Thao Nguyen with bandmates Willis Thompson and Adam Thompson
Thao Nguyen' s SXSW Blog
Thao Nguyen had a hectic SXSW schedule, juggling gigs with her band Thao and The Get Down Stay Down and participating in a panel on music and post-Katrina New Orleans, sponsored by the social advocacy group Air Traffic Control.
In addition, Thao releases a collaborative album with Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn of Mirah, simply titled Thao & Mirah, on April 26 via Kill Rock Stars. The duo will support the album, produced by tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus on tour this May. You can download a track off the album, "Eleven," here.
Intrigued by her many obligations and projects, The Alternate Side asked Thao if she'd blog about her Austin escapades ... and it happened to all fall around her birthday:
This year four of us descended upon Austin on four different flights. We always come from all over, which I love because that means it is reunion time and also I get to pretend we are on the cast of Ocean's 11.
We had six shows in two days and, in addition, I had a panel and a signing. We've been off the road working on various projects and so this running around full speed ahead was familiar, yet achingly new. You have to be in pretty good shape to play shows in succession at full energy and not get winded. I have not been training. I should jog uphill more.
Our friends Adam and DJ and Charlie joined to fill out the Get Down Stay Down to the brim. We had trombone, keys and fiddle and more guitar and what a pleasure that was to hear and play with.
Panel Highlight: It was put on by Air Traffic Control - an amazing organization that helps musicians be better social acitivists. It was an educational post-Katrina tribute to New Orleans, the greatest music city in the world.
Signing Highlight: Signed a boob! It was my friend's, but still.
The Shows And Other Highlights: Homeslice Pizza -- those folks braved noise violations and threats of arrest so we could play. Thank you. We had an amazing time and your pizza is beautiful.
We hung out with our Austin friends, Dan and Jenny, and their amazing two year old daughter who is going to take over my job very soon. I will not be disputed, there is nothing cuter than a toddler with giant headphones on at a show.
After a show at Jovita's the next day, I did an interview with a 9-year-old intrepid journalist and aspiring songwriter (lead singer of IZ, you heard it here first). she and her dad put it together for a school project-- they posted it.
She was fantastic, sweet and cute and I couldn't stop talking about myself. i shared some pointers on where to look when you are having press shots taken. She taught me a vocal warm up exercise.
On Saturday, starting at midnight and well into the next evening, I celebrated my 27th birthday with my friends, bandmates and all of our new and dear friends in the audience. Birthday shows are the best; the crowd has to clap and like it, no matter what. Adam and Willis led the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to me at the beginning of our Terrorbird Party show. Utterly heartwarming. Love those guys. What a band of fine gentlemen.
Thank you, Austin, for your hospitality and South by Southwest for your wingspan, great fans and free backpacks. We will start running in place now in hopes of seeing you next year.