Girl in a Coma were great — hard to describe their musical style, but if I tell you that they’re on Joan Jett’s label Black Heart Records and that she plays guitar and sings backup vox on their recent album, that’ll point you in the right direction. Every website I’ve seen describe them takes the mashup approach: punk-alternative-latin-rockabilly-blues-rock, or some such thing, which isn’t inaccurate. Worth a listen anyway. I picked up two of their albums, “Trio B.C.” and “Adventures in Coverland”; from the latter I particularly liked their version of Joy Division’s “Transmission”, which starts out wistful and a little girlish sounding, but soon gets into some serious guitars-and-wailing type noise, and more than does justice to the original.
Much as I liked Girl in a Coma, my pick of the night were actually the first openers, Venus in Furs, a local Madison surf-punk trio. Their drummer Marlo was the best I’ve seen in a while (not that I’m an expert, but she really drew my attention with her tight beat, smooth handling of tempo changes, and use of the whole kit) and their bassist Nat had that over the top rock star demeanour that always makes for a fun show. Between the shirtlessness and the Gene Simmons tongue action she gave me some good photo ops for my new camera. I’m still working on how to make it do its best in low light but I threw up what photos I’ve got this Flickr set. Venus in Furs don’t have an album out yet but you can hear some of their stuff on their website.
The other thing I wanted to mention is Sarchasm, a local kids’ band who regularly play at 924 Gilman St where I volunteer as a sound engineer. A few weeks ago I helped them record a bunch of songs live at Gilman, which they’ve now put up on their Myspace page. If you listen to one song, make it their punk-rock cover of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”, which I guarantee will get you smiling. Their EP, “Take #924”, recorded by yours truly, is available for $5 from the band in person or drop them a note on Facebook and they can probably get it to you somehow. They have a show on Sunday June 5th, 6pm, at Ashkenaz in North Berkeley. Check them out!