On the eve of the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, a pair of Canadians delivered their own gold-medal performance at a packed Warehouse Live.
Tegan and Sara Quin are the the electro-pop duo Tegan and Sara. They are twin sisters. They are both lesbians. They are from Canada. But, most importantly, on Saturday night, they were rock stars.
Following openers Steel Train and Holly Miranda and a short interlude that featured classic songs from Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and the Supremes, the group emerged to a Justin Bieber-like reception (translation: it was that loud) of screams and excitement.
And they returned the favor. Alternating between guitar and keyboards and backed by an excellent trio of musicians, the sisters delivered a tight set that boomed the venue as loud as Dinosaur Jr. did this past October. There wasn't really a clunker in the bunch.
Tegan, dressed in a black-and-white striped top as she is on the Sainthood album cover, and Sara, in an oversized dress shirt, went to work, opening with The Ocean and On Directing (Go steady with me, I know it turns you off when I -- I get talking like a teen). The pair then ran through a number of songs from Sainthood, including The Cure, Hell and Alligator. They followed that with Walking With a Ghost, which may be the group's most recognizable song to the uninitiated thanks to a cover by the White Stripes. From there they continued with pre-Sainthood tracks from The Con and Where Does the Good Go, also from So Jealous.
After a short break, the sisters returned without their backing band for the encore, starting with a stripped-down version of Back In Your Head. It's a song about a relationship that's entered that dangerous zone of routine where one person begins to feel neglected to the point of desperation: "Relax into the need / We get so comfortable / Remember when I was / So strange and likeable / I just want back in your head / I just want back in your head / I'm not unfaithful / But I'll stray."
Tegan and Sara have been able to do something rare in the music world these days. From independent roots, they've grown to the level of major labels, but through six albums they've never left their early fans feeling abandoned. The fidelity to the duo's sound and writing style has created a bond between the band and the people who love the music that was palpable during the show. While the banter between Tegan and Sara was conspicuously spartan, the sisters both repeatedly expressed love and thanks to the crowd. It was refreshing to see such genuine appreciation shared between artists and fans loyal to one another.