Tegan & Sara not there yet
by Kim Hughes
If at all possible, try to stand near Hawksley Workman at Tegan and Sara shows. At Lee's Wednesday, the wiggy local musician --clutching a purse and wearing a tiger-striped blood-red faux fur that looked like the bathmat from the Psycho set-- had that day completed production work on the 19-year-old Calgary twins' new album.
So deep is Workman into the Quin sisters groove that he unknowingly spouted a running commentary on their performance while singing along. Both added tremendously to the seated duo's short, sweet but unspectacular performance.
From the get-go, the bubbly pair offered condolences for what was to come, confessing that Tegan was sick and not in the best of voice. That wasn't hugely problematic, since Sara --who for this gig playfully renamed the band Sara and Tegan-- handled things well enough, with Tegan offering pleasing harmonies while both strummed acoustic guitars.
The traded sibling slags were a delight, too. But they haven't yet developed an identity strong enough to slice through the clatter of a bustling bar. Close your eyes and you could be listening to two young Ani DiFrancos, albeit with better banter, but no less rooted in their inert girlie-folk domain.
The addition of a band at some point might make things more interesting, and in fairness, the final song they played (Superstar) was forceful, and reportedly is even more so on their upcoming disc, which their manager says captures them as women, not girls.
Once Tegan and Sara start racking up crucial life experiences, they're bound to make an impact. For now, though, they're still a work-in-progress --and an impressive one at that.
YOU BE THE CRITIC
Attendees share their thoughts on Tegan & Sara at Lee's Palace
"A little unbalanced because of Tegan can't play, but completely enjoyable still." -Sara Quin, musician
"I thought the show was cool" -Tegan Quin, musician and the "cooler half of Sara and Tegan. Tomorrow, when I have my voice back it'll be Tegan and Sara again."
Tegan and Sara, opening for the Whitlams, at Lee's Palace, March 8. Tickets $10. Attendance 60. Rating NNN