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[ATTENDED: September 29, 2022] Thao

Initially the band Low was supposed to open for Death Cab for Cutie on this leg of the tour.  They had cancelled for health reasons (drummer, singer Mimi Parker is battling cancer).  I haven’t liked a lot of Low stuff (they’re a bit too slow for me), although their newer stuff is a bit noisier and more fun.  And obviously I hope Mimi is okay.

But I was pleased to see that Low was being replaced by Thao.

I have known about Thao Nguyen for years.  She was primarily known as the leader of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down.  She dissolved the band earlier this year (no idea why) but has been playing shows with new band members.

She just goes by Thao now and she knows how to control an audience!

We missed the very beginning of her set (we were a little late getting there and then we forgot that the GA area has to go through the far door, so we had to go in and back out before we could really enjoy her set).

Thao was up front in a cool white suit and she sang with the intensity I knew she had.   She also played a wicked guitar, which I did not know she did.  During one of the songs (I don’t know titles), she played a spectacular, noisy guitar solo while the rest of the band jammed around her.

Her band includes Micayla Grace who played an amazing bass guitar (she was all over the fretboard creating wondrous sounds).  Lilah Larson played guitar and keys and seemed to be making sounds out of nowhere.  And her drummer Jon Sortland (who also plays with The Shins) was amazing.  He created rhythms and stacked them on top of rhythms and they all worked perfectly.  Considering he just got off of tour with the Shins a few days earlier, the fact that he could do such amazing stuff with Thao is really impressive.

And then there was Thao herself.  She dedicated a song for a woman’s right to choose.  She played a great song (called “Oh No” I believe) which not only had great audience participation (this side sings Oh No!; this side sings “But I loved you the most,” but which also seemed to have two parts–a really rocking section and then a slower part that built and built.

She also serenaded us with a song that she wrote for her wife, which I believe was “Marrow.”

She ended with a song I knew, “Temple,” a catchy song that looks back at the fall of Saigon.

She played a great set and I would think she’s be amazing as the headliner.

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