Noise Pop Review – Thao Nguyen
by Monica the Intern
With her power-packed strum and her even bigger voice, Thao Nguyen emerged as one of the truly deserving headliners on Thursday night at the Swedish American Music Hall.
“I went shopping for you guys today. Before today, I only had one dress and it was the one that I wore to the photo shoot with the Guardian. I didn’t want you guys thinking I only had one dress,” she said in a low voice, laughter meeting her in the venue. Although her pink and black polka-dotted frock and cowboy boots displayed her carefree attitude, the real statement was made with her voice.
Known for her unique style of singing and her mix of bluesy, singer-songwriter standards, Nguyen’s earnest and declarative lyrics play nicely in time. Originally from Virginia, her roots were in strong spirit as the wood floor of the Swedish American Music Hall rang with stomps and dancing shoes, just like a modern day hootenanny.
Though the singer-songwriter category can be comprised of so much filler in these times, she is a breath of fresh air in a bland, often boring genre. On “Bag Of Hammers”, she belts and screams: “As sharp as I sting/As sharp as I sing/It just soothes you, doesn’t it?/Like a lick of ice cream.”
Although the show was complete with the dramatic entrance of her drummer, dirty jokes and definite drinking, the crowd swooned and swayed with her in every number, each one ending in infinite applause. More than anything, Nguyen establishes that it is rare to have such talent and promise as well as delivery.
Her latest album, “We Brave Bee Stings and All”, was released last year and became an instant hit with listeners and critics alike. At the end of the show, she received an undeniable standing ovation. Nguyen has said that the only place she wants to live at the moment is San Francisco. Luckily, the City can’t get enough of her.