In 1985, Irish vocalist Coughlan appeared on that country's Late Late Show; the rousing performance resulted in a record deal and an avalanche of praise. But the leap from squatter to songstress left Coughlan deeply dependent on alcohol and drugs; she retreated from the clamoring music business and submerged herself in amber waves of comfort. It wasn't until 1993 that Coughlan completely dried out.
Three years later, she signed to indie label Big Top, which released Live in Galway. That CD inspired director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) to hire her as Julia Roberts' vocal coach on the set of Michael Collins. The steady work led directly to Coughlan's most recent album. Graced with vocals three parts Marianne Faithfull and one part Nina Simone, After the Fall is a sober, yet lovely, waltz through a smoke-filled cabaret where the cracks are visible through its denizens' war paint. Like Faithfull, Coughlan's troubles have given her voice a deeper resonance: "Woman Undone" is on level with Faithfull's "Broken English" -- seductive and difficult to forget. Coughlan performs at the Great American Music Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 885-0750.
A wholesome young woman from Virginia goes away to college, falls in love with a drug dealer, and winds up serving 24 years for a minor role in a bad deal. A 16-year-old girl is gunned down by a rival gang in front of her boyfriend's house. Prayer Works Productions says both cases are examples of an age-old theme: "good" girls who fall for "bad" boys. You've heard it before. Despite a religious upbringing and nourishing family environment, the lure of danger and testosterone is simply too strong. Girls want sex and fast cars, not Scripture. Why Good Girls Like Bad Boyz is a gospel musical based on main character the Reverend "Pops" Harris, who does battle with the bad boy who tempts his darling granddaughter. While the musical never sufficiently answers the title's promise, it sure sounds good going down. Why Good Girls Like Bad Boyz runs Wednesday through Sunday, Oct. 1-5, at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. Tickets are $19.50-27.50; call (510) 465-6400 for show times.
Elvis is the way, the word, and the motion. Even though most of his movies were complete drivel, Elvis met a few directors who knew how to really use the voice, the lips, the hips, and that zesty little forehead curl. Jailhouse Rock, with those sexy prison uniforms and that dance routine with the fireman's pole and the cages, was the King's first good flick; and Viva Las Vegas rescued Presley from a chain of losers -- Girls, Girls, Girls, Kissin' Cousins, Fun in Acapulco. Bonus: Elvis stars with the inimitable Ann-Margret. Both movies screen at the Roxie on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3-4. Admission is $6; call 863-1087 for show times.
If your idea of a good time is sitting around on a dirt lot talking about guns with a long-neck between your legs and a wad of Skoal dribbling out of your mouth, have I got a show for you! Fruit of the Loom proudly presents the good ole boys: Hank Williams Jr., Charlie Daniels, Travis Tritt, and Jo Dee Messina. Now, even though this is modern commercial country, the tunes are built the old-fashioned way. (Kinda.) That means no twangcore, no western melancholy, no young kids with funny haircuts; just pure red-white-and-blue songs about dogs, beer, and shooting the folks who done ya wrong. As for the sponsor, it's sure to mean that a gal leavin' for good won't be the only one leaving skid marks. The Fruit of the Loom CountryFest tour will be hanging out at the Shoreline in Mountain View on Saturday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $19.50-28.50; call 967-4040.
More akin to Christ's teachings than most modern Christian doctrine, Sufism is called the "way of love"; ancient Sufi masters like Rumi and Hafiz were responsible for some of the world's most dazzling and poetic writing. The Fragrance of Love, a performance this weekend at S.F. State, explores the culture, music, and poetry of the Sufi path. At the end of the evening, folks will be invited to join in the closing zikr (Sufi chanting), which is said to increase a person's vitality tenfold while inducing quite an appetite. Not to worry -- a gourmet Persian buffet is part of the deal, and it, as the event's title suggests, will smell great. The Fragrance of Love will be held in S.F. State's McKenna Theater on Saturday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7-10; call (800) 733-7700.
-- Silke Tudor