- Published on Monday, 01 March 2010 06:00
words by Patricia Lynn Drew
For some reason, years of watching live YouTube clips of Tegan and Sara led me to believe that I had seen them live at one point. Upon realizing this never actually occurred, I felt it absolutely necessary to attend their show at Bass Concert Hall last Friday. I wasn’t exactly sure where the venue was located, but I knew I was headed in the right direction when I found myself walking among a group of rather ecstatic lesbians. For those of you who didn’t get that joke, the identical twin sisters are both lesbians, and though they aren’t a hugely political band, they have a large gay following. I was pretty stoked myself. I had been a mild fan up until the release of their fifth album, The Con (2007). And after that, I was hooked. I eagerly awaited the release of Sainthood (2009), and boy was that a breath of fresh air.
Speaking of fresh air, opening acts Steel Train and Holly Miranda were just that. I really haven’t listened to Steel Train since I was in high school, so their set was full of new music for me; A revitalized pop version of their folk-rock ways.
Miranda, however, is my new crush in the heterosexual kind of way. She spoke like a rabbit, but sang like a lion. That girl had some major pipes. I heard influences from several genres in her music. At times I thought it soulful, like a female Sam Cooke. I recently watched the French film La Vie en Rose so strangely enough even Edith Piaf comes to mind. Just pair seemingly effortless vocals with stripped back sometimes-dreamy guitar tones and voilà! Holly Miranda.
When the stage was finally ready, the lights came down and Lesley Gore’s “Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows” flooded the room. As happy-go-lucky as that tune can be, it created a really eerie mood. Tegan and Sara finally took the stage and opened with “The Ocean” off of Sainthood, which happens to be one of my favorites. Following that was “On Directing,” “The Cure,” “Hell,” “Sentimental Tune,” and “Alligator.” They finally broke the new song streak with a story of the weather in Vancouver. Sara talked about the insistent rainfall and how pleasant it is when spring finally arrives. She explained how song writing could reflect the weather, and how this particular song was written during the spring, but for whatever reason it still ended up being a depressing one. The audience laughed as she was referring to “Where Does the Good Go?” from So Jealous (2004). That was where the set resumed. “Speak Slow,” “Walking With a Ghost,” and “So Jealous” seamlessly followed.
Naturally, I was most excited about hearing all the newest songs, all the songs that had been on repeat in my car on the way to the show, but the most memorable song performed was “Monday Monday Monday” off of If It Was You (2002). There was something in the way they purposefully sang, “damn your mood swings, damn your mood swings.” It took me a while, but that was the point in the set at which I stopped biting my nails and was truly rapt in the music.
I won’t give away their entire set list, but I will say there was quite an encore, five songs. It even included “Feel It In My Bones,” a song off of DJ Tiësto's fourth studio album Kaleidoscope, which features a variety of guest vocalists including my personal hero Emily Haines.
Several semi-awkward anecdotes later, the sisters had delivered a brilliant performance that wowed everyone. And no YouTube clip could ever have done it justice.