Girl In A Coma Heats Things up at The Vera Project – Piñata Protest and Sara Radle Spark Fiery Performances, By Holly Homan

Girl in a Coma

On the evening of May fifth, the night of Cinco de Mayo and the night of the big moon, I headed to The Vera Project at the foot of Seattle’s Queen Anne Neighborhood. There three acts played with San Antonio’s Girl In A Coma headlining.

Sara Radle, also from San Antonio, started things off with her powerful but crystal voice and precision guitar playing. She was accompanied by a bass player, another guitarist and a very animated drummer. Although Radle claimed she was sick and was often clearing her throat, he voice came across as clear as a morning songbird. She didn’t sound like “crap” as she mentioned she did.

Radle sang a lot of pleasantly poppy tunes with a enchanting but laid-back stage demeanor. About three quarters into the show, Radle asked if there were any Monkees fans in the audience. She then lit into a song that Davey Jones sang, called “Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow.” It was a worthy rendition. At the very end, Radle asked the small but appreciate audience members to crowd the stage so they could be taped singing Happy Birthday for their friend Al back home who was celebrating his 80th birthday.

The band then jumped into another bouncy, poppy song while the drummer frequently tossed his sticks behind his shoulder, before picking up a spare set from atop the bass drum. He often stood up, spun his sticks in the air, then caught them, before returning to just drumming the backbeat. Radle and her band put on a fun-filled set and I was glad for the opportunity to see them.

Next up was another San Antonio band called Piñata Protest. This band is manic, Hispanic, accordion driven, and loaded with punk rock attitude. Alvaro Del Norte squeezes and plies the keys of his accordion with frenzied energy. He even had two safety pins glued to his accordion, which only proved their punk rock attitude. Del Norte is an amazing performer. He leaps about, spins around the stage and even does windmills on his accordion a la Pete Townshend. He exudes charisma from every pore and at one point even leaped off the stage and danced around with a couple girls from the audience all without missing a note on his accordion.

The band, Matt Cazares- guitar/vocals, JJ Martinez- drums/vocals, and Marcus Cazares- bass/vocals, held steady providing the power behind Del Norte’s ceaseless energy.

Girl in a Coma

Del Norte joked how he had never been to Seattle before and had already had coffee and to honor his first time in our fair city, performed what he said was a Nirvana cover. It was really a Nirvana cover doing a Vaselines’ cover — Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam. So for any who are familiar with the Nirvana version, if that version is 33 and a third, Piñata Protest performed their version at one hundred thirty-three and a third.

Their performance of the classic Mexican song Cucaracha was played so fast it was over with in less than a minute complete with Del Norte performing a horn solo. This really got the audience moving.

Piñata Protest performs some of their songs in Spanish and some in English. When their set was over, they left me with a craving for tacos with guacamole. Another excellent set was offered up by another excellent band. Look out for Piñata Protest next time they swing through town. They do not disappoint.

At last, the band everyone came to see, Girl In A Coma, came on stage all covered in tattoos and ready to rock. GIC is an all female trio with Phanie Diaz (drummer), Nina Diaz (guitar/vocals), and Jenn Alva (bass). Whoever said girls can’t rock has never seen or heard Girl In A Coma. They were discovered by none other than Joan Jett, who immediately signed them to her label Black Heart Records. Nina Diaz bullies her guitars as she shreds power chords with a vengeance. Her voice can sound as sweet as a song bird one second, then switch gears and sound like she’s gargling broken glass the next. She’s gutsy, wild, and she can rock!

Girl In A Coma’s music can seem dark at times as Nina Diaz croons, screams and gives all she’s got to her stage performance. At times her long hair covered her eyes, and at other times her face was clearly visible as she flashed her girlish smile.

Bassist Jenn, drives the power along with Phanie Diaz (sister of Nina), who bangs the skins with a fevered pitch.

Barely anyone was in attendance at this show and I’m unsure why. This band kicks punk a** and put on a fine show. Perhaps the early curfew of 11:30 sets people off. Perhaps it was lack of publicity. For anyone who likes The Runaways or Joan Jett, come see Girl In A Coma next time they’re in town. I’m sure that tiny club is still keeping their doors open to air the smoke out after GIC burned the place up with their fiery performance.

Holly Homan

[All photos are property of Holly Homan, all rights reserved.]

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