November 17, 2016
Story by Lauren Gutierrez
The theme of Nina Diaz’ new album “The Beat Is Dead,” about her journey towards sobriety, calls for an intimate and raw experience. The Monday night performance at Kilby Court was just that. The venue is located in an inconspicuous offshoot, hidden to unsuspecting passersby–upon turning the corner onto Kilby Court, however, the signature red fence and plastered stickers give it away. The atmosphere is very laid back, almost as if someone’s backyard and garage were converted into a close-quarters stage area.
The show opened with the band One Night, followed by Spenny Relyea. When Nina Diaz took the stage with her musicians she began her set with the song “Trick Candle.” Immediately it became clear the stage is second nature to Diaz whose dancing, singing and guitar-playing enthralled the audience. She even played the guiro and took the tambourine into the audience to dance around there.
After a few songs she introduced her band: first, there was Johnny Shrink on keys, Austin Valentine on bass and Travis Vela on guitar. The drummer is Jorge Gonzalez to whom Diaz was recently engaged.
Diaz performed all of her new songs from “The Beat Is Dead” with the exception of “Mortician’s Musician.” It’s her first solo album since taking a break from being the front-woman of the three piece, all-girl punk band, Girl In a Coma. Diaz doesn’t play Girl In a Coma songs while performing her solo work, however, out of respect to the two other band members.
She held her own in the limelight with her captivating stage persona and magnifying vocals. The show wrapped up with the dreamy song “For You” that starts with Diaz singing and playing alone then is steadily joined by her band to reach the pinnacle of the song. The close proximity of the stage helped give an up close and personal vibe that complemented the rock sensibility of the music through to the end of the set.
lauren [@] laurengutierrez [dot] com