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Thao Nguyen [rank: 258]

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Aug 6 2006 Jan 5 2009

Thao Nguyen is a San Francisco indie folk artist who performs and records as Thao with The Get Down Stay Down. Her voice and music share similarities with Jolie Holland.




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Bandega Interview with Thao Nguyen (April 2009)

Watch out for Thao Nguyen's grandmother. She's feisty.

Q: How have your shows changed over the years? Has your perspective on performing live changed?
A: In the beginning I forgot fewer lyrics. I also drank less. Because I was a teenager. It has always been a priority of mine to put on a show that was sincere, energetic, and entertaining. Playing with the Get Down Stay Down makes the entire mission much easier. We aim to have a good time, and we can't unless the crowd is too. I like to talk in between songs. Sometimes I bomb. Sometimes I try to rebound by making dirty jokes. Those bomb too. I believe one of the most notable differences is I now dress up for shows. This in direct response to years of nagging by my mother and grandmother, which culminated in a two week bombardment two years ago, after which I buckled [Bandega note: unintentional pun?].

Example: My mom: "Why don't you want to look nice? Wear a dress. Wear make up-too. Because if you wear a dress without make-up you look like a crazy lady."

My grandmother: "Why do you want to look like you are poor onstage? People don't want to watch poor people make music."

* side bar: I don't agree with / really don't want to be linked to either statement.

Q: Describe the most memorable live show you've played.
A: One of the most memorable: We were playing a show in Lubbock, TX in the dead of Summer and the heat was accidentally turned on and we three were sweating floods and the crowd was incredibly enthusiastic and friendly drunk and somehow they knew all the words and brought us whiskey and cigarettes on stage and we had no idea one could still smoke indoors in the U.S. but we did. Also, one time in the Summer in Denver we played a venue run by young anarchists and there was just-removed dog shit on the stage and the floor and no air conditioning in the attic space and raw chicken on the doorstep. And we were all dizzy from the high altitude. And the shit.

Q: What venue do you consider to be your "home", where you feel most comfortable, with the crowd and the place itself?
A: I feel very comfortable at the Independent, along with the Swedish American Hall, Great American, and Bottom of the Hill. I really appreciate the refrigerator in the green room of Bottom of the Hill. We as a band also feel like home in Portland, OR and Washington, D.C. D.C. is where my mom and brother are. They bring me things i have forgotten, like extra clothes and my old Salt n' Pepa cassettes.

Q: Describe the most enjoyable show you've ever experienced as a fan.
A: Lucinda Williams. 9:30 Club. Hero.

Q: How was your recent Noise Pop Festival experience? As a performer (headlining at Swedish American) and as a fan?
A: I had one of the most enjoyable times I've ever had as a performer at Noise Pop. Really warm crowd and they politely laughed at my clean and dirty jokes. The room and the people had a very memorable energy and I was honored to play in my home city. Plus Swedish American has very intricate wood work. As a fan, I couldn't get to any shows because i was very sick all week but if it helps, I was disappointed to miss a lot of things.

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