Live and Local: Nina Diaz, Lonely Horse and Davíd Garza

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Girl in a Coma's Nina Diaz  duets with Austin-based musician David Garza at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts' River Walk Plaza on Saturday, September 6, 2014. Photo by Ismael Rodriguez.

Standing as a stark contrast against the traditional River Walk, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts is a behemoth of modern architecture and twisted metal. Newly opened in September 2014, the Tobin Center has played host to a colorful array of performers, from good ol’ boys Lynyrd Skynyrd to Sir Paul McCartney. The Tobin Center pulled out all the stops for the River Walk Plaza’s inaugural event.

As an opening act, Austin Hall of Famer Davíd Garza was electric as he waded through his catalog of ethereal alt rock/pop. His acoustic guitar-strumming and songbird vocals brought to mind the late Jeff Buckley, who was also renowned for his intimate show, especially on songs such as “Crown of Thorns.” Garza’s mastery of the guitar was hypnotic to watch and his voice fully conveyed sincere emotions. Although solo for most of his performance, headliner Nina Diaz joined Garza for a rare duet to top off his set.

[Related: 32 Photos of the Nina Diaz Concert at Tobin's River Walk Plaza]

The Lonely Horse twosome, comprised of guitarist/vocalist Nick Long and drummer Travis Hild, released some serious havoc on the plaza stage. Raw power was the only way to describe the set, with Long’s mystifying vocals that can turn from wounded and soulful to ferocious and passionate at the drop of a hat. The bluesy guitar riffs had even the most uptight banging their heads, or at least nodding. The climax was when Long crowd surfed onto the support of all “the crazy fuckers out there.”

After taking a break from the acclaimed SA band Girl in a Coma, Nina Diaz made a special trip to her hometown to show off her new band and sound. From a cover of “Never Tear Us Apart” by new wavers INXS to spicy Spanish Latin tunes, Diaz unveiled herself as a chameleon who can gracefully glide between musical styles. Despite her new five-piece band, Diaz’s most important instrument is her voice that cans transcend from powerful and rich to delicate and exquisite. Her charisma and stage presence was magnetic, with Diaz fully conveying all the passion in her lyrics to sultry moves, so much that the audience was in awe. After touring solo in Austin and other parts of the US, Diaz cheekily said the show “popped her San Antonio cherry.”

Here's video of Nina Diaz's June performance in The  Belmont in Austin.


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