s glowing tour-kickoff performance by Thao Nguyen and her band, The Get Down Stay Down, at SOhO, Santa Barbara’s live music offerings have been ripe with female-led tune makers. This past Monday, the sultry and stellar Maja Ivarsson took her Debbie-Harry-by-way-of-Sweden-style stage show to UCSB’s Hub with her band, The Sounds. And last Friday, Muddy Waters Cafe played host to a fantastic, female-filled country lineup, thanks to great sets by S.B.’s own Natalie D-Napoleon and the Holdfast Rifle Company‘s vocal blessing, Meghan Lehman. And this week, the ladies just keep on rockin’ it.

On Saturday, October 24, Idaho’s excellent Finn Riggins headlines a night of great local and traveling acts at Muddy Waters (508 E. Haley St.). The experimental pop-punk three-piece boasts multiple drummers, all sorts of funky samples, and a cornucopia of instruments, ranging from synths and steel drums to accordions and washboards. At the center of it all, vocal powerhouse Lisa Simpson (yes, like the sax-toting cartoon tot) provides lyrics that call to mind the weirdness of The B-52s and the quirky cuteness of Tilly & the Wall in one fell swoop. Filling out the bill are openers Verna Beware and The Mutineers, complete with lady drummers AJ Herald and Merry Young, respectively. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Call 966-9328 or visit for details.

Come Tuesday, October 27, the Mud reunites with longtime S.B. passers-through Girl in a Coma for a night of badass grrrrrl rock. The Texas-bred three-piece, which features sisters Nina and Phanie Diaz and longtime buddy Jenn Alva, has been gaining a whole lot of attention since they last played in town-including a coveted Rolling Stone shout-out back in August of this year. And as of June, they’ve also had a new record to promote in Trio B.C. The record, GIAC’s second to date, perfectly captures the howling vocals, catchy guitar hooks, and punk-minded rock-outs that make the band’s live show such a joy to watch. And thanks to big-name producers like Greg Collins (U2, Gwen Stefani) and Gabriel Gonzalez (Sparta), the melodies don’t get lost in the pounding sonic onslaught of it all. To see for yourself what these girls have to offer, swing by Muddy Waters on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Black Gold and The Hero and the Victor open the show.

And on Thursday, October 29, Velvet Jones (423 State St.) teams up with New Noise to bring L.A. dynamos Nico Vega back to town. Those who caught the band’s semi-recent show at Muddy Waters can attest to the fact that frontwoman Aja Volkman is a veritable force to be reckoned with, complete with a penchant for strutting, jumping, and getting up close and real personal with her fans. Sonically speaking, the band falls somewhere between Gossip, Janis Joplin, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs-in other words, a rock ‘n’ roll onslaught that should not be missed. Santa Barbara indie piano rockers ThreadSpinner will open the show. Call 965-8676 or visit for tickets and details.

HEY, DEEJAY: For those of you who claim S.B. lacks a hip-hop scene, I’m proud to put my stamp of approval on this weekend’s day-long festivities in Anisq’Oyo’ Park. Starting at 2 p.m., the I.V. park will play host to the first annual Kajapaluuza fest in honor of Joshua “Kaj Maj” Mendoza’s CD release for Kaj Speak. The Limbz emcee has put together a seven-hour-long hip-hop, reggae, and electronic music extravaganza that’s not only free, but open to all ages of music fans. Featured performers include Ize, Bless the Sinner, DJ JRA, and many, many more. For details, visit

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE: Finally, this Friday, October 23, Seattle buzz-makers The Soft Hills make the trek south for a very special show with Santa Barbara friends Gardens & Villa. The talented five-piece borders on the ambient with their delicately sweet arrangements and hauntingly poetic lyricism. Think The Album Leaf meets Horse Feathers. Call 966-9328 or visit


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