Tegan and Sara AT&T Performing Arts Center Thursday, October 11
Perched in the tangle of highways near downtown Dallas sits a grassy hill inside the AT&T Performing Arts Center. It slopes no more severely than a handicapped ramp; it is surrounded by vine-covered concrete, and open to the overlooking financial buildings that stand a stone's throw away. It was on this grassy slope that folks dressed in flannel comfortably rubbed tattooed shoulders with those draped in handmade Italian wool. The diversity of the crowd is a testament to the reason they gathered: Tegan and Sara.
See also: - 10 awesome photos from Tegan and Sara
The sister twins from Calgary put on a tempo rollercoaster of a show Thursday night. The variety of styles and randomness in song progression was best summed up by Sara in an aside to the crowd: "We have funny transitions tonight...one could liken this concert tonight to an acid trip with how up and down we are...not that I've done that." The band's genre-hopping was not a point of weakness.
They were able to balance the vast subtlety of instruments with a chemist's ear. Nothing was forced; nothing was used without reason, and no sound was wasted. Their setup included a rotation of instruments -- acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, keyboard, and synth pad -- which were sometimes utilized all at once by the five-piece band, and sometimes only used by Tegan and Sara in melodic duets. The band was at its best when the sisters sang in harmony. The strange part of having twins singing is that their biologically similar voices made the vocals sounds as if one voice was simultaneously singing both the high low sections of the lyrics. This rare delivery worked well and produced a full vocal palette.
They not only hopped genres like cracked-up jack rabbits, but also albums. Most of the night was played through their older albums, So Jealous, Sainthood and The Con. Classic Tegan and Sara songs like "Arrow," "Hell," "Nineteen" and "Back in Your Head" kept the audience moving at a good pace, just a bit pushy, but never getting too shove-y.
The band used their performance in Dallas as a testing ground for a lot of their new material from upcoming album, Heartthrob. The material they chose to display was synth heavy, backed by guitar and romantic. The songs "Closer," "I'm Not Your Hero" and "Fool For Love" gave the Tegan and Sara faithful reason to be excited about the January release.
The band kept immaculate time, incorporated work from old albums, previewed solid material from their new album, and treated the audience of 1,300 with reverence and respect. This was the last show before they hit the stage at ACL this weekend, and if it is any indication of how they will perform in Austin, you will want to circle their set time.