Indie rock sister act Tegan and Sara were away for a while, but now, they are coming back stronger than ever. Tuesday, they officially released new single “Closer”, from the band’s upcoming seventh LP Heartthrob, out in January 2013. The track is an 80s-tinged dance pop jam, and without a doubt one of the brightest tunes they’ve written in some time. Now, the band is putting their new developments on tour with a colorful stage light set up and a fantastic backing band including Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie. As we saw on Monday, Tegan and Sara are only getting better as time passes. Their old tunes fit in wonderfully next to the new dancey ones, and altogether, their excellent 90 minute set was everything that fans of all ages could have hoped for.
Opening up for the twins was Austin synth rock band Speak. Even though the band had supposedly never met Tegan and Sara before this tour (which only started this last weekend in Vancouver), they seemed a good fit for warming up the crowd. Their sugary pop tunes were backed with fantastic musicianship, and their energy definitely got the crowd into the mood for the evening. Tegan and Sara later complimented them on stage. “You should go talk to them afterwards” Tegan said, “They’re adorable. They’ll probably let you touch their hair”.
It’s always a little tough playing a new album for a crowd that hasn’t had the opportunity to soak it in yet, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do it quite as well as Tegan and Sara did in quite some time. The balance between Heartthrob material and the classics was flawless, and the crowd was sold on the new album before their set was even half over. Live, “Closer” made things physical. The poppy synth drums and bleeps translated perfectly to a guitar driven, full live band dance fest. Even having only heard it for a couple days, most of the crowd was already singing along. Other new songs made quite an impression, too. “Bodywork” was a ridiculously fun dancer that had the sisters remembering back to the days of high school raves. “We just wore these massive chains” Tegan laughed, “we were like Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol“. On quite the opposite side, Tegan fronted new tune “I Was a Fool”, which mixed the pop textures of the new tunes with classic Tegan and Sara repertoire and material.
But in between the new tracks, the Quins pulled out pretty much all the stops with old favorites. “Walking With a Ghost”, “So Jealous”, “Nineteen”, “Back In Your Head”, “Northshore”, “The Ocean”, and “Alligator” were all there. They even went all the way back to “Living Room”! As Tegan broke into The Con classic “Call It Off, literally the entire room sang and swayed along. For the encore, the girls played “Dark Come Soon” all “folked up”, as Sara put it. Tegan manned the acoustic, while Sara added embellishments on her favorite electric guitar. Otherwise, this rendition was a stripped down, slowed down, gorgeous and haunting version that kept the room in quiet reverence. Finally, going with the dance theme of their new record, to close, they ended with an interesting version of “Feel It In My Bones”, the Quins’ 2009 with Dutch DJ Tiesto. Starting out, it was straight off of Tiesto’s record Kaleidoscope, but as the track moved along, the band took the reigns, and by the end, it could have fit perfectly on Heartthrob next to “Closer” and “Bodywork”. Altogether, Tegan and Sara did not disappoint. Part rave, part punk, part folksy, their wonderful blend of styles and their timeless songwriting chops never fail to surprise. And seven albums later, they are as good live as they have ever been.
Heartthrob is out in January! Until then, check out our cool photos:
Tegan and Sara: