From the Street with Alfie: Xs and Ohs

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"We're rolling doublewide!" sang Southern Culture on the Skids, Wednesday at Skipper's. With western shirts and a beehive wig, the threesome blazed through tunes like "My House Has Wheels," and "Daddy Was a Preacher, Momma Was a Go-Go Dancer." Although the group pokes fun at down-home culture, they embrace the southern rockabilly style and add some surf-rock flair for good measure.

The crowd was just as rowdy as the band. At the entrance, a handwritten sign read, "No standing on benches or tables during the SCOTS show." No matter. There was plenty of room on stage for half-drunk fans to dance during the final song of the first set.

The bassist warmed up for the second round by reapplying a coat of lipstick from Beyoncé's new line while the singer launched into, "I Want to Smell Your Pudding." The song struck a chord with the crowd, but it just made me kind of hungry. 

Thursday, Emma and Kelly stood guard outside Ruth Eckerd Hall for Spamalot's rendition of Monty Python's Holy Grail. They made sure all who entered left their coconut-hoofed horses outside and brought a shrubbery to appease the Knights Who Say Ni.

"He sounds like a hundred-year-old black man," Geri X said, describing Toby Bonar as he serenaded the crowd packing into the Globe Coffee Lounge Friday for the release of Geri X's new album.

The decor of the lounge was as eclectic as the loyal employees and clientele. It was easy to see why people kept coming back with an owner like JoEllen, who insisted on giving me her favorite drink: sangria in a spill-proof cup.  

Will Quinlan and The Diviners kept the music rolling. Their beer-drinking lyrics, unrehearsed style and vocals reminiscent of the Counting Crows flowed as smooth as the creamy caffeinated drinks iced with coffee cubes. 

When Have Gun, Will Travel took the floor, I pulled Geri X and her bassist/boyfriend Greg away from working the door of their own show to talk to CL about their new album. Geri took the opportunity to turn the interview around on me and ask what I thought of her music. To me it's impossible to talk about Geri X without discussing her voice. She belts out bold, clear lyrics that sound worn from cigarettes and experience. I doubt what I rambled off to her came through as clear as her emotionally charged songs, but such is the folly of translating music into words or trying to label someone like Geri X, whose very name defies classifications.

Despite her initial hesitance, Geri spoke as candidly as she sings, spilling the proverbial Bulgarian beans on how she writes songs while driving, her tattoos, the names of critics she wants to punch in the face, how her music has warmed up since she met Greg and our former coffee shop romance (no matter how imaginary).

Near midnight, the crowd sat at Geri's feet, crammed on couches, and stood pinned against the walls while she lulled them with Anthems of a Mended Heart. She may or may not have given me a shout-out by dedicating a song to the people she hates. No matter what barrage of descriptions music critics invent to characterize her album, there's no denying her gift for tapping into the wellspring of human emotion and performing songs that listeners can't help but suspect are written about them or about their fated coffee-shop romances. 


Follow Alfie on Twitter , Facebook , or at shawnalff.com
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