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Northside Festival Kicks Off at Music Hall of Williamsburg

June 25th, 2010

Thao and Mirah with the Most of All – Music Hall – June 25, 2010

(Photo: Jared Levy)

(Photo: Jared Levy)

Collaboration requires a delicate balance. In creating a unified whole, individuals must forgo the full expression of themselves. And, by doing so, the sum embodies a product that the parts are incapable of creating. This is the appeal of subjugating the personal to a group. However, the ingredients must retain their integrity. When musicians come together, it is their participation as a single entity that is judged as well as their contribution and authenticity. Take, for example, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, who created timeless music as a folk-rock supergroup. While each shined individually, the group’s identity was fortified in their cooperative performance.

In the hopes of tapping into this spirit, the talented indie songstresses Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn and Thao Nguyen have teamed up to play a number of tour dates. On Thursday night, the two, joined by a backing band as Thao and Mirah with the Most of All, played a packed set at Music Hall of Williamsburg for the opening of the Northside festival. The fortuitous meeting of Mirah and Thao began when the two played a collaborative set at the Noise Pop festival in San Francisco. Both artists show flair for charismatic folk pop, perhaps explaining why their temporary union is ballooning into a intermediate tour.

For last night’s show, both women showcased their respective talents. Thao, a perpetual ball of energy, pounded and thrashed while Mirah took a more subdued and introspective approach. They traded songs, most successfully on Thao originals like “Bag of Hammers” and “Know Better Learn Faster.” Though these numbers came late in the set, Thao’s humor and charisma kept the audience present and engrossed. Thus, whether the partnership persists beyond their slate tour dates, it was a pleasure to see two talents share both stage and song. —Jared Levy