Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down @ TT the Bear's Place, 8/12

Thao Nguyen and her small back-up band, The Get Down Stay Down, drew a fun loving crowd Tuesday night at TT the Bear's. The stomps and hand claps were in abundance; it was a night of head thrusts and free spirited dance for all.

Openers Pepi Ginsberg and David Shultz & The Skyline sport a folk sound similar to Thao's. Unfortunately, I missed both of their sets, but there was no shortage of David Shultz fans in the crowd, and Pepi Ginsberg's "The Waterline" is a feel-good time (check out the music video on her Myspace).

Thao managed to sneak on stage without many of us noticing. The down to earth musician praised the opening acts multiple times and kept it casual throughout the night, making jokes with the band and the crowd between songs ("Donate to Oxfam after the show and... [bassist] Adam will give you a hickey.").

Thao's unbridled singing style is well suited for a live setting, and she didn't hold back. When she wasn't doubled over during her solos or wildly stomping her fly boots to the beat, she was passionately singing us her stories. She opened with an upbeat new song and then went right into "Geography." The heavy, soulful rhythm of the drums in the song hit particularly hard live. "Beat (Health, Life and Fire)" was especially memorable with Thao's tragic "OH NO!"s shaking the room. The crowd sang along to favorites "Bag of Hammers" and "Swimming Pools," and the band agreed that it sounded like we all had microphones.

Thao played most of the songs from her album, We Brave Bee Stings and All, along with some new fast paced songs. She ended her set with a knockout, extended version of "Fear and Convenience," and then returned for two more songs, one of them a cover (Aretha Franklin?).

Check out my interview with Thao from last month here.

- Jessy Bartlett

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