Thao With The Get Down Stay Down
Random Hotel, Landstrasse, 2010
It feels like this was going to be the coldest night of an oh so freezing winter in Vienna. It’s the night of the annual fm4-fest (http://fm4.orf.at/), an always sold-out festival organised by the public radio station that comprises indoor as well as open air shows. “We are lucky not to play outside,” Thao says and adds smilingly, “we are more used to the climate in San Francisco.” Before their performance at the close-by festival venue Thao and her band members Willis and Adam, who make up The Get Down Stay Down, warm up with an ambitious session at their hotel rooms. While for the energetic performance of “Know Better Learn Faster” the trio lines up around the bed, they further step into the bathroom for “Body”. And thus prove that they don’t need much room or equipment for a vibrantly rocking show. Thao puts her backs into the frontwoman role, Willis goes ad lib for creative percussion elements and Adam is obviously cheered up at the end of this. Hardly surprising as the hairdryer, that is used for a musical interlude, started blowing around his ears.
Random Hotel, Landstrasse
It is a coming and going. People and places are exchangeable. It is anonym and random. This blurred scenery of any hotel room is an elemental state of being for musicians on tour. The romantic motive of the artist as a rambling person is no accident. Yet the raw and pure charm of an idealized restlessness of the artist is soon volatilized by professional obligations. When the spiritual homelessness – footloose and fancy-free – turns into a factual one – bound to engagements-, the routine of the rambling musician is not so glamorous. Not everyone can or wants to live the cliché of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll in ever changing constellations in nightly hotel rooms. Again, the illusion of ongoing intensity easily wears out in the normal course of life. The other side of the coin is the idling between the kilometres to travel, the interviews to give, the shows to play. Apart from the joy of making music and playing live, people have their own strategy of how to settle a little and savour the everyday bliss. Be it the recording of a new song on a calm afternoon in your lonesome hotel room – so did Matthew from Phosphorescent when he stopped by in Austria with his Nick Cave-cover of Right Now I am A-Roaming – or the companionship by your beloved partner in all that travelling – as Micah P. Hinson was treasured by his wife Ashley – or just having fun with your band members in the bathroom – as Thao did with The Get Down Stay Down.