Thao and The Get Down Stay Down sold out a Friday night show at Portland’s Wonder Ballroom. Having played a last minute set three weeks ago at Music Millennium, a record store on East Burnside, this night’s show marked their second Portland appearance in three weeks.
Friday’s concert featured some of their most well-known songs, like “We the Common” and “Holy Roller.” The set was played with an incredible amount of energy and was impressive in the way Thao herself held the show together, a gregarious bandleader who demands your attention. The band played hard and heavy at times and soft and melodic at others, showing off elements of rock, bluegrass, metal, and hip-hop all in one setting.
Earlier in the day there was a Bernie Sanders rally at The Moda Center, which 11,000 people and one bird attended. It seemed that many at the show attended the rally and were still buzzing from the event, even the band mentioned Bernie a few times during the performance and the keyboardist sported a Bernie 2016 sticker on her instrument, fitting for a city that is definitely feelin’ the Bern.
Contrasting with the security staff, who were very tense, the crowd was kind, calm, and fed off the energy that the band was pouring into the performance and maintained a solemn, respectful, church-like attitude. Most notably there was a major lack of cell phones being held in the air, a generally annoying phenomenon. Obviously, the lack of phones was a side effect of an enamored crowd, too busy enjoying the magnetism of the band to bother with Instagram.
For the encore they played a new song off their recently released LP A Man Alive and while covering Missy Elliott’s “Get Your Freak On,” a surprising and interesting choice, Thao stood on top of the PA’s and sang, driving the crowd wild. The night was a success for the band and showed that they have a large following in Bridge Town.
Cover photo: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down Facebook page