WANT TO GO?
"Mountain Stage," with Thao and The Get Down Stay Down, The Bottle Rockets, Ben Sollee, The Slide Brothers and The Howlin' Brothers
WHERE: Culture Center Theater
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday
TICKETS: Advance $15, at the door $25INFO: 800-594-TIXX or www.mountainstage.org
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One of the great things about "Mountain Stage" is, musically, the show goes everywhere. From week to week, and sometimes from artist to artist on the same show, "Mountain Stage" can go from Americana to avant-garde to Afro-pop to fuzz-rock.
Sunday's show at the Culture Center brings Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, a folk rock band fronted by Thao Nguyen, a singer/songwriter from Falls Church, Va., whose parents were Vietnamese immigrants.
Her music is a delirious mix of string band, hip-hop and alternative rock with very folksy-sounding lyrics -- like what Regina Spektor might be doing if she'd grown up in a laundromat in Virginia listening to bluegrass.
"I grew up in Virginia," Nguyen said. "I went to school in Williamsburg, where I got a lot of my musical influences."
Nguyen pointed out that not all of those influences were necessarily good ones.
"I did the typical teenage thing and listened to really terrible music -- bad alternative rock."
She listened to a lot radio: Top 40 pop hits, oldies, Motown and country music, as well as classic rock. At some point, her brother gave her a Def Leppard record.
All of that means something, but maybe not as much as what she sought out.
"The music I listened to was very different than the music I went to see live," she said. "I'd catch these free shows at the Kennedy Center, and I'd go to these local, tiny bars where you'd see these blues and country players."