Nina Diaz At the Satellite With SEE, The Fontaines, Wednesday June 7th 2017
If SEE opened the night at the Satellite, another band with an unassuming name, the Fontaines, also played before the great Nina Diaz, and they truly deserve some attention… damn, was this woman sexy! Of course there was Debbie Harry written all over her blonde hair and sexy outfit, but she and her band also had their own story. She arrived wearing a short trench coat that she shortly removed, as she started singing, moving, dancing like a sexy cat between drums, guitar and bass. She was running through all the previous incarnations of the femme fatale of 50s movies with plenty of sex appeal, I couldn’t detach my eyes from her, and I don’t think anybody else could. Between retro pop and new wave, the Fontaines’ music was sexy, sugary but biting the dancefloor that Charlotte Fontaine (her stage name) was filling with her child-like vocals going deliciously rough at times. With her brother Hank Fontaine on guitar and a truly cinematic vibe, backed up by Chrystian Kaplan on drums and Daniel Zuker on bass, their performance was as memorable as it was dynamic, introducing a new word they came up with to describe their music: new wop, which could be a mad mash-up of 50s doo wop and modern new wave.
Then Nina Diaz came on stage with her band and a uplifting mood: she had all the good reasons to be happy, first, it was her guitarist Travis’ birthday, then, after being the frontgirl for indie band Girl in a Coma for a decade, her tour is a celebration of a new path for her career with the release of her debut solo album last October — and she almost played every single track of ‘The Beat is Dead’ — and, at the top of this, she announced us her engagement with drummer Jorge Gonzalez,… awwww.
Opening with the steamy rocking dance floor of ‘Trick Candle’, she right away showed all her possibilities, she got fierce, sexy and electrifying with a voice that never got submerged by the powerful sound of her band. Her new songs have some giant hooks, instantaneously familiar, and she elevated them to new emotional heights with her great voice, especially during the catchy ‘Queen Beats King’ which narrates her struggle with addiction, immediately followed by the rocking Cumbia of ‘Rebirth’, or the emotional confessional tearing melody of ‘January 9th’. ‘It’s time for a love song,’ she said before the breezy-hooky ‘Fall in Love’ letting her vocal prowess shine once again.
And I suddenly understood why she was playing the songs in the same order than on the record, the album tells a story, her own and very personal story, her struggle with addiction and recovery, and all set long she showed us how much she had struggled for this new hope, how much she was affirming her love for life. She continued with a series of darker grungy rock tunes, and brought some real action when she paused her guitar to become a rock goddess who grabs the mic stand or jumps in the middle of the crowd.
From glamorous synth pop to sinister rock statements or deliciously 80s-90s impregnated glittering songs, the cathartic part came during ‘For You’, a spine-thrilling moment with her all-emotion-loaded powerhouse alto crooning ‘For you I’ll go and feel no pain’…. She ended her set with a tribute to Chris Cornell after admitting she was a big Soundgarden fan… Her performance was more than ever raw, passionate, fueled by an intense fire, while fearlessly exposing her recent wounds. Diaz is back from the dead as she sings in ‘Rebirth’, but she has been for a while.
Queen Beats King
Fall in Love
Screaming Without a Sound