In addition to hometown favorite Geri X, Wednesday night's New World Brewery show featured the low-key stylings of Canadian singer-songwriter Julie Doiron and North Carolina's folky Bowerbirds [pictured].
Geri X was clad in a white tank top, boots and gray sweater. She had at least 30 people huddled around to watch her set, a fairly large amount for an opener at New World. Most likely it's because she's a near-native who used to play around here all the time and lived in St. Petersburg on and off for the past several years before her recent move to Atlanta.
Geri X's vocals are like those of Arrah from Arrah and the Ferns -- a sort of cute, twee-ish inflection. But despite the sweet voice, the blue-haired Geri X's style is more alternative and it showed in a selection of solo numbers that showed off the singer-songwriter's range, from the solemn "When I Die," about how she'd like her remains to stay on Earth after she passes, to "Zombie Eskimos," a light-hearted number about Eskimos who prefer human brains to fish. "I never thought I would play that live," she said with a laugh when she finished.
She forgot the words to three of her songs, but brushed it off self-effacingly: "I'm not professional. I forget my words all the time." She also added that she hadn't played a solo show in a "very long time." Small mistakes aside, her performance was well-received and showcased her skills nicely.
Canadian singer-songwriter Julie Doiron came onto the stage in quite an outfit: a Russian-esque fur hat, blue Smurf-like leggings and blue denim boots with jean pockets.
She kicked off her set with a duet featuring her guest accompanying musician, Will Kidman of The Constantines. They sang "You Really Got a Hold on Me," a 1962 track by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. A friend of mine said it was a mash-up between the lyrics of that song and "Falling Slowly" by The Swell Season, but I couldn't get the lyrics down to check.
On "Yer Kids" from 2007's Woke Me Up, her voice sounded exactly like it does on the album, with a sort of hoarse, sore throat timbre. It's reassuring that she performs so well in a live setting since the live shows of many artists these days bear little comparison to the quality of their studio work.
In addition to playing songs from her solo albims, Doiron played a track from Lost Wisdom, an album she worked on with Phil Elverum of the Microphones. About a minute into the song, she gave up on it, saying she couldn't play it without Elverum.
In all, it was a great set. For the sake of good music in the Tampa area, let's hope the charming Canadian returns to the South.
Bowerbirds came on to stage sometime around midnight. The group's three men were all bearded and the sole woman had a fur pelt on her head, their ensembles adding a bit of authenticity to their folk aesthetic.
And they were definitely folky. One of their opening numbers was "Teeth," a song from their latest album, 2009's Upper Air. It had a spare, spacey ambiance that conjured up rolling hills and verdant forests.
Nature imagery, it seems, was a core part of what makes Bowerbirds Bowerbirds. Some of the songs they played had titles like "Dark Horse" and "Beneath Your Tree." No matter what the name, the common denominator of the tracks were the memebers' vocal harmonies the delightful effect of their instrumentmentals. The mandolin was well-complemented by the accordion, which sounded nice against the subtle guitar nots and quiet drums.
In all, the low-key group made for pleasant listening. Kudos to New Granada for putting on another great night of music.
Here's the setlist: