Date: October 7, 2007 Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
Publication: Canoe, Sun Media
Headline: Tegan and Sara confound but still satisfy Music Hall crowd
Tegan and Sara Quin certainly know how to start a show their own way, even if it's not exactly the most fan-friendly format.
The twins, who performed earlier this summer at Historic Fort York as part of the Rogers Picnic, played the first of two shows last night at the Danforth Music Hall before a near-capacity crowd. However, the opening notes of Call It Off, the final cut off the band's latest album, The Con, signalled the first of six consecutive songs off the album performed in the reverse order of the album's track listing.
The fans, predominantly young and female, watched attentively to start but were left somewhat sitting on their hands despite the fact nearly all stood. The acoustic-meets-synth pop flavouring of Dark Come soon thankfully gave way to the finer Like O, Like h.
"Thank you so much for having us," the duo said before politely declining to sing Happy Birthday to an audience member before sticking to the initial blueprint of the mid-tempo Floorplan and the large, slightly bombastic flare emanating out of Nineteen.
Tegan and Sara were quite aware of the odd start, thanking the audience for listening to the songs played by "that Tegan and Sara" before announcing that "another Tegan and Sara" were about to dust off some favourites such as the punchy, rapid Speak Slow and Walking With a Ghost, the latter performed with the venue's house lights up.
The duo's biggest asset comes from simply getting better with age. Having recently turned 27, Tegan and Sara have moved from the early coffeehouse folk on albums such as This Business of Art and Under Feet Like Ours to sweet, melodic pop rock found on 2004's So Jealous and The Con. Two examples of this was Where Does the Good Go and the strong Monday Monday Monday.
Fortunately, fans attending the show are also quite amused by the give-and-take between-song banter that primarily Sara delivered while Tegan quizzically looked on. One such lengthy ramble detailed the humble beginnings of the tandem, performing in coffeeshops before finally getting back to the music. "Tegan is your favourite and I'm not but that's okay," Sara said after another humorous barb was tossed at her by her sibling.
However, the twins, along with a tight three-piece supporting cast, hit the homestretch with a decent blend of old and new, pop song and campfire-ish ballad. Highlights included Relief Next to Me ,with its slight Beatles aura, and even the rather robotic delivery of Are You Ten Years Ago.
One of the oddest moments of the roughly 100-minute show was how the band asked the fans to close the main set. Although the long-standing tradition of stomping feet and screaming for the band to return (which they nearly always do), Tegan and Sara asked that fans be completely silent as they walked off stage. "This works sometimes but sometimes it's a weird disaster," they said prior to The Con. Fans kept hushed though, resulting in a rather bizarre but ear-friendly lull before the encore which included You Wouldn't Like Me and I Know I Know I Know.
Tegan and Sara will close out their Canadian tour later this month in Halifax before heading down to Mountain View, California to perform at Neil Young's annual Bridge School Benefit Concert alongside Metallica, Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder and Jerry Lee Lewis, among others.
Sun rating: 3.5 out of 5