Date: September 29th, 2004
Author: Shannon Whibbs
Headline: Live: Tegan And Sara Turn Up The Rock (Toronto, ON Mod Club September 27th, 2004)
The first time I saw Tegan And Sara Quin perform, they banged away on two acoustic guitars and sang their hearts out for approximately 25 people. Four years later, they're still banging away on guitars and singing their hearts out, only now they have two more albums, a full band and a sold-out crowd screaming for more.
The show opened with Vancouver's The No No Spots. This driving pop-electroclash fivesome conjures up a cross between Metric and Pat Benatar with even more bizarre hair. Despite an energetic set, the slightly more organic Tegan And Sara crowd applauded appreciatively, but didn't move much to the danceable beats.
Tegan And Sara stepped onto a darkened stage, accompanied by their band members, Chris Carlson (bass), Rob Chursinoff (drums) and Ted Gowans (keys and guitar). As they launched into their first song, "This Is Everything" from their '99 debut, gradually increasing flickers of strobe began revealing their faces.
Things were cooking until the third song, when Tegan suffered a guitar-strap mishap. This led to Sara filling the dead air with a guitar-strap disaster story that resulted in a running "strap-on" gag that the crowd kept tossing back at them until Tegan put her foot down and said, "OK, that joke is so old now!" A few speaker difficulties later and things were back on track.
The duo warmed up with a few tracks from their previous record, If It Was You, and then launched into a run of songs from their newest, So Jealous, starting with "Where Does The Good Go." This is a pretty kick-ass record and they reproduce it on stage pretty damn well. The addition of Gowans to the band ensures at least a good stab at the killer synth Matt Sharp recorded. The sisters switched off songs, with Tegan doing the majority of lead vocals on the first batch of tunes, while Sara handled the latter tracks. They ripped through the new single, "Walking With The Ghost," in addition to older favourites like "Monday Monday Monday" and "Time Running." Their voices are so unique, their harmonies are dead on and the tunes are full of hooks and snares that grab the audience.
The Quins are a sonic force to be reckoned with even when they're unplugged, so the extra musician-power and electric additions have turned them into a full-on, self-sustaining rock show.