So Super Bowl Sunday, maybe it was sacriledge, but my friends and I snuck out to see Thao Nguyen play with the Get Down Stay Down at the Middle East. First off, we got there in time so that we saw the fourth quarter, Eli Manning pulling a win out of the jaws of defeat. It was better at a bar; the 30 or so people there were glued to the TV, the radio play by play yelling, WHOOO YAHHH NOOOOOO!!!!! The shared exuberance, the shared defeat, the shared tragedy. It was sport at its best, and I couldn’t fault the Giants for playing a better game.
Then we saw Thao play. Now I had reviewed her album for the Globe, and it was good. I don’t quite agree with how the review came out; I think I sound more negative than I meant it to be. The album has about 6 excellent songs and several songs that ache and cry out for more of a snap with the way that the rhythm section is recorded. And the cheesy keyboards on “Geography” kill the song for me. Because of that blandness, you can put it on and kind of ignore it, or it blends after awhile-which is not to say she’s not talented, because she clearly is, I just wish that the arrangements reflected what the songs needed a little more. So she’s full of potential on album.
But live, good lord, she’s awesome! Best show I saw in awhile and one of the few times I exited a show a little cow-eyed in love. (Even better, my friends also exited the show googly-eyed and girl crushing.) Here’s an example, and I converted this to MP3 via awesome, awesome website vixy.net:
She wears cowboy boots with dresses and sort of shuffles with her shoulders and knocks her knees together to to the rhythm of her songs. It’s enchanting. She’s also, frankly, really hot. My friend misheard one of her lyrics as “and all this charm and still afraid of boys,” which I like better than the true lyric. She teased her bassist about his muscle shirt and ski hat, claiming that she was singing “Big Kid Table” with “You are strong, strong, strong/stronger than me” to him and his brand-new muscles that were on show and exposed. Her guitarist is adorable. I stuck my foot in my mouth last night trying to compliment them.
Her voice is lovely and her band is snappy. People were hippie dancing during the show–moves left over from Phish shows, but it was fine. I can’t wait until she’s headlining shows. This podcast is rather charming, and there’s a very good low-budget video at about the 3 minutes left mark: