Date: August 29, 2005
Author: Andrew Murfett
Publication: The Age
Headline: Tegan and Sara/Little Birdy, Hi-Fi Bar, city

WHETHER it was tour fatigue or something more sinister, it was a strangely lacklustre Tegan and Sara Quin who greeted a modest crowd at the Hi-Fi Bar on Friday night.

The lethargic show was in stark contrast to the Canadian pop duo's energetic and amusing local concerts in 2003.

An illness to singer Katy Steele reduced what was supposed to be the Melbourne leg of a victory lap for Perth pop quartet Little Birdy to an informal evening of power-pop.

The Quin twins were backed by a three-piece male band of bassist, guitarist and drummer. With both girls frequently switching between acoustic and electric guitars, there was a surprisingly muscular element to their sound.

Most of their radio hits were dispensed, including I Hear Noises; Monday, Monday, Monday and Walking With A Ghost.

Yet the most surprising aspect of the night was the absence of the amusing by-play that usually takes place between the feisty twins. To that end, much of the spunk that the band is renowned for was lamentably absent.

Still, when the two did occasionally manage to get out of first gear, we were given a taste of their charming pop smarts, like their frenzied Speak Slow.

An inappropriately sober reading of Bruce Springsteen's 1980s classic Dancing In The Dark during the duo's brief encore epitomised the uneven nature of the show.

After the show, the band, as they admirably do after every performance, patiently signed fan memorabilia and posed for pictures. After the unusually grumpy performance, it was the least they could do for their fans.