July 19-21, 2002
Vancouver Folk Music Festival
Tegan and Sara
Saturday 11:15 am on Stage 5 Sunday 10 am on Stage 4; 11:15 am on Stage 4
They are simply not like the others. While many young artists seem to be either saccharine-dipped love bunnies or shoe-gazing undergrads majoring in victimology, Tegan and Sara come out spitting tacks and kicking - fun, funky and wonderfully alive, with a capital A.
It began with piano lessons when they were eight, but as they grew up, Sara recalls, "Back in the day, we were into punk and being obnoxious." Back in the day refers to high school, which they attended over the mountains in Calgary and where they formed a couple of punk bands that mostly played parties, no doubt held back only by the fact they were not legally of age to enter clubs yet.
In 1998, they entered a music contest called Garage Warz and walked out with the highest scores in the event's history. This sparked a feeding frenzy in the media and suddenly Tegan and Sara found themselves signed by Neil Young's label, sent off touring North America and Europe. This sort of career catapult might set some heads to spinning or worse, but T&S have taken it all in stride. Moving to New York or L.A. would have been predictable, but Tegan and Sara moved to Vancouver instead. "We needed a change. You come home after being away and the vibe's different, your friends have gotten used to you not being there."
It is, of course, immediately noticeable that they are twins, but even more striking than the visual interest this inevitably conjures, is their amazing musical telepathy. They trade vocal lines back and forth, syncopating with incredible style and confidence. Their music kicks out hard and fast and urgent, as if they have so much to tell you that just can't wait. It's speed rap reportage of a world that is more callous than kind, as they sing in More For Me. "Time to get a real job you gotta stop having fun / So I got a real job working nine to nine / I'm making five bucks an hour til the day I die." Or in My Number. "I'm going to win the endless war / Over who kills the last koala bear and who in death will love it more."
Their words and the way they sing them together is a generational evolution of what was once called punk and more recently "in your face," but it is grounded in a clear-eyed pragmatism that quite simply didn't exist when, as that hoary old expression goes, I was their age. Highly suitable for both listening and dancing and recommended to anyone looking for a little inspiration or curious about the way the times are a'changing.
For more information about Tegan and Sara, visit www.teganandsara.com .
© 2002 Vancouver Folk Music Festival