Girl In A Coma
"October 4, 2008"

Girl in a Coma, City and Colour, Tegan and Sara
The Palladium, Worcester, MA
October 4, 2008

The Worcester Palladium, a majestic theatre in its day, was now Gothic black, packed with punks, college kids and assorted twenty-somethings, inscribed with tats gathered in every combination of couplings and social groupings filling the place to over flow capacity. A very well behaved homogeneous group, with the occasional shocking pink hair or random comb really didn't need a sign that asked patrons "to refrain from moshing" as they all patiently waited in an easy carefree atmosphere chatting amongst themselves. The attitude of this gathering felt more like a house party or a lecture hall than a rock concert. But never the less the crowd packed tightly around the stage for opening band Girl in a Coma, a San Antonio, Texas, trio on tour with Canadian solo artist City and Colour and headliners Tegan and Sara.

Nina Diaz, Girl in a Coma's lead singer and guitarist, is mesmerizing, almost hypnotic, with long flowing dark hair framing her face then switching to very animated, kinetic energy, wavy hair flying all around. Excellent crescendos, long riffs, Diaz loves strutting and jumping, but then there is this softness, a gentleness that seeps through that's absolutely enamoring as her music ebbs and flows. Bassist Jenn Alva pulled down grounding bass lines, head thrashing, that are not forced or contrived, just very natural. Phanie Diaz caught my attention almost immediately, not for how vigorously she played drums but more so for her astute confidence, her coolness. This rapt attention, an immense concentration with which she moved the trio along so very well through out a set that varied greatly in tempo and pace.

An incredibly gifted trio of young women influenced by The Smiths, in fact the bands name comes for the classic Smith's song "Girlfriend in a Coma," as well as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Pixies and the New York Dolls, Nina has been compared to the "female Morrissey" and although has toured previously with his band, Girl in a Coma already has a sound that is very unique and very much their own. Opening the evening with "Say" off their debut album "Both Before I'm Gone" and sliding through 33 minutes of captivatingly raucous music ending with "Clumsy Sky." Full of long riffs, struts and jumps on stage by lead singer Nina Diaz and Alva, the trio had the rapt attention of the audience most of whom were listening intently with minimal talking and who by the end of the set had hands raised in the air clapping wildly and cheering loudly as Nina thanked the crowd politely once again for listening as she had done ever so sweetly after the close of each song.

I spoke briefly with Nina Diaz later in the evening, a conversation during which she spoke with such passion about her music that I just let her words cascade over me just letting myself get caught up in her energy as she differentiated her music as "pure rock - no tricks, no gimmicks." I have to say I agree, based upon what I encountered, and how this trio was able to captivate and entertain, in a way that is both fresh and new but also pure classic rock.

Dallas Green, a very soft spoken man with a clear, strong voice interspersed bluesy harmonica into very introspective, melancholic musings about how a life is lived but more so comes to an end. A solo acoustic artist of the band City and Colour opened with "Body in a Box" followed by "Waiting," from his "Bring Me Your Love" album followed by "Day Old Hate," "Sam Malone" and "Comin' Home" his final song of the evening from his "City and Colour Live" album. Clearly much of the audience present were devoted to his music and when encouraged to "sing along" obliged without reservation. Several of his fans standing close to me and listening intently described his music in the following way: "everything," "simple, purposely understated." and "tasteful, he's an amazing songwriter. I wrote a paper about his music for school." A very gentle soul, whose thought provoking music stirred many appeared later in the evening for a duet with Tegan Quin.

Headliners Tegan and Sara walked on stage to Diana Ross's upbeat pop tune "You Can't Hurry Love" both clad in jeans, Tegan in a plaid shirt, Sara in checks, identical twins differentiated by black vs. red guitars stood on stage amid screaming cheers, flashing cell phones and a sea of swaying digital camera videoing, and after calling out a cheery "hello" ripped into "You Wouldn't Like Me," with perfectly entwined vocals amid a bright blue, white and red light show pulsating and streaming down. "Relief Next to Me" and "The Con" from their latest CD of the same title followed swiftly. Pausing occasionally to reminisce and tell humorous stories about growing up, these girls lit the crowd from the get go, reminding me just a speck of a poppier, punkier version of The Indigo Girls only much more charismatic, with high-5's to the audience, creating an interactive bond that lasted throughout the evening. Mechanical sounding at times, it's easy to hear the influence of new age punk but in a way that is light and refreshing transporting the audience through one song after the next.