One afternoon, back in February of 2008, Ashley just happened to listen to Sound Check on NPR–something she rarely listens to–and heard Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down (featured alongside Cat Power). She thought Thao sounded great. So, that night, we went to hear her play at the old Knitting Factory in Tribeca. And we’ve been fans ever since. She came out with a second album recently, on the Kill Rock Stars label, and is on tour; we pre-ordered her album and got tickets to see her at the Bowery Ballroom this past Wednesday night. The venue is pretty great, we got there early enough that that we got a seat up in the balcony for the opening acts: David Schultz and the Portland Cello Project. We were both fading a bit during the David Schultz set. They came on about an hour later than we expected and we had both had long days. But the cello project sounded great, and pulled us in. They opened with classical music before moving into a range of ecclectic covers–from Pantera to OutKast to Britney Spears. When Thao finally came on, we moved down to the main floor and were completely energized and engaged. She has a fantastic energy and the crowd was really into her. There was also frequent collabortation between the opening acts and Thao–it all made for such an exciting show. In fact, it felt like everyone on stage was having a great time, too. I’m not sure anyone wanted the set to end.
Though seeing her play in npr’s office is very different from seeing her live in concert, and different even from listening to her album (where the Get Down Stay Down play with her), here is the link to her All Things Considered “Tiny Desk” npr performance.
(Photo by Cascade Wilhelm, Know Better Learn Faster album cover)