Folking Twins: Pat O'Brien Reviews Tegan & Sarah


Tegan & Sara at Pantages Friday, Dec. 1, 2007 Review by Pat O'Brien Photos by James Tran

Tegan & Sara Quin are full of surprises. That in itself is a bit of surprise since their melding of folk and the really, really good section of The Cars catalog seems to be pretty straightforward, but they have a few tricks up their sleeves. They are both extremely witty and proved to be good storytellers without the benefit of their instruments, as well (Sara told a particularly funny story about her roommate building a bookshelf out of a discarded couch.)

Twins Tegan & Sara brought rock, folk and mullets to Pantages. More photos here.

Since their last offering, So Jealous, they have wisely ditched the “are they or aren’t they?” antics (they are), and in an even more canny move, employed wunderkind producer Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie for their latest, The Con, which is most likely going to end up on many critics’ year-end top ten lists, and rightfully so. The Con is a far better album and it showed as the girls (with backing band) sort of halved their set, playing new songs first and mostly older stuff for the latter part of the set.

Mixing the set up would have proved a bit more interesting, as this decision made it clear that their insanely catchy hit from So Jealous, “Walking With A Ghost”, would arrive near the end of the set, but, more importantly, also made the superiority of The Con glaringly obvious. However, the songs took on an air of immediacy and seemed generally less folky -- even the really folky ones -- and that was big plus.

Making a seated concert seem like a club date was a masterstroke, as well. People tend to tone it down in a bit at seated venues but they had more than half of the main floor of the theater jockeying for position right up front (they also had people follow them to Minneapolis from the previous night’s gig in Chicago) and for a moment it seemed like we were all around the corner in First Avenue’s mainroom. So what does it all mean? Well, it’s not totally clear yet, but for the moment Tegan & Sara are the craftiest indie-folkers of the pack.