The mark of a great band is this: not how they perform as a headliner, but how they perform as an opener. Last night Girl in a Coma, touring as an opener for the Features, completely owned the crowd in the 506. Not a huge crowd, but one that whooped and hollered and even danced some, and if you know Chapel Hill, man, you know dancing is a big deal.
It’s hard for me to quantify how much I love Girl in a Coma, Exits and All the Rest, the Diaz sisters and Jenn Alva, Nina’s voice and Phanie’s drumming and Jenn’s bass playing, but I love them. I didn’t really want to go out yesterday. I had a shitty day at work, I couldn’t find anybody to use my plus one, I was just grouchy and out of sorts. But I went, because I love Girl in a Coma, and they didn’t disappoint me. They’re great on recordings, but they’re stunning live. They’re captivating, they’re fierce, and good Lord, Nina Diaz has a voice that’s incomparable whether she’s whispering like PJ Harvey or wailing like Kathleen Hanna.
A great set list in a short set; they opened with “One Eyed Fool”, my favorite track off the new album, the skitter and shake even sadder and angrier live, and midway through the set, Nina said, “This one’s for all the Patsy Cline lovers,” and they launched into “Walkin’ After Midnight”. It was the best cover I’ve heard in ages, punk and sad with that country edge, and it made up for every single shitty thing that happened yesterday. Done, finished, over. That fixed my day straight up.
And that’s the sign of a great band: as an opener, Girl in a Coma fixed my utterly craptastic day. And that takes real serious talent. If they’re playing in your town, or close to your town, don’t miss them. You’ll regret it.
The full set, including shots of headliners the Features, is here.