Show Review

Jason Turner

Tegan and Sara did a lot of things right.

Following Team USA’s narrow defeat at the hands of Canada in the gold medal match of men’s hockey, it seems anti-Canadian sentiment is everywhere these days. But on Tuesday night at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion it was nowhere to be found.

Just a shared parking lot away from where the Columbus Blue Jackets play hockey, the LC welcomed two of America’s favorite northern neighbors, and without question the most popular twins since Mary Kate and Ashley: Tegan and Sara.

The pair is currently touring in support of their new album, Sainthood, and the thousands of fans (the majority of whom were presumably American), showed nothing but love for the indie-pop queens as they charmed their way through an hour-plus set of new and old favorites.
Opening the show was the beautifully haunting Holly Miranda and the quirky New Jersey quintet Steel Train, who concluded their tight, short set with a disproportionately long drum finale.

Much has been made about the symbiotic nature of Tegan and Sara’s relationship, so I was anxious to see how it would translate to their live performance. On stage the pair seemed casual, affable, and the ease with which they shared frontwoman duties would have made their mother proud [are you paying attention Liam and Noel?].

That Tegan and Sara would put on such a seamless show wasn’t surprising. Not because of any mystical twin powers or having once shared a uterus, but rather because of the fact that they’ve played lots and lots of shows together. Still the good vibes emanating from their twintimacy seemed to settle over the crowd like a sorcerer’s spell.

For their part, the much-tattooed, heavily plaid-clad audience hung on every word, and reveled in the atmosphere which felt more coffeehouse than rock show. People danced, they sang, and shouted along with every poignant lyrical reference like they wrote it.
Although the singing was split equitably, the talking was almost exclusively Tegan, who bantered with the audience, joked about Sara performing the previous night’s show in a bathing suit, and pandered to the audience by calling attention to their attractiveness.
I also found out that when Tegan is sad she likes to wear sweatpants and listen to Bruce Springsteen. (I am unclear, however, what Sara likes to do when she’s sad.)

In an era when studio magic can make almost anyone sound great it was reassuring to hear Tegan and Sara nail their trademark harmonies with the accuracy of an Olympic archer. Other highlights of the evening included standout performances of “Hell” and “The Cure,” and older fan favorites like “Walking with a Ghost” and “So Jealous.”

Tegan and Sara did a lot of things right, including closing out the show in top form. Their minimalist, acoustic and xylophone rendition of “Back in Your Head” during the encore was outstanding and indicative of their good sense and a fan-first approach to performing.