Tegan and Sara at First Avenue, 6/16/14
Photos by Youa Vang
Tegan and Sara
With My Midnight Heart and the Courtneys
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Monday, June 16, 2014
At the intersection of electro-pop and folk music lives the twin sister duo known as Tegan and Sara. Although their new album, Heartthrob, leans more heavily on the electro-pop side of things, the two began their career together with mainly acoustic folksy songs. Heartthrob was considered a new direction for the Quin sisters when it came out, but in relation to their live show, it all seems to make sense.
The performance, ushered in by opening sets from My Midnight Heart and the Courtneys, both synth-influenced, solidified the knowledge that the sisters have been pop musicians all along. Since the new album has had a year to marinate with their rabid fanbase, the whole album was included in the evening's set, much to the audience's delight if the screams were anything to go by.
Tegan and Sara's devoted crowd certainly didn't need any encouragement, and their participation sometimes rivaled what was coming through the speakers as they opened with "Goodbye, Goodbye" and "I Couldn't Be Your Friend." The super catchy "I'm Not Your Hero" may be one of the lesser known cuts off the new album, but with its uptempo beat, it can get even the stillest fan moving.
Photos by Youa Vang
When asked if they minded if they could play some older songs, the sold-out crowd went insane. When the opening notes to "Back in Your Head" were played, you had to make sure you had your earplugs in.
As amazing as the sisters are at harmonizing and almost becoming one person, they each have their stage quirks and personalities. Sara was the more talkative of the two, regaling the crowd with tales of the first time they played in Minneapolis at the "400 Club," where she forgot the name of the club, but charmingly finished with, "You know what there wasn't 400 of? Smiles." Tegan was the one more apt to come out behind her instrument, sometimes dancing in her awkwardly delightful manner. It was more cute than sexy, and the crowd loved it.
Photos by Youa Vang
Even though the night pulled mainly from their newer pieces, Tegan and Sara knew their audience well and revisited songs from The Con, an emotional anchor in the band's career that housed a pivotal collection of songs that inspire an almost immediate personal connection. The standout "Nineteen" from said album was written to capture all of those emotions that you experience at that age, when you want everything in a relationship, yet don't have the maturity to understand it yet. "On Directing" was comparable in feeling, but it was not for those in love, nor for those who cannot live without their significant others, nor for those in lasting relationships. So who was it for? The rest of the crowd was bitter from love.
The rest of the set was reserved for the missing tracks from Heartthrob, including the intense "Now I'm All Messed Up" and "Shock to Your System." The former is profoundly dark and talks about a dying relationship, urging someone to leave, but during the refrain, while Sara tells them to leave, Tegan answers with, "Please stay," which is exactly what we all really want to say when someone is leaving.
As the crowd was recovering from the bass-heavy tracks that shook our bodies to the core, the sisters closed out with their infectious "Closer," after a dance instruction led by Tegan. With an impressive night underneath their belt, what could be left? How about two incredibly poignant pieces like "Call It Off" and "Living Room" followed by what Sara deemed "The last best song you'll hear." The duo turned Pete Townshend's "Let My Love Open the Door," a hopeful love song, into a dance remix that held all the promise of better tomorrows. For two people who mostly sing about unrequited love and misery, these twin sisters know how to throw a rad dance party that makes you forget about the heartache.
Critic's bias: I'm a little late to the game in terms of being a Tegan and Sara fan, but their last album has been on heavy rotation over the last year. One of my favorite interviews I've ever done is with Sara when they were in town last year.
The crowd: 90 percent female and 10 percent male.
Overheard in the crowd: "Now remember, you can't use the guys' bathroom," and from Sara Quin, "You guys made it seem like Friday night at the Gay 90's tonight."
Random notebook dump: There was an Astronautalis spotting backstage.
Photo by Youa Vang
I Couldn't Be Your Friend
I'm Not Your Hero
I Was a Fool
Back in Your Head
Walking With a Ghost
Monday Monday Monday
Now I'm All Messed Up
Drove Me Wild
Shock to Your System
How Come You Don't Want Me
Call It Off
Let My Love Open the Door (Pete Townshend cover)
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