On April 12, a Tuesday night, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down sold out The Sinclair. The audience was buzzing to hear music from Thao Nguyen’s newest album “A Man Alive”, a powerful work with plenty of screaming mandolins and calls to save the world. After featuring their song “Nobody Dies” on the WERS Seven O’clock News, we wanted to see if the band was as insane live as they were on record.
Opening the night was Little Scream, stage name for Laurel Sprengelmeyer, a collaborator with the National and Arcade Fire. Sprengelmeyer played a short tight set of songs from her upcoming album, “Cult Following”. She played a spray painted guitar, and wore a sequined jacket that had to be seen to be believed. In their set, Little Scream showed off their truly staggering harmonies, and willingness to play with style. The new album is clearly a new direction for them; more country blues, less rock, and an overall haunting sound.
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down were, and I don’t use this word lightly, epic. They’ve built up an incredible fan base over five albums, and her Boston following is fiercely loyal. No matter how cool you think this band is already, they’re cooler.Thao is soft spoken when not shouting into the microphone, blowing minds with her intense charges for activism. She’s a tiny individual, who sipped a tiny mug of tea throughout the set. Her new album “A Man Alive” is fun, intense, and sexy. When played live the band delivers on all fronts. Every word and every musical phrase is an accusation or challenge. The confidence and swagger in delivery is infectious; they rock hard and make you want to follow them wherever they go. And they go strange places. Thao jumped from guitar to banjo to mandolin, guitarist Charlie Glenn attacked his instrument with a violin bow, and Thao took to the drums for an incredible solo. The encore was an excellent Missy Elliott cover of Get Your Freak On. Not a lot of indie rock bands can pull of a passable Missy Elliott but they sure did, and the crowd ate it up. Thao thanked the audience after over an hour and a half of music, saying “You guys make it feel like a Saturday!”.