Girl In A Coma

Knitting Factory, Feb. 21

By Scott Schultz

Girl in a Coma’s Thursday night set at the Knitting Factory demonstrated the growth the band has made over the last year of touring. The San Antonio threesome has been on the road nonstop in support of their Joan Jett-released debut disc, Both Before I’m Gone, including an opening spot on Morrissey’s fall tour. His influence is all over the band’s current sound. The band, who is named after a Smith’s song, actually sounds a lot more like The Moz now than they did a year ago.

Nina Diaz, whose voice resembles a Tex-Mex Patsy Cline has added some Morrissey mannerisms such as the dramatic, sustained vocals and yodels and the homage to their mentor complements the band’s sound nicely. At 19, Diaz, with her Texas twang, has one of the more distinctive voices in the indie scene, a punk rock torch singer, who also plays a mean guitar. Her bandmates, older sister Phanie D. on drums and Jenn Alva on bass, make a solid rhythm section, but all eyes are on Nina when she’s on the mic or the guitar.

It was an all-ages show at the Knitting Factory, so a lot of high school girls (some in comas) showed up, as did a lot of lesbian couples. And, like Morrissey, the band has struck a chord with L.A.'s vast Mexican-American market. The room was maybe two-thirds full, but that likely had a lot to do with the rain and several blocks of Hollywood Blvd. shut down for the Oscars.

They opened with “The Photographer,” and played all the fans’ favorites, including “Clumsy Sky,” “Road To Home” and “Race Car Driver.” Some new songs in their set lean toward their rocker side. Nina and Alva stood on opposite sides of the stage, and Nina’s intense vocal style demanded she spend the majority of the time near her mic. Alva is active, but is mainly content on her third of the stage. Diaz and Alva made playful banter on the mic, and their crowd was amped, demanding an encore, which the band delivered their cover of “Do You Want to Dance? ”

The band isn’t currently working on any new release, instead preparing for another tour with Morrissey. The band will be in town for a few more days with shows lined up at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach and The Scene in Glendale. Then it's off to SXSW in March. Check out upcoming shows at their website:

The opening band was Killola. They had an energetic singer and turned in a spirited set, but maybe they could use a little more work on the songs.

More photos from the show:

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