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ACL Fest Review: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Nancy Flores

Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 4, 2013

Show highlights:

I know multi-instrumentalist Thao Nguyen hails from San Francisco, but are we sure she’s not an Austinite at heart? Her alternative folk blending pop and rock can’t get any more Austinish - hip, smart, innovative. Thao elevates the coolness factor of the banjo, and fest-goers battled the sun to see her strum into action.

“Are you guys OK?” she asked from the stage. “I see what you are up against—you’re glistening in a healthy way.”

In one set she can take you from happy-go-lucky listener to rockin’ out trance-style. Fans ate up “Holy Roller” and her popular cover of Ludacris’ “What’s your fantasy?” She’s a boundary pusher and her fans appreciate the authentic sound.

She led an acoustic sing along that was great for folks in the front, but unfortunately hard to capture for anyone else. Thao professed her love for Austin, even dedicating a song to Wendy Davis, who recently announced she was running for governor, at one point. “I would move here just to get residency and vote,” she said.

Maybe Austin can steal the talented chanteuse away from the Bay Area.

Catch her Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Bud Light Stage.