A heatwave rolled into New York Wednesday evening , but the cool kids at the Music Hall of Williamsburg were sheltered with a/c as Thao and Mirah trotted on stage. I was a bit surprised to see T & M toting in a band of fine females, including drummer Lisa Schonberg of Tom Tom Magazine. I was envisioning the pair alone with a lone percussionist. For those hoping for a special appearance from collaborator Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, it would not be had as she was playing in London. The beat heavy “Squareneck” did not lose any of its swagger despite Merrill’s absence. Kudos to the backing band.
The gals happily rocked through their self-titled album, including a “Mirah rock block” that Thao concluded, “It’s what the people want.” I would concur, Thao. From “Little Cup” to “Spaced Out Orbit”, Mirah surprisingly rocked out from her usually contained and quiet delivery. I was expecting to be lulled to a sweet slumber, but should have known better as Mirah’s paired with the more rambunctious Thao Nguyen. Heck, Mirah even patty-caked with drummer Lisa through “Teeth”. Adda girl!
The two played off each other nicely even during in between song banter. Mirah mentioned that they named their tour van Oprah and funnily enough their GPS has always been named Gale. Thao chimed in, “You should tell them about last night.” Mirah said she’d save it for the next banter round, but instead she couldn’t wait and told the tale while playing the next tune. The ladies of van Oprah download an hour interview with Barbara Walters and needless to say the interview brought the seven touring gals to tears.
The encore seemed to come too soon, but a fitting end to the night. Mirah asked, “Do you remember 2000? Do you remember 1999? This song’s from that year.” With that she treated her fans to an oldie but goodie with a delightful rendition “Telephone Wires”. To cap off the night in true Thao and Mirah style, the gang banged through “Eleven” which was the perfect anthem to set me off into the steamy streets of Brooklyn.
Through it all, the gals were there to raise awareness as they posed in an open letter to fans:
We are encouraging our fans to raise their voices in support of positive social change. With so many vital social services under attack by conservative lawmakers, now is the time to dedicate ourselves to reversing this dangerous drift from humanity in government. We will focus on supporting local domestic violence shelters and childhood sexual abuse prevention programs in each city we visit on tour. Through discourse, education, action and strategy we believe it is possible to create communities in which all people are given the respect they deserve. Because we have decided to add one dollar to our show’s ticket price, the simple act of buying a ticket will enable us to raise much-needed funding for the organizations in your communities providing this urgently needed work. Please show your solidarity by joining us in support of the women and children in all of our lives.
Thao and Mirah
Bravo Ladies, music for a good cause!