Tegan and Sara performed Sunday at Madison’s Orpheum Theater, showcasing their signature harmonies and poppy alternative beats. The Canadian sisters put on an energizing show that kept the audience screaming.
The Orpheum was the near-perfect setting for a Sunday night concert, with standing room for those wanting to get up close and seats in the back for those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere. Although the seats in the back didn’t have the best view of the stage, the talent of the musicians made up for any seating concerns. Tegan and Sara’s opening act, Speak, an all-male indie rock group from Austin, had a Vampire Weekend mixed with Arcade Fire kind of sound. They grabbed the attention of the audience with their occasional jam-sessions and cover of Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Other than that, they were appropriate background music to set the stage for the main event.
Naturally, the crowd went wild when Tegan and Sara came on and opened with an old favorite, “Back in Your Head” from their 2007 album The Con. The identical twins were decked out in form-fitting pants, punk-rock leather jackets and pixie cut hairstyles to match. They continued to play a few songs from their older albums until they introduced tracks from their most recent album, Heartthrob. Most of the songs from Heartthrob are more techno-pop than their fans are used to, but it’s a nice change of pace from their usual style.
The crowd ate up the girls’ perfect balance of wit and sarcasm when they talked to the audience after every three or four songs. Tegan mostly talked to the audience and at one point touched on her experience with therapy, wondering aloud if her slightly depressing songs made her therapists feel like all their work was a “waste of time.” For example, the performance of “Nineteen” expresses the heartache that comes from losing a first love. Even after such emotional songs, her quirky humor not only connected her to the audience but also connected them to her real-life experiences expressed through their songs.
Tegan and Sara entranced the crowd both through song and personal anecdotes. This became especially apparent when one member of the crowd passionately shouted, “I love you!” while one of the girls was talking. The entire audience shouted in agreement and the girls sent their love right back. At one point they gave Madison some well-deserved praise for being an “extremely friendly and welcoming city,” relating it to the feeling of their hometown of Calgary. Although one twin dominated dialogue with the audience, when either of the girls connected with the crowd, they turned a concert setting into what felt like a conversation between friends.
Their set was diverse with old and new songs, and the concert was also well spaced with stories from the singers about the band’s adventures on tour. Throughout the whole concert, they maintained their dynamic harmonies and personal lyrics about love, growing up and heartache. The crowd exuded love for the girls; everyone was excited to see them play and wanted them to do well.
Although there could have been more power solos from the band, Tegan and Sara stayed true to what they are about and put on a great show for their fans.