Feature photo by Salvador Ochoa
Nina Diaz (vocals/guitar) shouts out to the audience at the crowded Double Door “This is for Selena. Today’s Selena’s birthday. This is for you girl.” Phanie Diaz (drums) and Jenn Alva (base) tear into the tensions of the tragically slain Tejana sensation’s classic, “Si Una Vez” with ample post-punk precision. Nina’s languid and lyric garage-grunge appeal and powerful voice seeped into the audience. I couldn’t help but lose myself in a frenzy of 1995 Selena fever. I was floored. What an incredible tribute and sincere homage to the Tejana singer and innovator. If ever a performer could embody the contemporary aesthetic and ethos of Girl In a Coma, it would be the legendary Selena. Her sound, much like Girl in a Coma’s, lives on the borderlands of Chicano/US/Mexican identities, cultural politics, sounds and sensibilities. Radical. Tattooed. Bold. Brown. Beautiful. Queer. The ambiguities and complexities of GIAC burn through their fast rips and aggressive instrumentation. GIAC means business.
There’s something telling and tragic behind Nina Diaz’ eccentric expressions and intense gaze as she performs. She’s speaking to an experience and identity that few bands today openly attest to: the interconnectivity of our borderland life-style. We don’t choose a sound, a sexual preference, the cultural capital and politics of our communities anymore than an artists can select their muse or a person can pick their gender.
In a post-RuPaul’s Drag Race era, GIAC paved the way for genre and gender crossing lyricism, with videos like “Road Home” featuring the illustrious Amanda Lepore. GIAC has not shyed away from their queer audience nor their Tejano roots. This queer and hetero-friendly band has been on the front lines of gender consciousness and border-crossing sounds since they played punk venues in San Antonio, Texas where they formed in 2001.
GIAC took me back to the cold, Chicago basement I grew up in, watching every update and coverage of Selena’s death, as the melodrama of my own queer Latino life began. With post riot-girl and contemporary Chicana-feminist qualities, these rowdy and rabble-rousing, rockabilly, mosh-pitting rockeras know how to rile up a crowd. GIAC is part of a new voice and sound for indie music across the U.S. The sense of urgency and the respect and dedication to representing community, place, history, the body and culture through art, are imperative to GIAC’s sincere and poignant articulation. At the base of their music is a strong sense of self, an unrelenting and ruthless rage and a vulnerability that is absolutely honest.
Just off their tour with Xiu Xiu, a favorite gender-bending band, GIAC signed to Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records, has headlined coast-to-coast, playing on Cyndi Lauper’s tour, opening for Tegan and Sara in a cross-country national tour, and also opening for the legendary, band name-inspiring, Morrissey in both Europe and the U.S. since the Trio B.C’s release.
FEMINIST REVIEW.COM heralds Girl in a Coma’s second album, “Trio B.C. is a huge leap forward for the band, showing off polish, maturity, and measure. As their shows grow in crowd size, as Nina opens up, possessed on stage, as Jenn and Phanie blow out your ear drums, as their popularity swarms, Girl in a Coma is still the punk rock band from San Antonio that will break your face, while Nina D.’s voice will break your heart.”
Check out Girl in a Coma’s next Chicago show.
Girl in a Coma – Opening for Sia
April 25, 2010
3145 N. Sheffield Ave.
773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212
Doors Open @ 7:30