Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside @ Urban 03.09

Posted March 13, 2013 in

My hand is smothered in stamps from spending a majority of my weekend going to shows at Urban Lounge. Between Psychic Ills with Follakzoid and Blues Control, and SLUG's Localized, I thought I had my timing down pat by arriving just shy of 10:30 for Saturday's show. Woe is me as I heard Sallie's melodies from outside, as I was highly anticipating her performance with her band, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside. When I first saw this band perform in Portland, I was hooked, and I selfishly wanted them to become more popular, hoping that would mean tour dates that included Salt Lake on the route. This is the second time they've visited Salt Lake (that I know of, at least), and hopefully not the last! Sallie embodies the sounds of a wicked vintage diva, from throwing it back to surf rock influences, to using the upright bass (an element I especially dig), to belting sassy lyrics with crude themes. To wit, I came in during her performance of "Lip Boy" from their new album, with lyrics that repeat "Hey there boy, don't you give me lip, boy." Up next came "Rockability," a song that addresses something that I've just done: categorized her and placed her in a box. Her lyrics, with howls, belt out: "They're telling me I'm like the rockabilly queen/ won't you tell me who the hell is she/ I just want rockability," and "I can't wait to see the day/ when all the genres melt away." I could probably make a list of adjectives and sounds that Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside fit into, but for the sake of respect, you could sum it down to good time rock n’ roll. If you haven't given this band a listen yet, do yourself a favor and change that! Go!

Up next came Thao and the Get Down Stay Down. Although I've listened to Thao's albums a few times, I had yet to see her live before this night, and before I get into the nitty gritty details, I just have to say: Thao is a badass. I pretend to sympathize with bands that go on tour, sometimes. Having never been on tour myself, I don't quite know how taxing it is to perform night after night for a crowd that may or may not be receptive to you. Thao has been on tour pretty consistently since she started performing with The Get Down Stay Down, so I can only imagine the exhaustion that couples that. After their fourth song, she dropped a subtle hint at this, asking how we all stay up so late and commented about how she had to take a nap and some espresso before performing. Despite whatever fatigue she may have had, she rocked the fuck out of her show, which is pretty damn respectable.

Although the band title emphasizes Thao as the front, she was pretty gracious at sharing the stage with The Get Down Stay Down, which included Johanna Kunin on keys, Adam Thompson on bass, and Jason Slota was slick on the drums. All of these players were highlighted at various points throughout the night as Thao stepped aside for them to shine. There's little doubt, though, that Thao takes the stage, and it was awesome to see her switch her instrument from the guitar (acoustic and electric), to a lap guitar, mandolin and the banjo. With her knack at string instruments, she still managed to shout her tunes and dance around with a flair that was composed and far from sloppy, while still getting everyone to shake their booties and grind their partners. Thao also proved that far from being limited to singing a poppy melody, she can rap, too, and at the end of "We Don't Call" started busting Ludacris rhymes. Throughout the night, she sang with a force that emanated thickly throughout the crowd, and I was stoked that her lyrics were uplifting without being sappy. Concluding the night with "We the Common," after the title of their new album, they left everyone feeling pumped and energized, and not at all happy to conclude with that. The band came out to play one more song, "Body," from "Know Better Learn Faster." Thao is a megababe, and I'm going to be sure to see her again if she comes back to Salt Lake!