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Noise Pop Review – Thao Nguyen

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by Monica the Intern


photo by Cory Greenwell



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.

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Monica Miller - The Intern

Monica Miller - The Intern

Ms. Miller was born in San Diego, CA to one lesbian mother and one
righteous, cheap father. Currently, she is enrolled at San Francisco
State University for a B.A. in Journalism and the approximate
completion date is around 2015. She has worked for many papers in the
Bay Area, including the Oakland Tribune and the San Mateo Country
Times and is currently the city editor at one of the most
underappreciated publications in SF, the Golden Gate [X]press. Though
she may find bargains aplenty, it only stems from the necessity of
never landing an actual job and working for hacks [like Stuart.] With
intelligence, style, poise, bite, and honesty, she will rip your heart
out; but not before writing some awesome, poignant shit. This year,
she is looking forward to bigger and better things such as: trying to
get paid for a gig, actually finding a date that isn't a loser or
fucking crazy, not calling her parents when hungover and bringing you
the best of the 7x7 everyday of the week. [By the way, I wasn't
kidding about the date thing; if you love food, booze and shoegaze,
get at me.]

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