Sallie and Thao

I'm just back from seeing Thao and the Get Down Stay Down at the Turner Hall Ballroom.  I'm bugged that I didn't like the show more than I did. 

The opening act was Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside.  The band interacted with the audience and each other in a normal fashion.  For instance at one point the lead guitarist broke a string, and Sallie gleefully forced him to tell a joke while he changed it.  The band was fun and danceable and worth the price of admission by itself.

Thao's band interacted only in the most basic ways, giving nods to end solos, and such. There was no patter, no chatter, no... chemistry. Thao's interaction with the audience was worse than that.  We were treated to such treats as "It's really great to be here in Milwaukee." and (I kid you not) "It's a pleasure to play music for you".  What the hell.  As the set wore on, I noticed that each time she uttered one of these inanities, the audience would erupt, and then she'd turn to the rest of the band with what I interpreted as a "what a bunch of losers" smile. 

Thao's playing was anything but lackluster.  She put a lot of energy into her performance but, again, it somehow felt like a put-on.  Despite the disdain that I (perhaps wrongly) felt emanating from Thao,  I did enjoy a few of her songs - Holy Roller and When We Swam were standouts.  Unfortunately, she did feature that song about Valerie Bolden, a woman convicted of 2nd degree murder because she murdered her boyfriend.  I fail to see the injustice here.  The song irritates me, and so did the show.  Oh well, time to by that new Sallie Ford album!

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